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Last updated: 23 March 2010

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Gillian Torckler

photo of Gillian whalley Torckler

About Gillian

I was born in a small northern English town in 1964. But I have almost no memories of that time, except for my mother feeding me periwinkles (a type of sea snail!) whilst we walked my older sister to school. When I was five, my family moved to a much larger city, Toronto in Canada. Thatís where my childhood memories begin full of snow angels, snow caves, wagon rides, toasted marshmallows, Barbie-dolls, day-long games of Monopoly and Risk, and books.

I remember our school library in photographic detail. I remember the hundreds of books I read lying on the library floor. I recall reading, re-reading and loving the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis), the Mr Twiddle Series (Enid Blyton), Charlottes Web (EB White) and The Little House on the Prairie Series (Laura Ingalls Wilder). Of all, it is this last series that I remember most fondly. When my family moved again, this time to New Zealand, our baggage was very limited, but the boxed set of Little House books an eighth birthday present from my parents came with me. I have recently re-read those and still adore them!

I learned to swim in our neighbours pool when I was seven. In fact, I think that our whole street learnt to swim in that enormous pool! We spent many summer holidays screeching as we threw ourselves into those cool blue waters, as well as playing street hockey, tag or hide and seek.

We moved to far-away New Zealand, where I started high school in West Auckland (Kelston Girls High). I never excelled at sports, but participated eagerly in school plays and musicals and led our debating club for a few years. I discovered Oscar Wilde at high school and he is still one of my favourite authors.

University and work followed. I specialised in ultrasound imaging of the heart and† travelled and worked overseas. I learnt to scuba dive in the Red Sea whilst working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Scuba diving became a major part of my life Iíve always liked being underwater but had never before been able to stay under long enough to really appreciate the huge array of marine life. It was truly like swimming in a great big aquarium.

I returned to work in New Zealand and to university to complete a PhD in Medicine at the University of Auckland, where I still undertake medical research† today.

I met my husband, Darryl Torckler, who introduced me to scuba diving in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. We started collaborating on travel articles and books almost straight away. We now have two sons who are learning to snorkel and an old sailing yacht that we hope to take on a circumnavigation of New Zealand and around the Pacific Islands.

I enjoy writing a variety of different styles and for different ages, and I seem to always be writing something a book or scientific article, or both at once. I still spend as much time in the water as possible. When I have the time, I like to create interesting textiles by spinning, weaving, crocheting and knitting my own wool. I like to watch movies (though NOT science fiction) and I read books, lots of books.

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