Aotearoa People's Network

Farewell Mark Lawrence

We're sad to say that Mark Lawrence, APNK's erstwhile Technical Architect, will be leaving the team at the end of this week.

Mark has been with APNK since the very beginning in 2007. As Technical Architect it was Mark that fashioned the infrastructure that has allowed the People's Network to grow (145 sites and counting) and remain agile and robust (even during some wobbly times). He is the sort of person who is not happy unless every 'i' has been dotted and every 't' crossed. And then double checked, and then in case of a malfunctioning dot or cross...a redundancy put in place. That our network ticks along as well as it does is in a large part down to Mark's hard work.

Describing Mark's approach to his work as one involving "military precision" is more than appropriate as, in addition to working in library tech (he worked for Christchurch City Libraries for a number of years before joining the People's Network) he has also spent time with the Royal Marines and NASA.

Yes, that NASA.

APNK map

  Mark and his beloved map

And many's the time that Mark could be seen contemplating the APNK map and its pins denoting library sites with a Napoleonic glint in his eye as if plotting his next campaign.

In 2010 Mark was seconded to the position of interim Manager of APNK and acquitted himself well in the role, even though he admitted that it involved a bit more time in meetings than he was really comfortable with. More recently he was seconded to work on the Kōtui shared library service, again creating a robust technical infrastructure.

Mark's dedication to the People's Network and the mission of free, reliable Internet in public libraries has been constant and when asked what his favourite thing about his job is, the answer "calling into APNK libraries and seeing the difference we are making for communities first-hand" comes as no surprise. And we happen to know that more than one Lawrence family vacation has included a stop at an APNK library or two just to say "hi" and see how things are going.

Regarding his place in the team, we will all miss the incomprehensible conversations he sometimes has with Anne, our Programme Administrator. Both originally from the UK, Mark hails from Sunderland and Anne from Newcastle and the rest of the team have often been confused by the words and phrases from the North of England that they sometimes share. We may need to request one last round of The Lambton Worm on Friday, just for old time's sake.

We wish Mark all the best with his next project which is finding a new house to replace his red-zoned earthquake-munted rental property.

If you would like to send a farewell message to Mark, please comment on the "Farewell Mark" discussion on our Community of Practice or email


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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