Pacific Island Books

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Brief Bio of Kathy

Kathy was born in New York City. She grew up in the megapolis, attended a school for bright young things and then went on to Ithaca College where she did a degree in math. During her time at Ithaca she fell in love and married .

After her marriage Kathy started a Masters degree in Math at Columbia University. Several moves around the country followed as well as the birth of daughter Rebecca (Becca) in 1983 and daughter Sarah in 1987. During this time Kathy got into computer programming and eventually into the travel industry working as a TPF programmer (whatever that means). After many years in the field, the attractiveness palled and Kat found herself drawn back into teaching. She is now an enthusiastic adjunct math professor at Front Range Community College and works online at several other institutions.

After her first marriage broke up, a work assignment in Swindon, England cemented her enthusiasm for travel which shows no sign of abating. Kathy has always had a love for books and when she visited Paddy in New Zealand she found he shared her interest. After a mutual friend took Kathy snorkeling (in the cold waters of New Zealand's Fiordland) she learned to dive. A belated 1998 honeymoon with Paddy in Fiji broadened her horizons still further and she added Fiji to her list of favorite places.

The inability of Paddy and his New Zealand publisher to find a US distributor was the genesis of Pacific Island Books. Another trip to Fiji in mid-1999 cemented the business when the Institute of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific gave us the US rights to their extensive Pacific Islands book list and which led directly to what you see here.

Kathy enjoys Japanese, Indian, Italian and Thai food as well as red wine and dark beers. Her relaxation includes classical music, jazz, movies and reading. Her favorite sport is scuba diving, preferably somewhere warm.

Paddy Bio

Paddy was born in England and moved with his family to Jersey in the Channel islands. Here he was first introduced to nature and fell deeply and irrevocably in love with the natural world. When he was seven his family made the decision to emigrate to New Zealand. The New Zealand sojourn was short and inside a year the Ryan's moved again, this time to Fiji. Paddy's four years in Fiji confirmed his love for islands and Fiji in particular. Fiji was to play a big part in his future.

When he was ten Paddy went to England for a year before moving back to New Zealand in late 1962. Five years at Rangitikei College in Marton followed. These were five very interesting years and Paddy utilized them to the full becoming a member of the cricket, softball, rugby, gymnastic, athletic and debating teams. This broad experience stood him in good stead when he applied to go as a school leaver volunteer on New Zealand's Peace Corps-inspired Volunteer Service Abroad.

At the tender age of 17 and three months Paddy went to Sarawak in Borneo where he taught for a year at the Marudi Government Secondary School. This year included some exciting adventures including a crossing of the mountain range dividing the catchments of the Baram and Rejang rivers plus a few other experiences he can't share on this web page. But perhaps the enduring legacy of that year was a single lens reflex camera and the knowledge to develop and print black and white photographs, taught to him by Mr Karapat, the science teacher.

On his return to New Zealand Paddy went to the University of Canterbury where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with first class honours and a doctorate, based on his thesis "The ecology of the short-finned eel, Anguilla australis schmidtii in Lake Ellesmere". It wasn't all work. Sport loomed just as large as study, sometimes to the exasperation of his professors. The highlight was playing rugby, on the wing, for Canterbury Juniors. Armed with a brand new degree the next question was a job. Fiji beckoned. After three attempts the newly minted Dr. Ryan got a job on the faculty in the Biology Department at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. That same momentous year he also got married to Felicity.

Ten and a half wonderful years followed, accented by the birth of daughter Sarah in 1986. The ill-advised military coups in 1987 and changed working conditions caused a re-evaluation of where the Ryans were going. Another move ensued, this time to Greymouth on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island where Paddy worked first as a freshwater biologist and then as an environmental planner. On the day Paddy arrived back in Christchurch, daughter Lucy was born.

1988 saw the publication of the first edition of Fiji's Natural Heritage, followed in 1994 by Wild at Heart and The Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef. Paddy got numerous freelance jobs during this time including working as "fixer" for the BBC and Television New Zealand and doing photographic jobs for New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and for a German publishing company.

In 1994 Paddy was made redundant, this together with the stresses brought about by the constant travel associated with his environmental consultancy business led to an amicable split with Felicity in 1995. In 1996 Paddy met Kathy (through the internet) and the relationship has blossomed since. They were married in January 1998 and Paddy relocated to Colorado. In August 1998 Fiordland Underwater ... New Zealand's Hidden Wilderness co-authored with Chris Paulin,was published. It was the inability to find a US distributor for this book which led to the setting up of Pacific Island Books.

Paddy has worked as visiting assistant professor in Biology at the Metropolitan State College of Denver and as an adjunct professor at the Colorado School of Mines. He is currently working as a full professor at Johnson & Wales University in Denver. Paddy does freelance nature photography and gives public lectures on a regular basis. He is working on several new books and pursuing his photographic career with enthusiasm.

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Last modified on Tuesday, May 28, 2008