Peter Dowling – Founder and Publisher

An independent publisher since 2008, Peter Dowling was formerly Publishing Manager of Reed Publishing (NZ), and a senior editor for book and magazine publishers in Japan and the UK. He has also been a widely published editor and writer specialised in Asia, Latin America and Oceania, helped by proficiency in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese and Māori. Brought up in Christchurch, Peter has MA (Hons) and MBA (Distinction) degrees. A regular at international book fairs and conferences, Peter was previously president and international councillor of the Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ), and kaihautū/executive director of Te Potiki National Trust (Māori Maps).

Alessandra Zecchini – Media Director

Born in Milan and educated in Italy and the UK, Alessandra’s background is in design and languages. She directs writing, social media and digital services for Oratia. Alessandra is the author of several cookbooks, active committee member and teacher for the Dante Alighieri Society of Auckland, and founder of the Festival Italiano Auckland and Slow Food Waitakere (now Slow Food Auckland). She speaks Italian, English, Japanese and Spanish, and studies te reo Māori. In 2018, President Sergio Mattarella made Alessandra a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy for services to Italian culture and relations with New Zealand.

Carolyn Lagahetau – Editorial Director

au_CarolynLagahetauOratia-based Carolyn (Niue, New Zealand) is a former Managing Editor of Reed Publishing (NZ), where she worked for over ten years after obtaining her B.A. in English. A highly experienced editor who has managed many hundreds of projects, Carolyn specialises in children’s books and illustrated works, and follows her passion for Pasifika culture and history as publisher of the Moana Oceania series. She is a trustee of the Storylines Children’s Literature Foundation Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki, and a member of PANZ’s He Tākupu Kanarau Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee.

Belinda Cooke – Sales & Marketing Manager

au_BelindaCookeAfter education and early career in South Africa, Belinda spent 16 years as Managing Director of New Holland Publishers (NZ), where she developed a highly successful list of New Zealand non-fiction books and represented significant overseas agencies. Belinda now runs her own consultancy based in Devonport, Auckland, through which she brings her trade knowledge to bear as Oratia’s part-time manager of sales and marketing. An active member of the book publishing community, she is also Manager of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust Te Ohu Tiaki i Te Rau Hiringa and has been a PANZ councillor, among other industry roles.

Frances Chan –                Senior Editor

Frances has 25 years’ editorial experience in book and magazine publishing, specialising in children’s fiction and non-fiction, but also design,  architecture, travel and music. Since her first job at RTR Countdown magazine, she’s worked for Scholastic, Pearson, PQ Blackwell, Bauer, Fairfax, Weldon Owen and Cambridge University Press, among others, self-publishing two children’s readers along the way. She was the first female host of the 95bFM Jazz Show in the nineties, a role she has reprised today.

Hirini Tane – Kaiārahi/Counsellor

Hirini (Ngāti Kawa, Ngāti Rāhiri) holds a doctorate in Māori Studies from the University of Otago Te Whare Wānanga o Otākou. Based in Ōtepoti/Dunedin, he is a principal of independent Māori research organisation Takarangi Research, and kaiwhakahaere of the Māori Maps social enterprise. A fluent speaker of te reo Māori, he guides Oratia’s work in relation to te reo, tikanga and mātauranga.

Ella Fischer –                   Assistant Editor

Originally from Tulln, Austria, Ella obtained a distinction degree in Comparative Literature in Vienna, worked in France then lectured in London before moving to Aotearoa. She has worked here as a language teacher, writer and marketing/communications advisor, and is currently the Publishing Partnerships Specialist at Auckland Council Libraries. Ella is fluent in German and English, with proficiency in te reo Māori, French and Latin.

Cheryl Smith, Macarn Design

The talented Cheryl Smith of Macarn Design has been our default designer since Oratia started publishing books in 2009. She was previously Senior Designer at Reed Publishing (NZ). Originally from Taranaki and now based in Silverdale, Auckland, Cheryl provides design services to a wide range of New Zealand publishers.

Sarah Elworthy

Sarah Elworthy is a highly respected designer who has over 20 years’ experience in the publishing industry. She has designed books for adults and children for leading New Zealand and UK publishers, including Te Papa Press, Penguin Random House and Cambridge University Press. Based in Greenhithe, Auckland, Sarah brings her design flair to many Oratia titles.

Corporate social responsibility

logo_MaoriMaps      logo_danteorizzontale    slowfood1-2

Basic CMYK    

Industry partners



Oratia is committed to being a diverse and inclusive publisher. Click here to read our diversity policy and related information.