Pip Desmond

Pip Desmond is a writer, journalist, oral historian and former parliamentary press secretary. Her latest memoir 'Song for Rosaleen', about her family's experience of caring for their mother with dementia, was published by Massey University Press in 2018.

You can watch Pip's TV1 Breakfast interview about 'Song for Rosaleen', listen to her Radio NZ interview and read the Corpus book review.

Pip is passionate about telling people's stories, especially those whose voices are seldom heard. She is the award-winning author of 'Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs' (Random House, 2009) and 'The War That Never Ended: New Zealand Veterans Remember Korea' (Penguin, 2013). During a recent two-year volunteer assignment in Timor Leste, she tutored in creative writing  and wrote a creative writing guide for locals in the national language, Tetun.

Pip lives in Wellington and runs communications company 2Write with her husband Pat Martin. She was the 2019 Massey University Writer in Residence.


  • Adult Non-Fiction
  • Autobiography / Memoir
  • Biography
  • Feature Articles
  • Freelance Writer
  • Ghost Writing
  • Journalism


  • Editing
  • Freelance Writing
  • Journalism
  • Mentoring
  • Print Media Writing (magazines/newspapers)
  • Proofreading
  • Public Speaking
  • Research
  • Tutoring
  • Website Content






Song for Rosaleen

'Song for Rosaleen' (Massey University Press, 2018) is a memoir about a family coping with their mother's dementia. It is both a celebration of Rosaleen Desmond's life and an unflinching account of the practical and ethical dilemmas that faced her six children. Told with love, insight, humour and compassion, it raises important questions about who we become when our memories fail, how our rapidly ageing population can best be cared for, and what this means for us all.

The War That Never Ended: New Zealand Veterans Remember Korea

Based on in-depth oral history interviews, 'The War That Never Ended' (Penguin, 2013), records the memories of 12 New Zealand veterans of the Korean War. The men's voices resonate through intimate and often surprising stories, from the rigours of manning 25-pounder guns to survival in bitter cold; from the horror of lifting mines to the delight of finding puha in the paddy fields. Honest, poignant and sometime humorous, these unique accounts provide a fascinating snapshot of Kiwi involvement in what has been dubbed 'the forgotten war' - one in which peace is yet to be declared.

Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs

'Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs' (Random House, 2009) is the award-winning memoir about the extraordinary time Pip Desmond spent as a member of Aroha Trust, a work cooperative for gang women in Wellington in the late 1970s. For three years, this unique, unruly group of girls did 'men's work', lived together and stood side by side against a backdrop of gang violence, police harassment and a society that didn't want to know. 'Trust' also tells the women's stories - much of it in their own words - with the respect and compassion that comes for a shared bond over 30 years. As an insight into New Zealand's social history and a way to understand women and gangs, it is without peer. 'Trust' won Best First Book of Non-Fiction at the 2010 NZ Post book awards.