Chris Szekely was born in Auckland and was educated at Otahuhu College. He continued his studies at Auckland University and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology in 1984. He worked at Waitomo as a researcher and cave guide, travelled overseas and, after his return to New Zealand, moved into library work. In 1989 he completed a Diploma of Librarianship at Victoria. During his library studies he worked at the Turnbull Library assisting with the microfilming all the 19th century Māori newspapers. From 1988-1996 Szekely worked for the National Library in services to Māori. He has compiled a number of bibliographies aimed at improving access to Māori resources and was a reviewer for Infochoice: A Buying Guide for Primary School Libraries. In 1995 he received a United States Information Agency Fellowship which enabled him to travel to the States to study how information services are delivered to Native Americans.
Szekely was a founding member of Te Ropu Whakahau, Māori Language & Information Workers’ Association and is an active member of the New Zealand Library and Information Association. Most of his publications have been produced through these organisations. Szekely has also been actively involved in library education as a course coordinator and moderator for library studies programmes at Victoria University and the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
Szekely is currently a freelance library consultant, engaging in consultancy advice and research and training services. Szekely has provided most of the descriptive annotations for his published works listed below; these appear in quotation.
- Phone conversation and correspondence with Chris Szekely: 11 and 24 August 1998.
- "Te Whakama E Patu" School Journal. 3. Wellington, N.Z.: Learning Media, Ministry of Education,1990: 61-64.
- Swim : the story of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai. Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand : Huia, 2013.
- Retold by Chris Szekely and illustrated by Andrew Burdan.
- Tāhoe : he pakiwaitara mō Hinemoa rāua ko Tūtānekai. Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa : Huia, 2013.
- Illustrated by Andrew Burdan and translated by Scotty Morrison.
- Rona. Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa : He mea whakaputa tēnei pukapuka mō Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga e Huia, 2014.
- Illustrated by Josh Morgan.
- Rona. Wellington : Huia Publishers, 2016.
- Translated by Kauru Nohotima and Illustrated by Josh Morgan.
- Rāhui. Wellington, N.Z. : Huia Publishers, 2011.
- Illustrated by Malcolm Ross and transitioned by Brian Morris
- "Māori Information Resources: A Survey." Archifacts: Bulletin of the Archives and Records Association of New Zealand (Oct 1990): 49.
- Co-authored with Rangitunoa Black, Theresa Graham, and Jane Wild.
- He Pukapuka I Roto I Te Reo Māori. Auckland, N.Z. : Regional Services, National Library of New Zealand, 1991.
- A list of Māori language books held at the National Library’s Auckland office.
- "Māori People in Libraries." Sites: A Journal for Radical Perspectives on Culture 25 (Spring 1992): 63-68.
- ‘A discussion of some of the trends and initiatices relating to libraries for Māori.’
- Te Hikoi Marama: A Directory Of Māori Information Resources. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams Books; Te Ropu Whakahau, 1993.
- ‘A listing of libraries throughout New Zealand with Māori collections.’
- "Māori Identity In New Zealand Librarianship." inCite 14.6 (31 May 1993): 12.
- ‘A description of some of the initiatives of Te Ropu Whakahau Māori Library & Information Workers’ Association.’
- "Library Services For Māori People." Wilson Library Bulletin (Apr. 1993): 46-48.
- ‘An outline of the issues facing libraries in providing services to Māori.’
- "A Māori Identity in New Zealand Librarianship." InCite 14.6 (1993): 12.
- Ka Mahi Tonu: Biculturalism In New Zealand Librarianship 1992-1994. Wellington, N.Z.: The N Strategy Bicultural Actions Group; New Zealand Library and Information Association, 1994.
- Compiled with John Garraway.
- "He Waka Eke Noa." New Librarian 1.8 (Oct. 1994): 29-30.
- ‘A discussion of bicultural initiatives in New Zealand libraries.’
- He Puna Taunaki, Te Reo Māori In Libraries: A Māori Language Resource For Librarians. Auckland, N.Z.: Te Ropu Whakhau, 1995.
- Compiled with Hinureina Mangan.
- "Māori Librarians, Active And Influential." American Indian Libraries Newsletter XVIII.4 (Summer 1996): 1,3.
- ‘An account of the development of Te Ropu Whakahau, Māori Library & Information Workers’ Association.’
- Te Ara Tika: Guiding Voices - Māori Opinion On Libraries And Information Needs. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Library and Information Association; Te Ropu Whakahau, 1997.
- ‘A research report documenting Māori opinion on libraries and information needs.’
- "Māori Collections In New Zealand Libraries." Collection Building 16.3 (1997): 113-118.
- Co-authored with Sally Weatherall.
- " Bicultural librarianship in New Zealand." Issues and initiatives in indigenous librarianship : some international perspectives. Ed. Szekely, Chris. Auckland N.Z.: Te Rōpū Whakahau, 1999.
- More Māori using Manukau Libraries more often. Library life : New Zealand Library Association newsletter, 259 (Aug 2001): 22-23.
- Co-author Jock Walker.
- "Architecture Pasifika." Library life, 262 (Nov 2001): 10-11.
- "Manukau Library wins architecture award." Library life, 264 (Feb 2002): 14.
- "Festive celebration at Botany Library; Botany Library - from a youth perspective." Library life, 295 (Nov 2004): 14.
- Co-authors Jessica Henry and Chris Jenkins.
- "Library love." Architecture New Zealand, 5 (Sep/Oct 2006): 38-39.
- "Annual report from the Chief Librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library, July 2006 to June 2007." Turnbull Library Record, 40 (2007): 71-77.
- "From the Chief Librarian." Off the Record (2007): 5.
- "Annual report of the Chief Librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library July 2007 to June 2008." Turnbull Library Record (2008): 82-97.
- "Annual report of the Chief Librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library July 2008 to June 2009" Turnbull Library Record (2009): 100-119.
- "Annual report of the Chief Librarian, Alexander Turnbull Library, July 2009-December 2010." Turnbull Library Record (2010/2011): 129-149.
- "From the chief librarian." Off the record (2012): 10.
- "The year in review : Turnbull 2011." Turnbull Library Record (2012): 72-80.
- "The year in review : Turnbull 2012." Turnbull Library Record (2013): 80-88.
- The year in review : Turnbull 2013. Turnbull Library Record (2014): 90-99.
- "The year in review : Turnbull 2014." Turnbull Library Record (2015): 78-92.
- Te Hikoi Marama: A Directory Of Māori Information Resources. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland Public Library; Auckland Office of the National Library of New Zealand, 1991.
- ‘The first edition of a directory listing libraries with Māori holdings. Co-editors included Rangitunoa Black, Theresa Graham and Jane Wild.’
- Te Ara Tika: Māori And Libraries. Tui MacDonald. Ed. Chris Szekely. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Library and Information Association, 1993.
- ‘A research report looking at attitudes of the library profession towards providing services for Māori.’
- Recent Māori Publications. Sally Weatherall. Ed. Chris Szekely. Auckland, N.Z.: National Library of New Zealand, 1994.
- ‘A listing of new Māori publications aimed at children.’
- Korurangi, New Māori Art. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland Art Gallery, 1996.
- ‘An illustrate catalogue of a Māori art exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, including a review by Robert Jahnke, an interview with the exhibition curator, and an essay by the Gallery’s principal curator.’
- Pikitanga: He Apiti I Te Rau Ora. New Zealand Library and Information Association, 1992-1994, 1996.
- ‘A supplement to the New Zealand Library & Information Association’s newsletter, Library Life, which focuses on bicultural initiatives. Szekely was editor of the supplement from 1992-1994 and in 1996.’
- Farewell Roger Flury. Crescendo,Crescendo (Online) (Aug/Sep 2014): 40-44.
- "A most entertaining little man." New Zealand books, 26.1 (Aut 2016): 22.
- Review of Hocken by Donald Kerr.
- Mere’s Car. No details.
- Szekely won a Te Ha award for this book.
- "Meet the Editor...Chris Szekely." Infonet (1991): 4.