Wiremu Gillies was born in Waimarama, Hastings, and was educated at Rapaki Primary School and Christchurch Technical College. He trained as a teacher at Wellington Training College and Christchurch Training College and taught at Te Horo Māori School. He was sole charge at Matahiwi Māori School. Gillies was Deputy Principal at Ruatoki District High School and sole charge at Kennedy’s Bay Māori School. He was principal at Manaia Māori School, Te Horo School, Te Matai Primary School, and Deputy Principal at Lucknow School. Gillies was an itinerant teacher of Māori in the Hastings district, set up the bilingual school at Omahu in Hastings in 1980 and worked with NZCER with Dr Richard Benton. From 1980-87, he was an Education Department Adviser for the education of Māori and Pacific Island children in the South Island and Chatham Islands. Gillies was also an adviser for ESL children. After his retirement, Gillies was involved with the building of Nga Hau E Wha National Marae in Christchurch, was one of the Directors of the Runanga o Ngāi Tahu and was the upoko runanga of Te Hapu o Ngāti Wheke at Rapaki. Gillies wrote internal papers for teachers and also a number of creative stories for use in the classroom.
- Phone conversation with Beverley Gillies, 10 August 1998.
- Nga Manu I Runga I Te Rakau. Na Bill Gillies Ko Nga Whakaahua na Murray Grimsdale. Whanganui-a-Tara: Te Roopu Mahipukapukakura/Te Tari Matauranga, 1984.
- A children’s counting book written in Māori with illustrations of New Zealand native birds by Murray Grimsdale.
- The Pukeko. Wellington, N.Z.: Learning Media, Ministry of Education, 1992.
- Illustrations by Penelope Newman. A children’s picture book in which Gillies writes of Taua Rāhera and Poua Tāmati, who grew flowers and kumara outside their small whare. Gillies describes their various efforts to keep the pukeko out of their kumara patch. Enclosed with this Nga Tamariki Iti o Aotearoa publication are teaching notes suggesting class activities to accompany the reading of The Pukeko.
Nga Manu I Runga I Te Rakau.
- Tu Tangata 20 (1984): 38.