Meet the Biographer

Hi, my name is Joanna Bishop. I am the founder of In My Lifetime Biography Services and I will be your biographer.


I am looking forward to meeting  you

and hearing  your story.

In the meantime, here is a small

part of my own.

I was born in 1975 in Palmerston North to a young couple, Alex and Maree, from as small town in Taranaki called Eltham. They named me Miranda. Before my birth, Maree and Alex made the difficult decision to have me adopted and so, on 21 January 1975 Lindsey Bishop and her husband Christopher William (Bill) Bishop got the phone call they had been waiting for; a little girl, born seven pounds twelve ounces was waiting for her new home. Bill and Lindsey became my mum and dad and when I was three years old and my brother Mathew was five, we all moved to the Waikato. 

I had an adventurous childhood. As a child in the 70s and 80s, I roamed the streets of Hamilton, unmindful of the dangers that seem so perceptible today. My friends and I ate hot chips next to river at night and walked home in the dark after games of spot light with the neighbours. I went for long walks and to club rugby with dad in the weekends, and I enjoyed nothing more than getting lost in one of the many books that mum placed in my hands from an early age. My favourite toys included Kermit the frog, a pillow named Sunshine and a puppet named Ebenezer. My cat was called Phoebe.

My father encouraged us to explore our own country and we holidayed with other families enjoying great adventures in the snow, down rivers and on islands. Schoolwork did not challenge me greatly and I was a quiet and shy child. I was bullied at primary school and I became a rebellious and consequently (and somewhat inexplicably) a relatively popular teenager. I left school halfway through my final year. I had my heart set on being a builder and settled for work as a cabinetmaker. I left home soon after my seventeenth birthday and became pregnant to my school sweetheart, Matthew when I was eighteen. When our son Marcus was six months old and I was nineteen, I became an independent parent. I remained single until I was thirty-five.

When Marcus was two, we moved to Raglan where Marcus attended kindergarten before starting school at Raglan Area School. When Marcus was six and I was twenty-five we moved to Cambridge and two years later, back to Hamilton. I had started studying medicinal plants in Raglan and this interest stayed with me and directed my choices in subjects through a bachelor’s degree in biology, a masters degree in anthropology, and eventually a doctorate in history. I gained all my degrees at the University of Waikato and was the first person in my family to attend university.

Academia provided me with opportunities that I could not have imagined. For example, two weeks after completing my bachelors degree, I spent three months in Antarctica conducting experiments on moss and lichen species in the Ross Sea Region. Two weeks after completing my doctorate, I flew to Portugal where I presented my research to an international audience at the World Congress for Environmental History. Both trips remain highlights of my life thus far.














Plants have always played an important role in my life and I believe my Grandfather was instrumental in instilling in me a love of all things botanical. My Grandfather, Angus Robertson was a plant pathologist and Agronomist and was an avid (if not entirely successful) gardener. As a child, grandad would walk me through his extensive garden, talking quietly to me about the flowers and trees we passed. Mum, who was also a keen gardener encouraged this interest and allocated me areas in her garden to grow what I wanted.

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From the first rather dingy flat that I moved into when I left home, gardens have been a constant presence in my life. Indeed, the skills and knowledge that I accumulated over the years have served me well and I have worked both part-time (while I studied) and full-time as a gardener/groundskeeper at various places including a Retirement Village and a Zoo. Other interesting jobs include a short stint as a mortuary technician and an even shorter stint as a sandwich maker at Ruakura Research Station. I now live on the outskirts of Morrinsville with my wonderful partner Jason and my two cats, Emmet and Jasper. Marcus, now twenty-seven is successfully carving out a career as an Environmental Planner.
















I have always enjoyed creative writing and I spent a large part of my childhood in a fantasy world only I was privy too. The tales I did share, I turned into plays and short stories. My love of writing grew while I was a student and as I learned how to explore the past, research the present and examine the future. As well as writing academically, I have authored newspaper columns, written legal proceedings, and most recently have written and produced plays which I’ve performed in theatres throughout the Waikato. My writing combines a creative flair with an ability to present facts and retell events in a way that captures the imagination of my readers.

I have always been drawn to people’s stories and have had too many life stories spontaneously shared with me to count. I find people fascinating and I am beyond excited to be launching this business. It is my privilege to hear, record and present your story, and I look forward to meeting you and sharing this journey with you.

Until then…

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