Sir Bob Har­vey spills the beans

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SHEL­LEY GRECO

Sir Bob Har­vey has for most of his life lived in the public eye.

But some facts have re­mained un­known about the for­mer Waitakere mayor – un­til now.

His bi­og­ra­phy to be re­leased to­day, Wild Westie: The In­cred­i­ble Life of Bob Har­vey re­veals he was adopted at just 6 months old, a truth he did not dis­cover un­til 1990 when he was 50.

‘‘I was lucky to have two sets of par­ents,’’ he says.

The Karekare life­guard served as the mayor of Waitakere city be­tween 1992 and 2010 and cre­ated brands for hun­dreds of com­pa­nies dur­ing his ca­reer in ad­ver­tis­ing.

He is cred­ited with nam­ing TV One and Star­ship Hos­pi­tal.

‘‘The book is about my po­lit­i­cal and ad­ver­tis­ing life and the cre­ation of mod­ern elec­tion cam­paigns,’’ Sir Bob says.

‘‘I feel like a bit like For­rest Gump where I have been around for some of New Zealand’s im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal his­tory over the last 50 years.’’

The book is writ­ten by for- mer jour­nal­ist Hazel Phillips, who throws in one ex­tra­or­di­nary fact af­ter an­other about Sir Bob.

Phillips also il­lus­trates the many sides of him – not only a leg­end of the ad­ver­tis­ing world and savvy po­lit­i­cal strate­gist, but also an out­spo­ken en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist and dar­ing ad­ven­turer.

The book in­cludes de­tails of a few of Sir Bob’s ‘‘scraps’’, which he says he has no prob­lem shar­ing be­cause it was not al­ways easy to get things through the coun­cil.

Sir Bob be­came a Knight Com­pan­ion of the New Zealand Or­der of Merit for his ser­vices to lo­cal body af­fairs and the com­mu­nity in the 2013 new year honours list.

He has been mar­ried to his wife, Bar­bara, for 44 years and they have six chil­dren and eight grand­chil­dren.

‘‘I think it’s best to work on a book while you’re still alive, and it stops peo­ple get­ting it wrong when you’re dead,’’ he says.

Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH

Big read: Sir Bob Har­vey’s book came out re­cently.

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