Timely historic tale
Personal stories enrich Pauatahanui book
Pauatahanui’s long-awaited history book is nearing completion and not a moment too soon as the area enters a period of upheaval with Transmission Gully looming and many farmers subdividing their land.
Whitby public historian Helen Reilly is putting her finishing touches on the glossy coffee table book, which will be published next year.
It has been a long road since 2009, when an idea for the book was floated, says Alan Gray, one of the key personalities behind the project.
‘‘I think if we’d known the size of it we wouldn’t have started but it’s really gone every bit as well as we could have hoped.’’
Up to $40,000 will need to be fundraised to publish the as-yet unnamed book, on top of the $50,000 already raised in 2010 to get the book written.
Smatterings of the area’s history had previously been recorded in newspaper articles and memoirs but now seemed an appropriate time to collate the information, Mr Gray says.
‘‘Of course we’re very conscious the whole area is in flux. The big farms are almost gone and it’s going to be a very different place in 10 to 20 years’ time, and we felt it was a good time to record,’’ he says.
Author Ms Reilly says the book will cover the wider Pauatahanui area’s history – including Whitby – from its prehistory, through the musket wars on Battle Hill, right through to modern times. The heart of the book, however, will be the village’s heyday in the 1890s, when Wellington’s main road north passed through the village and sawmilling and fishing were boom industries.
Being able to draw on oral histories from established Pauatahanui families has been a real boost along the journey. Ms Reilly says.
‘‘I’ve loved getting to know about the local history all round here. It’s been fabulous,’’ she says. ‘‘It’s enriched my life.’’
To register interest in pre-ordering the book, email email@example.com
Picture this: Pauatahanui’s history book is nearing completion. Author Helen Reilly and project instigator Alan Gray, with paintings of the Kakaho Valley in the 1870s and 1890s, painted by Mr Gray’s ancestors.
Early days: A painting of Pauatahanui village in 1865 is the kind of image readers can expect in the glossy coffee-table history book, to be published next year.