Closing the book on Elsdon Best
Elsdon Best is finally a wrap.
Tawa Historical Society chairman Bruce Murray is already planning his next book after he and co-editor David Wood completed the third volume of Best of Tawa recently. It brings a labour of love, which began in 2007, to a satisfying conclusion.
Much of the three volumes is devoted to Elsdon Best, a Tawa Flat-born ethnographer who made many observations in the late 1800s on Maori culture through his contact with Tuhoe. In 1914 he wrote a series of articles on the history of the Tawa area.
Mr Murray says Best was ‘‘an extraordinary man’’ whose contribution to New Zealand history deserves to be highlighted.
‘‘Sure, he got things wrong, but his writings were very, very influential.’’
Volume three has an index and bibliography that covers all three books. It was timeconsuming to put together, hence the delay to get the final volume published.
‘‘ The first two volumes looked at the settling of this area and the turbulence in the 1840s and 1860s, but the third volume is a bit more lighthearted. It’s more of a stew of his work.’’
All three books total 320 pages, with plenty of illustrations. They have been selling steadily and are available from Tawa Library.
There will be an official launch of Best of Tawa Volume 3, at the library on November 14 from 6pm.
The society’s next books include histories of Tawa Town Hall, Ranui Golf Club and the memories of Brian Mexted, while Mr Murray is well- advanced on a general history of the suburb.
End of story: Tawa Historical Society’s Bruce Murray with the three volumes of Best of Tawa – he and David Wood had plans to publish it all in one book but realised it was a ‘‘monstrous task’’.