Clos­ing the book on Els­don Best

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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’’.

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