Centenarian book has author on the hunt for publisher
A Nelson author is urgently trying to find a publisher to take on a book about New Zealand’s 100-year-old oral history.
Renee Hollis has finished a year of interviewing 120 centenarians from Northland to Invercargill to document their stories.
She said there was ‘‘a real urgency’’ for the book to be published as since she conducted the interviews 21 of the centenarians had died.
Hollis said her goal with the book was to make sure the stories of centenarians around the country wouldn’t be forgotten.
‘‘I want all New Zealanders to value the elderly and to read and appreciate their stories and contribution to our society.’’
Hollis said she was currently dictating hundreds of hours of interviews, as each one lasted between two and five hours.
‘‘It has been a real honour and privilege to hear and record these stories.
‘‘As well as interviewing I started researching each person by reading military records, their memoirs, diaries, newspaper articles, editing photographs.’’
This is Hollis’ 10th book. Many of the others have been photographic projects including looking at the people and artists of Golden Bay.
She ran into financial difficulty to have the book published midway through last year and started a
‘‘I want all New Zealanders to value the elderly and to read and appreciate their stories and contribution to our society."’’
PledgeMe page, which raised $8,096 in donations from people around New Zealand.
Hollis said her main sponsor for the project was Bupa Healthcare, who would be paying for the national media book launch and a book tour.
But she also received local support from Rabbit Island Coffee.
‘‘They gave me $1 for every kilo of coffee they sold, 50 cents for 500 grams and 25 cents for 250 grams until the end of 2017.
‘‘They just love what I am doing and have promised to continue their support for 2018.’’
Rabbit Island Coffee co-owner Ali Slotemaker said she was ‘‘extremely touched’’ by Hollis’ project.
She has a grandfather who is in his 90s.
‘‘I really felt like she was making a personal sacrifice to capture moments in history that were slipping away from us as society. With our busy lives, its often too late before we realise we should have paid more attention.’’
Renee Hollis, left, with three of the people she interviewed and photographed for her book, Ben Oakes, Max Sladen and Lorna Moffitt.