Cen­te­nar­ian book has au­thor on the hunt for pub­lisher

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - SARA MEIJ

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."’’

Re­nee Hol­lis

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.

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