We launched my latest book today – 'A Very Publick Reserve', the story of Queen Elizabeth Park, our local municipal park. The launch coincided with the opening of an exhibition on the park at Aratoi, the local museum of art and history.
The ceremony started with a mihi (welcome) from local kaumatua and friend Mike Kawana….
then Aratoi director Marcus Burroughs introduced my publisher, Ian Grant of Fraser Books…..
Taini Wright spoke very eloquently about the statue her poua (grandfather) Taiawhio Te Tau erected in the park in 1921… here is she welcomed to the microphone by Marcus and myself....
The book was launched by Dex Knowles, whose father was custodian of the park from 1940 until 1958. Dex spoke entertainingly about his childhood, and his father’s part in the park development.
I spoke briefly, explaining how the research started with a request for help from my daughter Lavinia and her friend Callum Daniell. I explained that this request has changed me from an nurseryman who like history, into an archivist who loved gardening! Callum and Lavinia both died in their thirties, and the book is dedicated to their memory. Vin’s brother Owen was there (he has some photographs in the book) and Callum’s widow and son were there too, so it was a moving day for me.
I signed books and caught up with some of the many friends and relatives who were present.
Later, I photographed Owen, reading the book in the rose bed we planted in Vin’s memory in the park.
An emotionally tiring day but very satisfying.