I have really enjoyed the new release “Puketiti Station” by Bee Dawson for a number of reasons. Not only was I delighted at the format, described as a paperback but in fact a really nice flexi-cover with dust-jacket, it made me recall the beautiful area in which Puketiti is situated.
As a teenager and relatively fresh from an upbringing in the Orient, I was invited to give a hand at shearing time, on what must have been the neighbouring Takapau Station, where my older sister’s boyfriend worked. Full of excitement and anticipation, I was soon to learn the true meaning of hard work! After a 10 minute instruction on how to pick up, throw and check a fleece, I became an expert “rousie” who took a very personal pride in my work, particularly when told by the gang boss that the Maori shearing boys thought “that skinny Pakeha girl can sure work!”
I do remember through the haze of perpetual exhaustion, the lovely and then, remote spot in Te Puia Springs where we stayed and where I experienced the wonderful hospitality and warmth of the local people. Little things like fresh maori bread, bareback horse-riding on the beach at Waipiro Bay, watching the local boys bring in kina and going up to the marae for my very first hangi!
A book has surely done its job when you enjoy it and it also makes you smile!
Liz & the Team at Touchwood
Bee Dawson has contributed to our Air Force’s anniversary year with the timely publication of Wigram. Like her earlier Hobsonville: portrait of a seaplane station, the new book is a social history of the Base drawing on the memories and anecdotes from those who lived and trained at Wigram.
The first chapters describe the history of Wigram up until WWII, and thus encompass the early days of flying and the initial development of New Zealand’s Air Force. Two generous chapters cover Wigram at war, then the author takes us through the post-war years until the base’s closure in 1995) (the book is about the base and its people, so she does not venture into the politics of defence in the 1990s).
Bee Dawson brings to life the base through the tales of early aviators, officers and airmen and women, and the families who lived their lives on the base. Wigram is filled with illustrations and photographs – many previously unpublished – of aircraft and people that add depth to the stories.
Wigram is a substantial book that will be an invaluable resource for all interested in the history of our Air Force.
Air Force News. December 2012