2012 is a big year for big celebrations: the nearby township of Paparoa – 150; Roadleys at Batley – 100; The Kauri Museum at Matakohe – 50.
Paparoa had a three-day community party, we’re having a family party and The Kauri Museum produced a book that’s so gorgeous I’m afraid to write in it. Problem solved: we’ll christen it at our family’s Celebrate a Century party.
Pioneering Life & the Kauri Tree: The Kauri Museum celebrates the first fifty years is a perpetual calendar, cookbook, photo album and history book – done with a light touch; just enough of everything to educate, entertain and amuse.
As well as 300-plus photos, there are 50 recipes, all old favourites tested by Kauri Museum staff and volunteers. I made Date & Fig slice (p.33) and found the filling so yummy, the finished product had somewhat less filling than the recipe intended and the cook somewhat more.
Despite the book’s beauty and quality, it demands to be used – and not just by spilling brown sugar on it while you’re cooking Date & Fig slice. Each month begins with a stunning double-page spread photograph: March – preserves; April – Anzac; December – Christmas table.
There’s space in the perpetual diary to write a few notes, in our case dates that relate to Batley:
10 November 2012 – family party to celebrate 100 years at Batley;
11 November 1912 – Albert and Jack buy Forsaith’s Grant – 823 acres – at Batley;
12 November 1862 – Joseph and May Masefield, the first Pakeha to own where the house now stands, arrive in NZ.
Before the book launch, I shared my thoughts on the book with a group of journos at a lunch at The Kauri Museum. The CEO Bet Nelley had asked me to review it because, she said, I was a journalist, an author and her friend. Actually, there’s more – in a small-world coincidence, in 1929 one of Bet’s aunts was bridesmaid for my grandmother Bess Shoebridge when she married Walter Newman.
Bet contracted Sarah Charles of Ant Creative to produce the book after Sarah did a great job of sparkling up the Museum’s shop, plus staff and volunteers contributed in a big way.
The book is designed for everyone, including international tourists who visit and love the Museum – there’s even a map so you can find your way there. A few of the photos are also in Love at the End of the Road, plus there’s a photo of my great-great uncle Wesley Switzer who had a sawmill south of Kaitaia.
Pioneering Life & the Kauri Tree would make a great birthday book and a Christmas or birthday gift – click here to get to The Kauri Museum’s online shop.