West’s history a page-turner

BY STEPHEN FORBES
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2009
West Auckland history book
Photo: STEPHEN FORBES

HISTORICAL PROJECT: Waitakere City Council manager of arts Naomi McCleary, Ruth Kerr and mayor Bob Harvey with a copy of West – The History of Waitakere City which will be in book stores from next month.

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A book celebrating the history of west Auckland is set to hit stores next month in time to mark Waitakere city’s 20th anniversary.

West – The History of Waitakere City is the result of a partnership between the council and the Going West Trust.

Various authors were approached to write its 24 chapters which cover a range of subjects from pre-European Maori history and the geography of the west, to the area’s early European immigrants and politics.

Managing editor Ruth Kerr is pleased with the end result.

"I’m really thrilled with it," she says.

"It looks fantastic."

Ms Kerr says piecing it together with the book’s general editor, former Listener editor and Sunday Star Times columnist Finlay Macdonald, was a monumental task.

She says the images were compiled from various sources including the Western Leader’s archives and the Waitakere Libraries and JT Diamond collections.

"There’s a lot of elements involved, particularly with the fact that we chose to do it with 24 different writers," Ms Kerr says.

"But those different voices gave it a richness."

Contributors to the book include former Labour MP and High Commissioner to London Jonathan Hunt, historian Paul Moon and mayor Bob Harvey.

Mr Harvey wrote the book’s final chapter which looks at west Auckland’s future and is also impressed with the final product.

"This is a legacy to the west," he says.

"Future generations will be able to look back at this with pride."

Council manager of arts Naomi McCleary says there have been a number of attempts over the years to write a definitive history of west Auckland.

But a comprehensive effort has never made it to print.

The book cost about $280,000 and received $180,000 in funding from the council, $35,000 from the ASB Charitable Trust and $39,500 from the Portage and Waitakere licensing trusts.

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- Western Leader

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