All things collectableJILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Kiwi Collectors: Curious and Unusual Kiwi Hobbies
By Matt Elliott (HarperCollins, RRP $37)
The things collected by Kiwis are as many and varied as the collectors themselves and this book offers a fascinating glimpse into just a tiny portion of the collections tucked away in our homes, garages and sheds.
It seems we all end up collecting something in the course of our lives, whether on purpose or purely by chance: inheriting a stamp collection from an older sibling or (as happened to me) a grandmother suddenly deciding it would be a good idea if you collected fancy soaps, thereby sentencing you to a lifetime of soaps for birthday and Christmas gifts for the rest of her life.
I'm not sure if she was trying to make some sort of statement about my personal hygeine levels (although, it must be said that no one ever held their nose when I walked into a room and I'm sure at least one of my four big brothers would have delighted in telling me had I been a malodorous child).
My current collections are a tad more interesting than soaps, with a selection of model cars and a herd of handbags that I'm quite fond of. I've also considered taking up collecting $100 notes but my aforementioned handbag collection takes care of those.
But I digress.
Author Matt Elliott has tracked down collectors from all around our fair land and presents their beloved possessions in this beautifully photographed book.
From firearms to carniverous plants, pottery to railway signals, clocks to cars, they are all here.
The collections are as much about the collectors as they are about the items and the author has told their stories with a comfortable balance of respect and interest, tempered with a touch of humour.
Thank you to the many Kiwi collectors for allowing us a wee peek into your hobbies and for giving me something to add to my other collection: books.