– A Wairarapa Community Anthology
Compiled by Viv Walker
‘A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.’
Henrik Ibsen (pg 114)
‘NZ Department of Conservation research suggests that exposure to natural environments has direct, positive effects on human health and wellbeing.’ (pg 74)
This is a glorious book. It’s bright, beautifully presented, eminently readable and a testament to community support and effort. I learned so much and this book has pride of place on our coffee table.
It was the early settlers who felt a pull to their nearest body of water, the Waipoua River, to swim in and even then they saw the potential for sailing. From the end of the 1880’s Joseph Payton called on the Masterton Borough Council to build a swimming pool but it would be ‘nearly twenty years before Payton’s plea was taken up. After the ‘Masterton Trust Lands Trust gave ten acres to be added to Masterton Park’ the ability to create something very special was begun.
There are voices from the Masterton community all through. From the current mayor, Lyn Patterson, to past mayor Bob Francis. There is a lovely tribute to his ancestry and memories of Henley Lake from Joseph Potangaroa. The voices and stories of patrons, poets, artists, walkers, this book comes wonderfully alive and the love and dedication to an idea shines through.
Lucky are the students at Lakeview School, ‘nestled on the north-western corner of Henley Lake Park only a hop, skip and jump away.’ But, in the traditions of their community, these students not only enjoy the beauty of the lake, they contribute to its upkeep, taking on increasing responsibility for annual plantings, picking up rubbish and being involved in working bees. In 2012, for example, students planted flaxes to be used for weaving and making Maori costumes. They are truly becoming ‘kaitiaki’ – guardians of the land.
Many community groups use this place from The Men’s Shed to the Big Dog Day Out, taking advantage of the lovely setting of Henley Lake.
The stunning detail in this book is testament to Viv Walker’s own vision and creative drive to bring to us the history of Henley Lake. Her commitment to acknowledging all involved, her own lovely artwork throughout in collaboration with other artists equally talented, the research required to interview, to gather the personal stories and archival history, the clear presentation of photos and maps – hats off to Ms Walker.
This is more than a celebration of effort in one New Zealand town. It shows us what can be achieved with vision, passion and drive by ordinary people committed to providing the best for their community. It shows us love.
Author: Viv Walker
Publisher: Swirld books
Available: Soft cover available from Swirld Books firstname.lastname@example.org. Masterton: Paper Plus, Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Hedleys Book shop. Carterton:
Almos bookshop, Take Note. Greytown: Cobblestones Museum, Sandra Wong Art Gallery. Pukaha Mount Bruce wildlife centre. Wellington: Unity Bookshop. Wheelers Books Online https://www.wheelers.co.nz/