Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Life at the Top
This book brings
to life the stories of those who lived and worked in the Mount Cook area
and explored the magnificent mountains surrounding it. The themes and issues
that dominated the development of the Mount Cook region and Village are
uncovered in the book.
The mountains have
great spiritual significance for Maori, and the early explorers appreciated
their grandeur and the challenges they presented. Life at the Top covers the stories of the early explorers and their
hair-raising adventures as they surveyed, photographed, mapped and climbed
in the area. It also captures the stories of the settlers who struggled to eke
out an existence in this inhospitable country.
returned home with tales of an extraordinary alpine wilderness. Transport
links were soon developed as tourist numbers increased and the first Hermitage
was built to cater for them. Over time, with more people arriving, the need for
better accommodation and infrastructure increased. Life at the Top describes the building of the three Hermitage
hotels and tells the stories of those who worked or stayed there.
It is a book full
of fascinating characters including the Reverend Green who came all the way
from Ireland in a failed attempt to conquer Mount Cook. Women also feature
prominantly; the courageous Freda du Faur who, against all odds, became the
first female to climb Mount Cook, and Ruth Adams, who was the subject of a
renowned rescue which took an exhausting week. The book outlines the
dedicated work of the Graham and Wigley families who made a long-lasting
contribution to climbing and tourism.
Many of the
stories told in Life at the Top are gathered from descendants of the pioneers
and many of the photographs included are drawn from family archives.
These stories from
the past and present illustrate Mount Cook’s tremendous magnetism which,
throughout the history of New Zealand, has brought people from all over the
Willoughby, whose family has a close association with Mount Cook, was born in Christchurch.
Having graduated from the Christchurch school of nursing she worked in London,
Wellington and Sydney. Commencing as a theatre sister, she then took up
clinical education before joining the University of Sydney as a lecturer, tutor
and examiner for the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery. Genevieve returned to
New Zealand in 2006 and lives in Lincoln. She was a garden writer for the Press and had articles published in The Gardeners’ Journal. She writes: ‘As
a child, my sister and I spent many school holidays staying at Mount Cook where
my father was one of the first pilots to fly for Mount Cook Airlines. The idea
for this book came from attending a wedding at Mount Cook. There I met many
people who had lived at Mount Cook, and had colourful tales to tell. I realised these stories should be recorded, so I
decided I should write a book about the social
history of Aoraki-Mount Cook’. Publisher details: Wily Publications (Jenny Haworth) www.wily.co.nz email@example.com Tel. 03 385 4754 RRP $39.99