Last surviving commissioned officer of the Māori battalion has died.
He was a Dinkum Purler and in a Radio series of that name he speaks of his years growing up in the Chatham Islands, of his early Moriori ancestors and his time with Colonel Awatere at Casino during WWII and the horrors of that war.
I interviewed him just before the Millennium, and he was the most wonderful man, modest, unassuming, with a great sense of humour.
On Wednesday, 13th of December my beloved book, For God Sake Saddle Me A Donkey, launched in written form at the Millwood Gallery, Thorndon and is available at leading book stores, such as Marsden Books and Unity in Wellington and Wheelers in Auckland or from me, send me an email please.
Thinking of our traveling partners: the Bicklers, Colin and Shirley and their daughter Rachel, and Vernon Wright, my first husband who could not be here. There is a picture of Nikki and Rachel in the book, Nikki was one and a half when we left New Zealand she came to the launch to help and sing the song. Continue reading Launched as a book at last – FGSSMAD→
This is a lovely review by Porirua librarian Bee Trudgeon:
Dinah Priestley and Cassidy Abbot with The Wicked Plum Tree
The newest published author out of Whitby is a teenager named Cassidy Abbot who is no stranger to Porirua Library. He has engaged in writing and story time initiatives with the library since he was little, and can now find his name on the library’s catalogue alongside his grandmother’s, author/artist/actor/historian Dinah Priestley, thanks to a picture book they have created together. The Wicked Plum Tree is dedicated (in part) to ‘those who love trees’, and tells the story of a naughty one. Although the book is threaded through with fantasy, it is partially based on fact.
Having a dear and companionable friend is what makes life worth living don’t you think? And that’s what Sheila was.
She was a most delightfully unusual person
deeply soaked in that tough Stewart Island background she’d come from. Whalers and sealers who had married into Maori families. People with names like Jacka Lee, Yankee Smith Black Swan, Manuel Gomez and Ned the Nailer.
Both she and Gilbert would say of themselves.” We are Foveaux Strait. A very mixed crew. Down here we think of people by name not by whether they’re Maori or Pakeha.”
I’ve known Sheila since the 1990s when in desperation I asked her to introduce me to Stewart Island families whom she thought I should interview for my radio series Dinkum Purlers. People whose blood was worth bottling.