Book unearths odd facts of area
By Linda Hall
Hawke’s Bay historian Michael Fowler has released his seventh book in 10 years.
Titled Hastings, Havelock North and Napier: A collage of history, the hard cover book is interesting, easy to read, well presented and is full of wonderful photos from days gone by.
Mr Fowler is a chartered accountant who is well known for his talks on history to community groups, commercial conferences and schools.
He said to him history was about ﬁnding interesting and important things that have happened in Hawke’s Bay’s past and preserving the memory of the person/event.
“I was an accounting lecturer – so I used to think of ways to try and make that subject fun and interesting.
“And it’s the same with history, I try to present history topics that engage readers in a relaxed style that is easy to read,” he said.
“History to me is a fun hobby, and I have a strong desire to have as many pioneers before us recognised and remembered for their contribution to Hawke’s Bay.
“Some interesting stories in the book are the strange bylaws Hastings had in the 1910s, including only allowing motor cars to park on the streets for 10 minutes (now they offer free parking to encourage it in the CBD).
“Also the Napier legal opinion in the same period as to whether they could ban Chinese men from swimming in their public swimming baths
“There are lots of really odd things that used to occur here mentioned in the book, and I had a few good laughs writing it.
“The building of the Te Mata Peak Rd was also a fascinating story, especially with the discovery of the rare photos showing the men building it.”
If you are interested in the history of our region then you’ll love this book. Chapters include Railway, Parks, World War I departure, Fantasyland, Te Mata Peak Park and Jean Batten’s Napier visit.
The subjects are diverse and fascinating – once you start reading it’s hard to put this book down.
Mr Fowler’s next book is due out in December and is called Hawke’s Bay Opera House: The first one hundred years 1915 to 2015.
We have two copies of Hastings, Havelock North and Napier: A collage of history, by Michael Fowler to give away. To be into win e-mail competitions[@]hbtoday.co.nz with Michael in the subject line. Entries close on December 22. Please include a daytime phone number.