A remarkable story of life on Auckland’s spectacular west coast in the 1920s and 30s is now available for all New Zealander’s thanks to a promise made by Waitakere City mayor Bob Harvey.
A chance meeting with the author of The Iron-Bound Coast, Wallace Badham, prompted Harvey to commit to ensuring this romantic history of a time long gone made it into the public eye.
The Iron-Bound Coast is a rare book and a New Zealand publishing gem. The two manuscripts for the work were written in long hand with photos laboriously pasted in. Badham, who died shortly after meeting Harvey, had set out to preserve his crystal-clear memories of early Karekare for his nieces, but has created a work of living history that speaks to all New Zealanders.
Badham was a great yarn-teller and his book is filled with stories about fascinating characters that lived at a time when cars and planes were new and fascinating. Badham himself was one of Auckland’s first pilots.
Harvey recalls his excitement
on discovering The Iron-Bound Coast: “I realised this is
truly a rich gem, a legacy of not only remote Karekare
but a grand story of this country. Wally speaks in a voice that reﬂects the time; a time that is now rapidly fading in memory and people.”
Illustrated with 215 photos, most never before published, this hardback edition marks the third release of the Libro International book imprint from Waitakere-based publisher Oratia Media.
Managing director Peter Dowling heralded the publication: “We are thrilled to publish The Iron-Bound Coast, a work of historical significance and entertaining content. We hope we’ve done Wally proud – everyone who reads it seems to fall under his spell.”
Wallace Badham grew up at Karekare and left only with the onset of World War II. His unhappy later life belied the accomplishments and adventure of his youth, when he was among the first pilots in Auckland and spent days roaming across the remote valleys of the Waitkare Ranges. He retained a deep affection for the area and its history until his death in 2001.
Bob Harvey, historian, writer and mayor of Waitakere City, has edited the Badham text. A prolific author, Harvey is the author of six books centred on the west coast and its history, including Untamed Coast, Rolling Thunder and Wild Beast: The Art of Dean Buchanan. Bob spends much of his time at his beach home in Karekare.
The Iron-Bound Coast is the third book from Libro International, the new book division launched this year by Oratia Media. It follows Outrageous Fortune: The West Family Album, and Tim Tipene’s Kura Toa: Warrior School. Libro International is taking New Zealand history, Maori studies, children’s and general nonfiction titles to the world.