Roaring for books and jigsaws

Glen Pettit and 11-year-old Sophie Rutherford pore over the encyclopedia. Photo: Daniel Hines.

Not the sort of book you would flick through on the pillow before nodding off.

But for someone compiling a local history on the Canterbury provincial district, or any other New Zealand province or city, or perhaps you are a genealogist sorting the family tree, then this volume of the Encyclopedia of New Zealand will titillate. It’s a grabber at any book fair.

“They have become real collector’s items,” assures Glen Pettit. He’s the go-to man for sorting rare and valuable books that come in for the Tauranga Harbour City Lions Book Fair next month. The lions are busy sorting books now but need more. And jigsaw puzzles.

The encyclopedia is a compilation of industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures and illustrations, published by Horrace J.Weeks, a Christchurch printer and publisher, in 1903. There’s an image of the sailing ship Discovery setting sail from Lyttelton for the Antarctic, a fine image of Captain J.L,Gillies in full Scottisb battle regalia of kilt, sporran and sabre, the Rangitata traffic bridge and a box of freshly caught trout from the Opihi River. Fascinating.   

And this volume will be for sale at the Tauranga Harbour City Lions Book Fair at Tauranga Race Course on Friday November 22 from 1-8pm, and Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 between 9am and 4pm.

“When it was printed it was probably worth five guineas – five pounds and five shillings – I don’t know.

“But it’s going out for sale at $75.” Good books always appreciate and will be appreciated.

Glen Pettit then discovers another little gem – “Musings in Maoriland” – a common descriptor for New Zealand back in 1890 at the time of publication apparently. It’s an anthology of essays and poems by Thomas Bracken – the man who gave us our national anthem. There’s an historical sketch by Robert Stout , 13th premier of New Zealand and a foreword by Governor George Grey. It was number 35 in a limited run of 1000.

The encyclopedia and musings are amongst all the thrillers, science fiction, western, romance, mystery, fantasy, detective dramas, fables and fairy tales at the Tauranga Harbour Lions Book Fair.

Donations of books can still be dropped off at Mitre 10 in Cameron Road Gate Pa, Gilmours at Tauranga Crossing, Golf Warehouse in Chapel Street and Smith City at Bethlehem Town Centre.

The Book Fair starts on Friday, November 22, from 1pm to 8pm and again on Saturday, 23 and Sunday 24, between 9am and 4pm.

The Book Fair venue, which feeds tens of thousands of dollars back into good causes in the local community, is at Tauranga Race Course.