Living Between Land and Sea reviewed on New Zealand Arts Review


Jane Robertson's most recent book Living Between Land and Sea: The bays of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour has been reviewed by John Daly-Peoples on New Zealand Arts Review:

‘The early history of New Zealand apart from that of the major centres was a history of small, often remote communities who developed physical, economic and social infrastructure to establish develop and organise their communities.

One such community was centred around the many bays of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour and a new book by Jane Robertson, “Living Between Land and Sea – The Bays of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour” provides such a history of the settlements of the harbour.

The area and the surrounding hills have a long history of Māori activity. The islands of Aua / King Billy Island  and Ōtamahua / Quail Island were important sources of resources for local Māori, despite being uninhabited. Ngāi Tahu and Ngāi Mamoe used the islands as a source of shellfish, bird’s eggs and flax, as well as stone for use in tools.

This wide raging and superbly illustrated history tells of the settlements which developed in the bays of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour. Each of the bays is given a chapter which the author details with extensive photographs from both the nineteenth and twentieth century  as well as details about the people, the history, the jetties and the activities  in each of them.

The various settlements include the larger areas of Lyttelton itself, Governors Bay, and Diamond Harbour as well as the smaller places such Purau and the military establishment and lighthouse at Godley Head / Taylors Mistake.

Many of the chapters deal with the history and myth of local Māori as well as the impact of the European settlements which gives a background to the unique development of each area of the harbour.

Robertson provides interesting historical facts and events which enliven the history making the book immensely readable and rewarding.’

Read the full review here.