Living Between Land and Sea reviewed on Kete


Bob Frame reviews Living Between Land and Sea: The bays of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour by Jane Robertson:

‘This sumptuous social and environmental history of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour takes the reader around the harbour that separates Ōtautahi Christchurch from Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula. 

Local historian and educator Jane Robertson was intrigued by the numerous jetties around the harbour. They are in the tidal zone, the takutai moana, that is both land and sea, and this is where her interest lies, “particularly those [jetties] in varying states of decay… both beautiful and poignant.” 

The book’s clockwise journey around the harbour starts at the signal station at Te Piaka Adderley Head and ends at the lighthouse at Awaroa Godley Head, stopping at 17 bays and islands along the way. At each, jetties were essential to the harbour’s Māori communities and early European settlers. Social histories covered in the book include stories from Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke as well as other tales of dramatic rescues, farming and trade history, wartime experiences, life in quarantine stations, plus tourism and recreational use of Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour. Today, the jetties are part of the harbour’s built heritage, with many still serviced by ferries, launches and other maritime craft, and a very active sailing community – not least the SailGP regattas, which introduce the harbour to a global television and online audience of more than 100 million.

Robertson’s lavishly illustrated history — there are more than 150 contemporary and historical photos — is full of keenly observed insights into the challenges of living in small, relatively remote communities. This is supported by extensive notes, a rich bibliography and a glossary of te reo Māori and place names.’

Read the full review here.