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Museum Treasures Tell Their Stories

The long-awaited launch of Flashback: Tales and Treasures of Taranaki has arrived.Flashback_Cover_for_web.jpg

Three years in the making and based on the objects, images and taonga in Puke Ariki's heritage collection, the book captures stories spanning several hundred years and paints a fascinating picture of some of the personalities and events that have made their mark on Taranaki.

'We were looking at different ways to share the collection widely with people; to make it more accessible,' says author Andrew Moffat, the Social History Curator at Puke Ariki. 'So this is not so much a book about a museum collection, but more an historical visitors guide to some of the stories and people of Taranaki.'

Stories and images abound, from the mystery of the Māori wooden tools which defy explanation to the development of the original Swanndri in 1913 by William Broome and the establishment of power in Stratford in 1899, New Zealand's third town to 'power up'. Find out about the discovery and recovery of the abandoned, unfinished totara Pūtikituna waka, which travelled hundreds of kilometres but was never in the water. See the first New Zealand made motorbike helmets - safety tested in ovens, pounded by lead weights and designed by an off-beat model maker. Discover the story of a quiet carpenter who became a gun-toting highwayman before being unmasked during a botched hold-up.

Moffat says most people living in Taranaki will find a connection to at least one story in Flashback. 'One of the things I love about my job is bringing our work to life for the public, to see them make a connection with their history, and that is what we have tried to do with this book.'

Flashback: Tales and Treasures of Taranaki is published by Huia Publishers with the support of the New Plymouth District Council (Puke Ariki) and the Lysaght-Watt Trust. The invitation-only launch was held on Wednesday 5th September 2012 at Puke Ariki, New Plymouth.  Images from launch.