Showcasing Auckland past and present

16 Jul

A brilliant new book by author, photographer and publisher, Graham Stewart, showcases the city of sails with an emphasis on urban transport past and present.  Many historic photographs contrast with the present such as pedestrian control in the CBD.  One colour page of pedestrians awaiting traffic lights contrasts with a black and white page of pedestrians deftly dodging tramcars on the Queen Street and Customs Street intersection.  The author grew up in Auckland so is able to offer a personal perspective on what has become the “Super city.”  He had access to historic photo collections as well as his own vast photo library.

Dockline trams get a good crack of the whip as do the Viaduct Basin and new Te Wero Bridge leading to the developing Wynyard Quarter.  There’s plenty more modern scenes such as the Queen’s Wharf  “The Cloud” created for last year’s Rugby World Cup.  Building the Harbour Bridge gets an airing along with the buzzing harbour ferries, past and present, with a dramatic shot of the 1905 launching of The Kestrel.  Stewart’s eye is frequently drawn to the scarlet pohutakawa lining parts of an idyllic foreshore.  One gets an impression Aucklanders enjoy the outdoor opportunities in their city.  Many photographs depict a 1950’s Auckland.  The majority post 1940 photographs are the author’s.  Along with the CBD and waterfront, the suburbs, including the North Shore, are featured with their on-going changing appearances.  As with all Grantham House books, this one’s presentation is well above average.  At a RRP of $39.95 (including GST) this is a comprehensive book to adorn most Aucklanders’ bookshelves.  It’s already in the bookcases of a few one-eyed Cantabrians, including my own.

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