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Keith Tonkin
Writer
I was born in Christchurch in 1952 but spent some of my earliest years in Westport where I remember steam trains chugging up and down the wharves behind the hotel my parents owned and have loved trains ever since. I’ve crossed Australia by train, Canada the USA and even the real big one . . . Russia!

My parents were both keen travellers, mum would often stop the car and show me and my siblings something from the past like an old earth wall where Maori had built a pa or a crumbling stone hut where once a Chinese gold miner had lived. Pretty soon I wanted to know all I could about what had happened everywhere in New Zealand and wanted to know what each Maori name meant.

I found my grandfather’s World War One service record not long ago. He fought at Gallipoli. I remember him well but he never said a thing about it!

Now I want to know more and more about New Zealand (and world) history and right now I’m living in a place that’s dripping with it . . ..Black’s Point. Never heard of it? Look it up. Google it! Better still google your place and find out what happened there. You will probably be surprised.

My wife and I have just returned from an amazing adventure overseas while visiting our five children who live in Zambia, England and Canada. All of our kids seem to have a thirst for going places and having adventures although all their skills are different. One has an entrepreneurial spirit, one is a great musician, one is a clever financial manager, one loves history and has an archaeology degree and another is very deeply interested in third world problems and development...it all came from a love of books and learning right from their earliest school days 

I have a favourite saying . . . “If you know the past then you understand the present.” And you know where to read all the information you need, in books
 

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