Title: Seven Lives on Salt River
Author: Dick Scott
Specs: 250 x 182 mm portrait, PB facsimile edition, 160 pp, b&w
Published: 11 October 2021
WINNER: 1988 New Zealand Book Award, non-fiction
‘There are marvellous insights into people … it is an extraordinary book.’
— David Lange
First published in 1987 and here in its third edition, Seven Lives on Salt River is a local history that has transcended its boundaries along the northern Kaipara Harbour around Pahi to be a universal story of how European arrivals adapted to life among Māori in a new land.
Dick Scott was renowned for bringing the suppressed history of Parihaka to light in Ask That Mountain, and like that earlier work, Seven Lives has become a classic of popular storytelling. The seven families he portrays here were both ordinary and outstanding, including Gordon Coates, the first New Zealand-born prime minister, the Blackwells, responsible for a standard botanical guide to the country, and Henry Scotland, a father of the peace movement and champion of Māori land rights.
Beyond their legacies, it is the detail of how these families fitted in and the spectacular illustrations that gives this book its enduring fascination.
Printed locally in a facsimile edition.