Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

30 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Bank of New Zealand, Rakaia, Canterbury

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.



Rakaia is a little settlement south of Christchurch just off State Highway 1 and close to the Rakaia, a whopper of a shingle river that crosses Canterbury Plains and tries to take bits of the Southern Alps with it into the Pacific Ocean.

If nothing else symbolizes the wealth of Canterbury farmers this four square pile does it nicely. According to that little box on the right hand side of the front door it dates to 1852 but I don't believe it.

In 1987 New Zealand's Bank of New Zealand owned it. I doubt if they do now; besides, it's no longer New Zealand's bank - it belongs to the Australians.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

25 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Quinn's Arcade, Waimate

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.



I couldn't believe my eyes when I discovered this building in Waimate in 1987. Not only was it architecturally unique in my experience but it was astonishing in such a small town. It was built in 1906 by a man who owned a brickworks - surprise, surprise, he must have used it to display his whole catalogue!

Mr Quinn thought it would make a nice covered shopping arcade but it never really worked that way; in the end it became a cinema and other things and, clearly, by 1987 it was freight depôt. It's not just a front, it runs the width of a block from High Street to Grigson Street. Long may it last.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

24 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Geraldine Cinema, South Canterbury

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.


This has got to be the most exciting piece of architecture in Geraldine - a pretty village in South Canterbury. Back in the early days of movies, in the absence of a cinema they used to show films in the local town hall - until a cinema was built. In Geraldine's case they didn't build a custom-made movie theatre - they turned the town hall into one. I was there in 2010 and it was still as it was in 1987 when I did this watercolour.

What is that architectural style? Fireside gothic? Pseudo-Tudor kitsch? I've no idea but I love it, I love it!

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

19 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Holy Name Church, Ashburton

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.




No matter how hard an author tries there is bound to be at least one mistake in any book. This was the only one in 'New Zealand Odyssey'. I captioned the church 'Holy Child, Ashburton'; it should have been 'Holy Name'. 

I know how I made the mistake: my wife went to a Holy Child convent when she was a young girl. That name stuck in my mind and superseded 'Holy Name'. Simple as that. It took a reader in Ashburton to spot the mistake and tell me about it, much to my chagrin. 

What appealed to me about the church was not so much its architecture - no matter how good it is - but that in a small town like Ashburton the local Roman Catholics could have had the cash and energy to build such a solid temple.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

15 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: 1878 Harbour Light, Timaru, South Canterbury

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.


This harbour light was built in 1878 to guide shipping into Timaru Harbour but by the time I painted it in 1987 it had been moved to Benvenue Street, Maori Park where it stood merely as a piece of history. Typical of design that comes from function its form is pleasing and sculptural giving off an air of solid reliability. I particularly liked the red cupola - a legitimate opportunity to use a primary colour without apology!

I think it's been, or is being, moved yet again in 2011.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

10 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Mailbox, Yaldhurst Road, Christchurch

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.



It's just another whacky side of the New Zealand character. We seem to need to outdo each other in various ways: some pretty weird houses (never two the same), a jumble of seaside cottages and mail boxes at the ends of drives - especially farms where the old, unused fridge  or washing machine often comes in handy. 

This adapted milk churn swayed gently in the breeze on Yaldhurst Road, an escape route from Christchurch that heads towards Porters Pass and the romantic transalpine highway to Westland. It was so open that I imagine that if the wind blew from the wrong direction all the paper mail and newspapers would have joined the escape.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

08 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Protest Graffiti, Winslow, Canterbury

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.


This is an example of a political protest made mock of by a cynical rustic. Protest made by earnest do-gooders; rustic riposte by, probably, the local sheep farmers.

In about 1987 when I did this drawing there was a strong movement against the export of live sheep to Muslim countries. So the protesters went round the country painting 'Ban Live Sheep Exports' on barns, sheep sheds and so on. The locals simply changed 'Ban' to 'Baa' and that was the end of that!

This shed was at Winslow, beside the main south road in mid-Canterbury. I couldn't resist it!

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

07 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Ellesmere Brass Band Hall, Leeston, Canterbury



At Leeston, a small farming town on the Canterbury Plain near Lake Ellesmere, this proud, solid, earnest hall stood in 1987 as, to my mind, a good example of local community spirit. I daresay it was built early in the 20th century when people tended to travel less, stay in their discrete neighbourhoods and keep themselves occupied without the passive intrusion of television. 

I guess it was built with funding from local subscription. I hope the brass band still flourishes and that the hall is still used for its original purpose.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

01 September 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: The Old Shipping Office, Akaroa

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.



This was a hasty scribble in my sketch book, I had intended to make a more formal rendering later but never did. Despite its looseness I think it conveys the essence of this old shipping office in Church Street, Akaroa. It was built in 1895.

The fascinating thing about this building is that it's entirely made of wood but that the architect found it necessary to make it look like stone. Why was that? Did it lend some pomposity and bank-like authority? Funny people, the Victorians.

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
.

Paypal

Blog Archive

Hits Counter

Blogdash

Loaded Web

Blog Directory for Albany, New Zealand

BlogThisHere.com

Blog This Here

Blog Flux

Commentary blogs

Comments

  • <$BlogCommentAuthor$> // <$BlogCommentDateTime$>

Blurb

RANDOM SAMPLINGS F...
By Don Donovan

About Me

My photo

Don Donovan: Biography

I was born on 20 January 1933, nine days before Hitler came to power in Germany, I grew up in south London. Although evacuated during the phoney war and the quieter times I lived in and out of air raid shelters during the blitz and experienced both V1 and V2 attacks on London. Left grammar school in 1948 aged 15 substantially undereducated. I wanted to go to art school but because of family ‘poverty’ joined a commercial art studio in the West End. I was, thereafter, variously a messenger boy, commercial artist and typographer. I was in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953 when the only useful thing I did was to take part in King George VI’s funeral parade.

In 1955 I married Patricia O’Donnell, a RADA graduate, at that time playing opposite Derek Nimmo, they were juvenile leads in a touring repertory company. He went on to great success because he had a funny voice.

We came to New Zealand in 1960 where I worked in advertising. At length I became managing director of one of the companies of whose holding company (the largest domestic advertising complex in New Zealand) I was also a proprietor and shareholder. I left the industry in 1990 when my company was bought out by American interests. My timing was brilliant, at that point my first book had been published and the next was on its way.

We have two daughters and four grand-children.

Now, apart from writing, I function as a self-educated grumpy old man.

Books & Writings

‘New Zealand Odyssey’, with Euan Sarginson, Heinemann-Reed, 1989.

‘One Man’s Heart Attack’, New House, 1990. (A special edition of this book was purchased by CIBA-Geigy for distribution to NZ doctors).

‘Open 7 Days’, Random Century, October 1991.

‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ by Saint Publishing in 1995 followed by:
‘New Zealand House & Cottage’ in 1997. (Saint Publishing have also published calendars for the years 1994 to 2004 using my watercolour illustrations).

‘The Wastings’, my first novel was published in July 1999 by Hazard Press. Although an international subject it had very limited distribution, only in New Zealand, and the rights have reverted to me. (Colin Dexter read 'The Wastings' and wrote to me: 'I enjoyed and admired "The Wastings"... a beautifully written work... a splendid debut in crime fiction... More please!'.)

Also the texts of photographic books:
‘Auckland’
‘Colourful New Zealand’
‘New Zealand in Colour’
‘Top of the South’
‘Aoraki-Mt.Cook’
‘Above Auckland’
‘Hauraki Gulf Destinations’
‘Otago’
‘Bay of Plenty’
and a compilation of photographs and quotations titled ‘Anzac Memories’ 2004 all published by New Holland.

My written and illustrated book, ‘Country Churches of New Zealand’ was published in October 2002 by New Holland, who also published ‘Rural New Zealand’ 2004 (photographs and text), and a series of four humorous books of photographs and quotations in 2004 and 2005 titled ‘Woolly Wisdom’, ‘Chewing the Cud’, ‘Fowl Play’, and ‘Pig Tales’. My most recent book was published in August 2006 by New Holland, titled ‘Political Animals’.

Over the years I have written for NZ Herald, Heritage Magazine, Next Magazine and various local and overseas travel and general interest media.

[ENDS]