Friday 1 November 2013 11:19am
The story of New Zealand publisher, writer and long-distance walker, Alfred Hamish Reed
A.H. Reed's enduring contribution to his adopted homeland was as a publisher, writer and benefactor, but he is also fondly remembered by many as a long-distance walker. He was born in England in 1875 and migrated to New Zealand with his family in 1887. With the barest of formal education, he transcended his working roots in the Northland gumfields to found and nurture the publishing firm of A.H. & A.W. Reed.
The firm's first publications were for Sunday Schools, as Reed and his wife Belle were dedicated Christians. But Reed was also a keen businessman, and with his nephew Clif Reed (A.W.) expanded his publishing to include a growing range of books on New Zealand history and culture. He officially retired in 1940 but continued to be involved in the firm's publishing policy and to write prodigiously, with significant contributions to travel writing in books about his long-distance walks, including one between Sydney and Melbourne. He was also a book collector.
This biography offers an engaging portrait of 'Alf', his love of Belle, his ceaseless activity and his many contributions to the wider community. It includes a bibliography of his works and is profusely illustrated.
IAN DOUGHERTY is an historian and journalist based in Dunedin, Reed's home town.
Hardback, 252 pages, ISBN 978 1 877372 12 4, $49.95