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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 6, Issue 2, 1998

The Treasured Pathway

page 43

The Treasured Pathway

A guide to the Marlborough Nelson Heritage Highway

by Simon Noble

Published by Nikau Press 1997

(price $24.95)

This handsome, well presented book of 128 pages is crammed with data, much of it historical, pertaining to the 'top of the South Island'. While it is written primarily for the road traveller it has a much broader scope than this. The highway begins in Picton and ends at Farewell Spit but one can join it at any point. To assist in this regard the book is divided into six sections, such as Havelock to Nelson, and is helpfully colour coded (the highway is also distinctively signposted). Within each section there are numerous side trips that include both roads and walking tracks.

The text, which has few superfluous words, is greatly enhanced by route maps which are easy to follow and use. The large number of well chosen historical photographs from the Nelson Provincial Museum which are supplemented by magnificent colour shots by the author, Derek Shaw and Andy Dennis add to the appeal of this book. An additional bonus for historians is a summary, by Hilary and John Mitchell, of the long and complex period of Maori occupation of the northern South Island. Details of visitor centres and museums are given for those seeking additional information.

In summary, a very well written and produced book that is a credit to Simon Noble and his publisher Derek Shaw. To get enjoyment from this book one does not even have to set foot (or wheels) on the Heritage Highway for it is both a successful travel guide and an informative account of the historical highlights of the area the highway traverses. Finally, it is a worthy memorial to that outstanding and prolific photographer, the late Geoffrey C Wood, who originally proposed the concept of a Heritage Highway.

Mike Johnston