Annabelle Archibald from Tahunanui scours through the endless piles of books at the Founders Book Fair on Saturday. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Book fair unearths hidden gems


Nelson Weekly reporter Kate Russell joined thousands of other Nelsonians at the Founders Book Fair on the weekend and, like many others, was delighted with what she found.

I went to the Founders Book Fair over the weekend for work. I was there to write an article for this newspaper, but thought I’d take the opportunity – like I do every year – to have a good hunt myself. You see, I’ve been looking for a copy of a book that a close relative wrote, for a while now, and it’s been tougher to find than I initially thought.

The New Zealand Sea Anglers’ Guide was co-written by my late great-uncle John Moreland (aka, uncle Jock), and was just one of the many publications he released over his time working as the curator of fishes at the Dominion Museum in Wellington.

I’m definitely no sea angler – in fact, I don’t even eat fish. So, why do I want a book written for the purpose of helping people to catch fish?

Well, I want it for sentimental reasons. I want to hand it down to others and preserve my family history. And, he was just a great character who I had a lot of respect for.

To my delight, I found not one, but four, copies of The New Zealand Sea Anglers’ Guide on Sunday, priced at just $1 each.

You wouldn’t normally find me sifting through the crates in the ‘hunting and fishing’ section, but this year, it was my first stop – and to top it off, I unearthed another of uncle Jock’s books – Marine Fishes of New Zealand, thanks to some extra help from book fair coordinator Karen Clark.

Karen says that helping people find ‘hidden gems,’ such as my great-uncle’s book, is what the book fair is all about.

It seems more and more Nelsonians are drawn to the magic of the book fair each year, with Saturday’s gate sales up fifty per cent on last year’s opening day – 5000 more people than last year.

Since moving to Nelson six years ago, I have been a regular attendee and have certainly found plenty of ‘gems’ over those years.

I’ve found many books that have become permanent fixtures in my book shelf, and recipe books that have produced many a delicious meal. I’ve picked up string-tied bundles of my favourite magazines, and I’ve even found a few mint condition Led Zeppelin records to add to my vinyl collection.

These books have a history, with their own story to tell – whether it be dog-eared pages, recipe notes, or ‘Happy 4th Birthday Felix’ written in the inside cover of a children’s book.

And these books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, games and puzzles, which have been gathering dust in garages and attics all over Nelson, are given a whole new lease of life, thanks to the book fair volunteers and the generous people who donate items – it couldn’t happen without them.

The Founders Book Fair is open each day this week and closes on Sunday, June 12.