Home' The Wellingtonian : December 8th 2011 Contents 8 THE WELLINGTONIAN, DECEMBER 8, 2011
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A fresh look
Hot off the press: Kevin Boon with his latest book.
Photo: JOSEPH ROMANOS
By JOSEPH ROMANOS
Prolific Khandallah author Kevin
Boon has added to the considerable
volume of work about Katherine
Manfield by writing Kezia.
The book, focusing on the early
years of arguably New Zealand s
most celebrated author, was
launched at a garden party at
Katherine Mansfield House on
Boon has written more than 100
books, ranging from sport to New
Zealand history. His books are aimed
at schoolchildren aged from 10 to 15
but contain enough content to satisfy
the curiosity of most adults.
I don t write down to children, he
Kezia, (which was what the young
Mansfield was called) is part novel,
part Mansfield writings.
It is set on the ship taking the
14-year-old Mansfield to England to
attending finishing school in 1903.
Boon writes surprisingly convinc-
ingly as a young Mansfield and,
when he inserts Mansfield s own
work (Little Girl, Prelude, At the
Bay, The Doll's House, The Voyage,
The Garden Party), the text flows
The book gives a full picture of
Mansfield growing up in Thorndon,
of the move to Karori, of her time at
Wellington Girls College and of her
relationships with family members
and the city.
Mansfield is portrayed as a rather
solitary young girl with a vivid
imagination. She had a sometimes
strained relationship with her
parents, but was especially close to
The book, hovering between fact
and fiction, could be an awkward mix
but Boon has tried to keep the story
as near to reality as possible.
Boon was principal of Cardinal
McKeefry and Bellevue schools for
more than 20 years and dabbled in
writing at that time.
However, since his retirement his
output has been remarkable.
There seems no subject too broad
for him. He divided the history of
New Zealand into several parts and
has done the same with New Zea-
He has written biographies of 30
famous New Zealanders, such as
Apirana Ngata, Yvette Williams,
Margaret Mahy, Richard Hadlee,
Kiri Te Kanawa, James K Baxter
and George Nepia.
Boon has written about special
New Zealand days -- Labour Day,
Queen s Birthday, Anzac Day -- and
has dealt with topics such as disas-
ters, the gold rushes, whalers and
sealers, and the Treaty of Waitangi.
His books are sold in some shops
and are to be found in many school
He seems to have a special affinity
I read her work and became
interested in her. She is celebrated
in New Zealand, of course, but I feel
New Zealanders don t realise what a
world figure she has become. There
is a Mansfield Society based in Eng-
He said he taught at Karori Nor-
mal School, which Mansfield
attended. When I was there the old
wooden block from her time at the
school was still there.
Boon said that while a lot had
been written about Mansfield, her
childhood had been rather neglected.
Kezia costs $25. For information,
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