Hibiscus Matters presented History columnist Ruth Olsen with gifts, including flowers, to thank her for her eight-year involvement with the paper.
Ruth Olsen never planned to write about history, but she enjoys writing and this, combined with her fascination for history, soon brought her to the attention of local media.
She began writing two-minute history snippets for a radio station in Taupo and after moving to the Coast and becoming a key supporter of the Silverdale Pioneer Village, she was snapped up by then editor of Hibiscus Matters (and Local Matters owner) Jannette Thompson.
Ruth’s first column was in the newspaper’s second edition, published August 22, 2007. This makes her the paper’s longest-standing columnist by far.
She has written more than 90 History columns for Hibiscus Matters over an eight-year period and says it’s been an interesting process.
“It was easy at the start, because I had a lot of stories in my head to tell, but once those are exhausted you have to do quite a bit of research to find more,” Ruth says.
She admits that occasionally she had to do this right on deadline, but sometimes the stories came thick and fast: “There were times when I was doing one story and I’d find a whole lot of others along the way.”
As a touch typist by trade, Ruth could knock out a column quite rapidly but carpal tunnel syndrome has made computer use difficult in recent times.
She says research for the columns taught her that an area not known for a wealth of history actually had a lot going on.
“It’s been great fun and I’ve enjoyed it. You can’t imagine the feedback I’ve had. Complete strangers have stopped me in the street to say they enjoy the articles.”
Ruth is working on a way to collate all her columns into a book. “So many hours have gone into it and I’d like to make further use of them.”