Barry Blennerhassett is among a growing number of people who are putting their life story into book form for posterity.
Now 90, Blennerhassett and wife Lorraine have just donated a copy of his life story The Boy from the Kaipara Hills to the Warkworth Library to add to its collection of local voices.
It was pressure from his children 10 years ago that initially saw Blennerhassett take to the keyboard and begin to write about his life.
The hardships include growing up on a farm in the Kaipara Hills after the Great Depression with no electricity or reticulated water for the dairy cows. The book covers how his mother died when he was 10 and his father’s struggles to cope, and Barry meeting and marrying the love of his life, Lorraine – now married for 64 years – and a long career in rural accounting in Wellsford. He also writes about the 32-year second career in dairy farming he had before retiring to Warkworth. Along the way the couple raised a family and travelled.
Some accounts are intensely painful, like the death of a much-loved son at just 10 years of age. Others are surprising and pleasant, such as when Blennerhassett turned up to a Jaycees dinner to find himself the guest of honour with former Prime Minister Sir Walter Nash presenting him with Jaycees highest international award, a Life Membership Senatorship.
The book is dedicated to Lorraine, who was also involved with its creation, including taking photographs for the project.