Press Release – Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery Napier
One of the major aspects of the William Colenso Bicentenary celebration is the much awaited launch of Peter Wells’ remarkable new take on Colenso – The Hungry Heart, Journeys with William Colenso, published by Random House New Zealand. Prestigious Napier author releases new William Colenso book, as part of William Colenso Bicentenary celebrations in Hawke’s Bay
One of the major aspects of the William Colenso Bicentenary celebration is the much awaited launch of Peter Wells’ remarkable new take on Colenso – The Hungry Heart, Journeys with William Colenso, published by Random House New Zealand. This book not only escorts the reader through the emotional life and journey of this passionate man, it enlivens the debate about our colonial past and enriches our understanding of the contribution of men comparable to Colenso; a man who was not only one of the fathers of New Zealand, but a central character in 19th Century Hawke’s Bay life.
Peter Wells, MNZM, writer and film-maker was awarded the NZ Book Award for Fiction for his first book of short stories, Dangerous Desires, published by Viking in 1991. His memoir, Long Loop Home, won the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Award in the Biography category. Lucky Bastard, a novel, was published in 2006, while in 2009 Wells won the CLL Award to write The Hungry Heart, Journeys with William Colenso. In 2011 he was awarded the acclaimed Michael King Fellowship.
“William Colenso in his own time was seen as many things – both highly admirable and “a prince of humbugs”. It is timely for us to look back at this amazing polymath and celebrate his insights into the strange contradictions inherent to life in New Zealand. He can still tell us things we need to know.”
Hawke’s Bay celebrates William Colenso this November with a series of events running from 9 to 13 November. The Bicentenary will be launched by Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Chris Finlayson on Wednesday 9 November 2011 with the unveiling of a new portrait of Colenso by artist Gavin Hurley, commissioned by the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust. A study of the portrait appears on the cover of Wells’ book.
The Bicentenary events span an all-bells-and-whistles choral service at Napier’s Anglican Cathedral to welcome Colenso back to the church which evicted him so brutally in 1852 to pilgrimages to the locations Colenso lived and worked. The two-day conference looks at such diverse aspects as Colenso’s botanical, religious, printing, and language achievements, followed by insights into his personal life from descendants.
Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, Director of the Hawke’s Bay Museum and Gallery comments, ‘It is important to celebrate the life of someone who is of not only national but, to a degree, international importance. Colenso was a colourful, highly opinionated character who all New Zealanders should know.’
Five years in the writing, The Hungry Heart, Journeys with William Colenso, is a highly anticipated and controversial book – a must read for anyone with an interest in the story of our country.