This Was Then: A memoir, with poems
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Memoir (& poems) of a curious curator
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Ian Rockel's bohemian days in the 1960s Wellington are one of many highlights in this book - dreaming away days in the Parliamentary Library, vivid encounters with literary luminaries, hippies who danced in the bath, and a flatmate so short of clothing that on laundry day she had nothing more, so spent drying time as a model for the drawing club. The young Ian Rockel was on a road punctuated by pitfalls and traumas; it's a tribute to his skills as a memoirist that he recounts his brushes with death, bizarre characters, mental meltdowns and the paranormal with such a wry touch and an entertaining flair.
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Born in 1939, Ian's career spans teacher, museum curator, editor, librarian, historian and poet. As Director of the Rotorua Museum he contributed to oral history in radio, TV and publications such as the chapter `Te Arawa', for Alister Taylor's quintessential Goldie; essays in Rotorua 1880-1990; and as principal editor of Tarawera Eruption Centennial. Ian also wrote Taking the Waters, a history of spas in New Zealand. His experiences are the wellspring for his poetry; following his `fifty poems in fifty years' What Know You, Stars?, this memoir is garnished with another rich and comprehensive selection of his work.