On the night of my brother’s wedding in 1981, I’ve made the trip north with Barry, a great day had by all. That night, Barry in his campervan, me in my station wagon, we camped in a quarry.
Barry told stories, I listened, the great storyteller had me in his spell. I’m sitting there in shorts and t-shirt getting cold, and I didn’t want to walk to my car a few feet away in case it broke the spell of the story. I’m also getting hungry, all we had was pumpkin, I hated pumpkin but I ate it and enjoyed it.
We were camped in that quarry on Puha Road. A week later back in our routine of life, Barry handed me the first chapter of his new book ‘Puha Road’, he asked me to check for spelling mistakes. This I did until the book was finished just two or three weeks later.
I loved it.
A wonderful story about an unfortunate person called, Muxy and his mate Gavin. A awful as Muxy’s luck was, it turns good. I will tell you no more except that this is my recommendation to you.
I promise you will enjoy.
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In 1959 he began writing humorous sketches of life as a government deer-culler and pig hunter, publishing these as a Good Keen Man in 1960.By 1992 his New Zealand book sales were estimated at more than a million copies.
As well as a best selling author, Crump has been an actor, TV personality,Poet,radio commentator, man of leisure,traveller,goldminer,photographer and more.A successful 12 year association with Toyota brought a series of award winning advertisements that catapulted Crump into living rooms around country with his laconic blokey style.
Crump wrote 24 books in his lifetime, was married 5 times and had 6 children, all sons.
In the 1990's Crump was awarded an MBE and OBE for services to literature, something he was quietly proud of and reckoned they'd be hardcase pinned to his swandri.
He was listed in the who's who as having no fixed abode, and regarded himself as a world citizen.
He insisted, that he always will be, a Kiwi bushman.
Barry was always a bit keen on writing poetry. During a return to his beloved West Coast of the South Island, while out walking a track one day near ‘Punakaiki’, he discovered a tiny pair of children’s shoes stuck in the mud. In Barry’s imagination, they became lost footwear of the fabulous ‘Pungapeople’. Westlands answer to the magical leprechauns of Ireland.
He later put punga logs, carved with little faces on his front lawn in Havelock North and named two of his boats, ‘Punga One’ and ‘Punga Two’. Barry has combined in his Pungapeople series the inspiration from Maori myths of the Patupaiarehe, the mysterious fairy folk or ‘children of the mist’ who lived on hilltops and other remote places in the forest & bush.
Barry wrote ‘Mrs Windyflax and the Pungapeople’, the illustrator the wonderful late Murray Ball. This proved to be a very successful book, so much so that the publisher asked Barry to write five more so there would be six in the Pungapeople series.
Before Barry’s death in 1996, four were completed and published. Mrs Windyflax and the Pungapeople, Harry Hobnail and the Pungapeople, The Pungapeople of Ninety Mile Beach, and Mr Tanglewood and the Pungapeople. The last two were unfined and not published.
Professor Pingwit and the Pungapeople was completed by Martin Crump and published in 2009. He wrote a song that goes with the book which his daughters, Georgia and Olivia are singing on. This makes Barry, Martin, Georgia, Olivia, three generations of Crump involved in the series is Chief Awateri and the Pungapeople, another great yarn, has just been completed and all hope is to have it published in 2018.
This would complete the series of six Pungapeople books, giving before unread works of Barry’s to the children of New Zealand.
I’m sure he would approve.
There are five of Barry’s books you can now download.
A Good Keen Man
Gold and Greenstone
Wild Pork and Watercress
All available on Amazon.com.