Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

14 November 2009

Hôtel des Pècheurs, Banks Peninsula

I wrote and illustrated ‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’. It was published in 1995 and was a snapshot of some New Zealand pubs as they were at the end of the 20th century. I have decided to share some of the entries from the book from time to time on this blog.


As with the streets of Akaroa, the names of both the Hôtel des Pècheurs and its settlement are evidence of how close this area came to being a French colony. Duvauchelle was named after two brothers who, in 1843, had acquired sections at the head of Akaroa Harbour from the colonially minded Nanto-Bordelaise company: they never took up residence.

In 1851 the first inn at Duvauchelle was opened by Francois Le Lievre, a member of one of the original French families brought to Banks Peninsula in 1840. He also ran a ferry service to save travellers who’d tramped across the hills from Lyttelton Harbour the last hard plod to Akaroa.

Ben Shadbolt, an ex-convict from Van Diemen’s Land, bought Anderson’s Accommodation House at the head of the bay in 1861 and named it, appropriately if unoriginally ‘The Travellers Rest’. Ironically a condition of the licence was that Shadbolt was sworn in as local constable; thus the poacher turned gamekeeper! He and his wife, Elizabeth, were at the heart of the community and, with his larger-than-life ebullience, he was famed as a racehorse owner, trainer and breeder, farmer, forest owner, local politician and proprietor of a coach service.

The Travellers Rest burned down in 1876 whereupon Shadbolt erected ‘The Somerset’, a palatial affair named after Elizabeth’s birthplace in England. For six more years The Somerset served the travelling and resident communities with grog, sustenance, accommodation, travel and a post office; but a wowser arsonist maniac, who laid fires in a number of Banks Peninsula hotels, burned it down in 1882: that, coincidentally, was the year of Ben’s death.

The redoubtable Elizabeth rebuilt the pub, which has lasted over a century with few changes apart from odd additions, several changes of name - ‘The Crown’, ‘Duvauchelle Hotel’, ‘The Bricks’ and now ‘Hôtel des Pècheurs’ - exotic and complete with accents Françaises. The biggest change is that the road now passes what was the back of the pub and so, like the Hukerenui Tavern, it’s back to front.

Ah, yes - and they’ve painted it white since I did my illustration. Oh well, as the French say, ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose…’

© DON DONOVAN
donovan@ihug.co.nz
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Blurb

RANDOM SAMPLINGS F...
By Don Donovan

About Me

My photo

Don Donovan: Biography

I was born on 20 January 1933, nine days before Hitler came to power in Germany, I grew up in south London. Although evacuated during the phoney war and the quieter times I lived in and out of air raid shelters during the blitz and experienced both V1 and V2 attacks on London. Left grammar school in 1948 aged 15 substantially undereducated. I wanted to go to art school but because of family ‘poverty’ joined a commercial art studio in the West End. I was, thereafter, variously a messenger boy, commercial artist and typographer. I was in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953 when the only useful thing I did was to take part in King George VI’s funeral parade.

In 1955 I married Patricia O’Donnell, a RADA graduate, at that time playing opposite Derek Nimmo, they were juvenile leads in a touring repertory company. He went on to great success because he had a funny voice.

We came to New Zealand in 1960 where I worked in advertising. At length I became managing director of one of the companies of whose holding company (the largest domestic advertising complex in New Zealand) I was also a proprietor and shareholder. I left the industry in 1990 when my company was bought out by American interests. My timing was brilliant, at that point my first book had been published and the next was on its way.

We have two daughters and four grand-children.

Now, apart from writing, I function as a self-educated grumpy old man.

Books & Writings

‘New Zealand Odyssey’, with Euan Sarginson, Heinemann-Reed, 1989.

‘One Man’s Heart Attack’, New House, 1990. (A special edition of this book was purchased by CIBA-Geigy for distribution to NZ doctors).

‘Open 7 Days’, Random Century, October 1991.

‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ by Saint Publishing in 1995 followed by:
‘New Zealand House & Cottage’ in 1997. (Saint Publishing have also published calendars for the years 1994 to 2004 using my watercolour illustrations).

‘The Wastings’, my first novel was published in July 1999 by Hazard Press. Although an international subject it had very limited distribution, only in New Zealand, and the rights have reverted to me. (Colin Dexter read 'The Wastings' and wrote to me: 'I enjoyed and admired "The Wastings"... a beautifully written work... a splendid debut in crime fiction... More please!'.)

Also the texts of photographic books:
‘Auckland’
‘Colourful New Zealand’
‘New Zealand in Colour’
‘Top of the South’
‘Aoraki-Mt.Cook’
‘Above Auckland’
‘Hauraki Gulf Destinations’
‘Otago’
‘Bay of Plenty’
and a compilation of photographs and quotations titled ‘Anzac Memories’ 2004 all published by New Holland.

My written and illustrated book, ‘Country Churches of New Zealand’ was published in October 2002 by New Holland, who also published ‘Rural New Zealand’ 2004 (photographs and text), and a series of four humorous books of photographs and quotations in 2004 and 2005 titled ‘Woolly Wisdom’, ‘Chewing the Cud’, ‘Fowl Play’, and ‘Pig Tales’. My most recent book was published in August 2006 by New Holland, titled ‘Political Animals’.

Over the years I have written for NZ Herald, Heritage Magazine, Next Magazine and various local and overseas travel and general interest media.

[ENDS]