Harbour Bridge by Philippa Werry

Hi everyone, I hope you’re enjoying these New Zealand reads so far. This next post is a historical read based around the construction period one of New Zealand’s iconic structures; the Auckland Harbour Bridge, written by one of New Zealand’s most inspirational children’s authors.

Harbour Bridge two sections of bridge being built island in background
An enjoyable historical read!

Title: Harbour Bridge Auckland, 1958-59

Author: Philippa Werry

Genre: Fiction – historical

Publication details: Scholastic; Auckland, 2014

ISBN: 9781775431664

What this book is about: Auckland in the 1950’s: a time of rock’n’roll, milk bars, bodgies and widgies and teenage rebellion. The Auckland Harbour Bridge is under construction. Simon likes watching the bridge being built, and talking to his uncle and his mates about what’s happening on site. But everyone says that life on the North Shore will change once the bridge is finished. Meanwhile, Simon’s best friend Marty is obsessed with the Space Race and younger sister Jo can’t stop worrying about the fate of the dogs and monkeys that are the world’s first space travellers. The 1950’s: a time of change for everyone. My New Zealand Story is a series of vividly imagined accounts of life in the past… making history become alive.

My review: Told in diary format, this book by Philippa Werry captures the day to day life of a young boy living in Northcote as he witnesses history being made in the construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Filled with facts and some diagrams, this book brings the pivotal point of Auckland’s history to life. I learned quite a bit about not just the bridge-building process, but also of the local social scene in Auckland at the time, the fascination of the Space Race to kids living in New Zealand, and the impact the  construction had on the rest of the city!! This was a fascinating read for me for many reasons. The main reason being that this iconic structure is visible from most points of my city and the other being the feeling of exhilaration I get each time I drive over to visit friends on the North Shore. After reading this book I found myself seeing scenes play out in my mind’s eye. A really good read to learn of the history of Auckland! The My New Zealand Story series is truly inspirational and helps anyone learn of significant historical events that shaped the New Zealand I live in today.

My rating: 5 ⭐

A personal note: Just wanted to share a personal aside. Philippa Werry is not just an inspirational children’s author, but also someone I know. She was the tutor who guided me on an online children’s book writing course and inspired me to read as much as I could to reach the goal to gaining confidence in my own writing skills. It is to her that I owe any thanks for helping me string these posts together!!

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