At home in her Waverley cottage surrounded by gardens tranquil and pretty is well known author Laraine Sole who writes the history of small towns.
Which is a passion and most absorbing hobby, she said.

"Or maybe it's because I'm naturally very curious and love digging and finding out information. For me it's a never-ending excitement".

Her last book, The Early Hotels of Old Patea, was very popular and was published with the assistance of the Patea Historical Society, which funded the printing.

The book is a treasure trove of stories about the 10 hotels in Patea.


"I find it amazing that we had 10 hotels in little Patea."

Laraine said the popularity of her books on local history never fails to amaze her.

"I'm touched that so many people share my passion for history. But really I think this was typical of Patea. When something happens there people get behind it."

Her new book is on track and to be finished by early February is a history of Upokongaro.

The once thriving and interesting little town is 15 km north of Whanganui on the river.

"I've found Upokongaro very fascinating. They had a great drama troupe who performed in The Memorial Hall regularly, a golf course and even a courthouse.''

Upokongaro was always the go-to place from Wanganui, she said.

"The boats did regular trips up there and coaches constantly drove up there with groups. It was very popular."

As her book on Upokongaro nears completion Laraine said she already has a few other books in the pipeline too.

One of her earlier books, The Early Hotels of Old Wanganui, was, according to local historians, well-written and easy to read and collectors of Wanganui history have added it to their library.

Laraine said that it was a fascinating book to research and write.

She unearthed a book's worth of treasures, she said.

"It's got all those 'fancy that' moments in it."

Laraine is also very keen to write and research a history of Gonville and Castlecliff.

"I enjoy researching the history of Maori and women in rural areas and there's plenty of history in those areas around here."