Hamilton historian and writer Barry Lafferty has just printed his second book — Hamilton East: Foundation for a Future City.

Barry is almost a bit of history himself. A Hamilton man, he started his working life as a newspaper copywriter and advertising salesman for the Waikato Weekender and established the Riversider newspaper in 1993.

Hamilton East: Foundation for a Future City, is Lafferty's second publication focused on the history of Hamilton.

His first, Frankton, finished its first edition in 2014 and is now onto its third printing, having sold close to 2000 copies — according to the book retailers, one of the most successful local books printed and demonstrating a public appetite for more.

Grey St, Hamilton East 1964. Photo / Supplied
Grey St, Hamilton East 1964. Photo / Supplied

Barry took the hint and launched into work on his next publication and focusing on Hamilton East.

"But I put it into the too-hard basket and buggered off to Perth for a while and took it up again when I returned," he says.

With the experience of Frankton behind him he realised that the coffee table format was successful.

The time and resources involved in writing books costs money and it was at this time that he approached the late Hamilton East identity and former regional councillor Lois Livingston.

"Lois was looking after the Hamilton East Community Trust. She liked the Frankton book and suggested the trust help by applying to the Lotteries Board for Partnership Funding which provided a two-for-one ratio — so for every $1 we put, in Lotteries would put in $2.

"A percentage of the funding went to local Ngāti Wairere representative Wiremu Puke for his help in providing information about pre-European history."

Along with support from sponsors Ebbett Volkswagen and the Lodge Group, funding to support the publication was arranged.

Hamilton East was the first settlement of Hamilton and ultimately the city began with a boat-load of settlers in 1864 following the end of the Waikato Campaign — Barry was able to interview some of the descendants of the original settlers.


The book is well illustrated with photographs back to the mid 1860s, many located with the help of the Hamilton Libraries heritage staff, others were provided by local residents and members of old families.

It is surprising how varied the history of Hamilton East is.

Hamilton East includes the fantastic transition that became today's internationally recognised Hamilton Gardens. Photo / Supplied
Hamilton East includes the fantastic transition that became today's internationally recognised Hamilton Gardens. Photo / Supplied

It has a history in many aspects of early colonial life, local hotels, businesses, blacksmiths, Hamilton's first brewery, and the transition of what was a one-time rifle range, sand pit and rubbish dump into today's internationally recognised Hamilton Gardens.

Hamilton East includes a piece contributed by Grant Collins of Collins Family Footwear — one of the suburb's longest-standing retailers and a report from Lodge on the changing rental market.

Printed by the Print House in Frankton, Lafferty has 1000 copies in the first printing.

• He will have these for sale in the Hamilton East Markets on the first and third Sundays of the month with the first being October 6 and then October 20.