Won by the Spade

tells the history of how the Royal Engineers returned from World War I and built New Zealand.

Joe Hollander project-managed the book over 30 years and it was brought to print by historian Peter Cooke.

Won by the Spade will be launched in the Globe Theatre at midday with a Parliamentary launch on May 8.

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Hollander said the engineers were impressed with the fortified pā of the Māori.

"They used this knowledge to build trenches during the war."

On their return the engineers went back to civvie street and used their expertise in offices, building bridges and infrastructure throughout the country.

When World War II broke out those same engineers went off to fight, and those who returned continued to build the country.