A Waikino author has paid tribute to seamanship in a new book, A Lighthouse Keeper's Cookbook.

Paul Trevethick's first publication tells a piece of New Zealand history and culture through the eyes of a lighthouse keeper.

The author shares his own life stories of the lighthouses, their unique characteristics and the cuisine they inspired.

Paul travelled the country as the keeper of many lighthouses over seven years, starting with The Brothers on a rocky island in Cook Strait.


"I like The Brothers. There was good free food, television, a telephone, blue cod galore, storms and clear, calm days," he wrote.

His book is a tribute to seamanship, navigation and the lost skill of lighthouse keeping.
Keepers were all-rounders, responsible for safety at sea, producing weather reports, taking care of general duties at the station and cooking for themselves as they lived in isolated conditions.

"Local food was a big thing, with each lighthouse having its own specialities," he said. "From oysters, blue cod, butterfish local food was a big part of my career."

Paul later trained as a chef, and his book includes unique recipes he created while living in isolated corners of the country.

They include the flavours of the sea, including butterfish poached in vodka, crayfish omelette or 'Drunk Sheep with coconut beans'.

The book is clear and informative, with Paul's own collection of photographs. It took 20 years to finish A Lighthouse Keeper's Cookbook, with help from the Hauraki District Creative Communities Scheme