History helps us understand change. The world around us is in a constant state of change, and understanding this in society plays a pivotal role in being able to interpret the world that we see now.
Up until now the history of HERA has been recorded in typical factual style. But, we believe there is much more to the story of steel than just the facts. After all, history is really created by people.
So, we want to tell the story with greater richness in terms of the people involved in establishing the very successful industry that we have now.
We want to know about the beginnings of the steel industry from a people perspective.
Why and how did people become passionate about steel? What were the obstacles and sacrifices, both professionally and personally? What were the exhilarating times? What were the times that required fortitude?
Things weren’t easy but it certainly has been a rollercoaster of technical, market and political challenges and that is what we want to capture.
We want to record the richness of our history. We want to capture the romance of steel for future generations who won’t be interested in the names of the pioneers unless they understand them as people. We want future generations to understand and relate to the beginnings.
How will we do it?
In collaboration with HERA Foundation we’ve commissioned a writer, Basil Avery, to write a book that will capture the romance of steel. We want to celebrate the significant contributors to what is now a thriving industry.
Basil is an experienced writer who has written many books recording family history, industry history, company history and even the history of an island (Moturoa).
This book will capture the struggles and strokes of genius that have brought our industry to where we are now. It will provide insights on how we got here and hopefully inspire future thinking. We think it will be a fascinating glimpse into the spirit of heavy engineering in New Zealand, through the eyes of its people.
How was this project sparked to life?
The idea for this project arose because one of our founding members, Cyril Baker, visited HERA early last year.
As he had been retired for some time, he had lost contact with HERA and wanted to give us some material he had kept from his early days with The Steel Construction Company Limited. This included some amazing black and white photographs of Auckland buildings and a steel rod that was made in NZ over 100 years ago (which we are yet to analyse).
The black and white photos showed the beautiful steel structures that are now enclosed and no longer visible in some iconic Auckland buildings. This inspired our Steel is Beautiful campaign and #hiddenbeauty campaign on Instagram.
It also inspired us to start recording this history more formally via this book.
Losing contact with Cyril also made us realise that we needed to create an alumni category of membership, which we are currently working on establishing.
Help us bridge the gap between past and present!
We want to make sure we honour our past and inspire our future.
Basil has started his interviews but we’d like to know if anyone has any stories, contacts, or materials that we could make available to him for inclusion in the book. You can do so by contacting myself.
We’d equally love to know if there is anyone that you think we may have lost contact with that may be interested in becoming a HERA alumni. Our Manager Membership Services and Support Brian Low will be happy to collect those details from you – so get in touch today!