Author(s): Di Buchan
Toothbrush drill, sunbathing, treks through forest to the beach, marmite on toast, cod liver oil and Lane's emulsion ... here are 47 rich and often entertaining reminiscences from residents and staff at the Otaki Children's Health Camp. Sun, Sea & Sustenance is a salute to the outstanding individuals who have contributed to New Zealand's first permanent health camp, just north of Wellington, by the seaside at Otaki. This book gives us a diverse insight into camp life - from times of malnutrition and the TB epidemic, through the war, and to the reappearance of child poverty and the camp's increasing focus on psychological wellbeing with a whole-of-family approach. We also get snippets of Otaki's history and hear about the involvement of local residents: market gardeners, farmers, retailers and community groups. The one constantly uplifting element throughout the recollections, though, is the environment. The sea and the river, the sand hills and pine plantation, and that unforgettable building that became an icon of the health camp movement: the rotunda.
Di Buchan spent her working life as a social and environmental impact assessor and researcher on projects and programmes throughout New Zealand and the Pacific. She has recently retired and, in addition to being a board member of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, and of the DB Environmental Trust which she established, she is the primary caretaker of a two-acre garden and a family of chooks just down the road from the Stand Children's Village at Otaki Beach.