Author(s): Hazel Phillips
Sir Bob Harvey's colourful and varied life sums up the classic 'give it a go' Kiwi ethos. A legend of the eighties' advertising world, influential political strategist, former president of the Labour Party, outspoken environmentalist, long-serving mayor of Waitakere City and daring adventurer, Sir Bob has overseen and made New Zealand history. In this revealing biography of the self-proclaimed 'Wild Westie', journalist Hazel Phillips shares the social, political and personal events that have shaped Sir Bob's remarkable life, as well as fascinating behind-the-scenes stories from a man never far from the epicentre of New Zealand government.
This is a rollicking good read, and it begins with the facts of his birth at the Home of Compassion in Ponsonby, although it wasn't until Bob was nearly 50 that he discovered he was adopted, and the result of this is the title of a later chapter 'My world fell apart'. I found it interesting that my adopted sister and Bob used the same words to describe their early family life - 'I always felt that I didn't quite fit in'. Bob's colourful life is typically Kiwi, or perhaps ‘Kiwi Plus’. Very readable, especially if you're lying on the hot sand of the Waitakere beaches! - Jan
Hazel Phillips is an Auckland-based writer and consultant. She spent three and a half years reporting on the advertising industry for the National Business Review, and in 2010 was the host of 'The Ad Show', a chat show-style programme for TVNZ7. After researching New Zealand's advertising history for her previous book Sell!, she realised that ad maverick and former Waitakere City mayor Sir Bob Harvey deserved a book of his own, so she wrote that too. In her spare time Hazel enjoys multi-day tramping, skiing, scuba diving and longboarding, and as a result she now has several pieces of metal in her left knee (and an unhealthy fear of airport alarm systems).