You need to update your web browser and have Javascript enabled to use this service.
Please contact if you continue to have issues.

Latest events

The Surrogate Southpaw

by Keith Smith

Self-published and available from the author: 1 Foster Terrace, Napier. Price: $25

Reviewed by Roger Moroney.

Keith Smith has few regrets in life - despite not having the use of his right arm for the last 55 years.

But he did regret the war ending in 1945. "Because I never got the chance to have a go at a Messershmitt!"

Keith, or Smithy to his mates...and 'Elvis' to the widows he insists pursue him for a spin around the dance floor at the Taradale RSA on a Friday evening... is a character.

One of those (dare I use the term) 'dinkum' Kiwi blokes who never let adversity get in the way of a good time, or getting something done. Like building a fence...or a double garage...or a boat...or re-sitting your pilot's licence - all with just one arm.

His exploits over the years, including his stint in the RNZAF, firstly as a mechanic then as a pilot, are entertainingly laid out in this wonderful slice of a Kiwi battler's life.

Keith plays it straight and writes crisply and casually - as if conversing with the reader over a couple of beers.

And the tales of a rich and adventurous life (particularly in his younger years of hunting, forestry and aviation) are the perfect read while enjoying a quiet beer.

The Ohakea years are a wonderful read, and his recall of events and attention to service detail will strike a chord with anyone who went through there...and anywhere in the military for that matter.

The anecdotes are spread liberally favourites being his building a boat in the living room without his wife knowing...and the days and nights in heartland New Zealand forests as a young tree-feller.

But the most absorbing chapter is that of the motorcycle crash which cost his arm in 1947 and the hospitalisation afterwards. Even here he finds humour...his description of a couple of 'large' nurses is priceless.

Great yarns about a solid, never-say-die life...which 76-year-old Keith insists is a long way from done yet.



Thanks for signing up. You're on our list to get our email updates.

Looks like the possums found a new hiding spot. We’ve dispatched our animal control guys to get them.