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2 AUCKLAND CITY HARBOUR NEWS, MARCH 27, 2013
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Colin Crump is a man who's not afraid
of taking chances and neither are the
characters in his new book.
Following on from his success on the New Zealand
Best Sellers List with In Endless Fear which
documented his harrowing childhood with his
brother Barry, Mr Crump has released his second
book The Thirsty Rooster.
Mr Crump who's travelled around the Pacific
50 times says for a while he considered writing
under a different name to avoid being solely
associated with his famous brother's legacy.
"I'd like my writing to stand alone. But I was
warned against writing under a pseudonym
because people would find out who I was anyway."
It's the first time the Massey resident has
published a work of fiction and he says he enjoyed
the dramatic license.
"It's much easier than writing non-fiction
because you don't have to tell the truth."
But Mr Crump says the novel isn't completely
devoid from reality and he describes the book
as "faction" with inspiration drawn from West
The story follows the misfortune of digger
operator Peter Crowley who is attempting to
win the affection of Liz and build a successful
But these tasks come at a price which has
Mr Crowley digging his way in to debt and finding
himself unable to turn away jobs any law-abiding
man would say no to.
Writing the book wasn't easy with the author
spending much of his time caring for his late wife
Tina who has since passed on.
Because of that he says the majority of the novel
was written in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Crump says he kept track of the complex
storyline by keeping small figurines which
represented the characters involved.
While Mr Crump is happy with the book he says
the real test will be how the public react to it.
"One cannot judge his own work. I hope it will
touch a few people's fancies."
The Thirsty Rooster is available through
your local Book Store
Curious shop a city institution
The Wah Lees emporium
has become a cultural icon
in Auckland during the last
century. Reporter Danielle
Street had a chat over the
counter with Barry Wah Lee
to find out what makes it so
Illuminated: Visitors from across Auckland are attracted to the poetry in the windows
of the Wah Lees emporium written by Barry Wah Lee.
Photo: JASON OXENHAM
History: George Wah Lee, centre, moved
the iconic emporium to Hobson St after
the city's Chinatown got shut down.
Barry Wah Lee has dedicated most of
his life to working in the store that
was opened with the help of his grand-
father more than a century ago.
The Wah Lees emporium on Hobson
St is a rickety red building crammed
with goods ranging through pickled
seas slugs, Chinese medicines, tai chi
fans, lanterns, pottery, seeds and
The iconic emporium began life in
1904 as a co-operative fruit store that
operated in Auckland's Chinatown
which was based in Grey's Ave.
My grandfather could speak Eng-
lish, so they probably roped him in and
got him to look after the place. It
stayed with him and all the kids,'' Mr
Wah Lee says.
The business was eventually handed
down to Mr Wah Lee's father George --
who moved the store up to Hobson St.
We moved up here in 1966 when
they started getting rid of Chinatown
and wanting to build up Aotea
Square,'' Mr Wah Lee recalls.
At that time Mr Wah Lee was a
He remembers watching his father
talking to the Chinese market garden-
ers who would stop in and buy sauces
and grains on their way home.
I loved watching dad chat to people.
He seemed to have no end of things to
talk about,'' he says. I loved hearing
his stories of pig hunting.''
Behind the counter wall and out of
view from public eye are several wild
pigs heads affixed to the wall.
Each one was hunted and killed by
George, whose photograph hangs lov-
ingly beneath them.
He actually never ate the meat but
there was plenty of people who would
come and snap it up.''
The shop had also functioned as a
bank in the early days but the money
had been spent on booze and women by
an uncle, says Mr Wah Lee.
So as youngsters all the hard work
was to pay back all those Chinese who
had their money with us. And when
Dad died in the early 1980s he had
These days the emporium is an
Auckland institution and draws
mostly European shoppers. There isn't
so much time for chatting but Mr Wah
Lee keeps up the social aspect via
The business has amassed more
than 11,500 followers on facebook -- no
small feat for such a tiny store.
It's less than Justin Bieber
though,'' he jokes.
I don't know where the people are
coming from, maybe they don't know
what they are signing up for.''
Many of the followers reminisce over
there times as youngsters visiting the
store, others just seem to enjoy Mr
Wah Lee's philosophical rants.
Despite having studied Asian poli-
tics and economics at university it
seems that Mr Wah Lee's destiny is
entwined with the store.
He still lives above the shop with his
wife and works there everyday.
I've always been part of the shop,''
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