Excelsior: The R & E Tingey Story by Basil Avery

In a book by Basil Avery, the Tingey name has been given historical perspective, and slotted into the story of New Zealand. Excelsior, The R & E Tingey Story, traces the family and its business interests from when twins Richard and Edward arrived in New Zealand in 1863. They were 13 years old and destined to plant the Tingey flag on the peaks of Kiwi commerce. That they started their enterprise in Wanganui should come as no surprise, but how many of us are aware that Tingeys became a nationwide brand and a leader in its field?  Basil Avery has produced an interesting book, aided by enthusiasm and research performed by Robert Tingey. It reads as the human side to history, presenting a  genealogical tale, company saga and fascinating insight into everyday life in early New Zealand times.

The author outlines how politics, local and national, as well as history events shaped the times and directed commercial decisions. A lot of work has gone into this volume and it’s a credit to the author and all who helped bring it about. Excelsior deserves a place on many a bookshelf – as a story to be relished like a novel, or a history of New Zealand and its component parts, Wanganui included. I can see it being used for research purposes far beyond the intention of its commissioners. Beyond the obvious uses of the book, it also covers the development of paint, itself an interesting story.

But Excelsior is like that; little gems are uncovered on almost every page, making it interesting to a wide and varied audience. Intended or not, the history of the Tingey family and the business covers the broad scope, often just to use up some of the vast amounts of research material. Believe me, that is not a flaw, widening instead the book’s demographic substantially.

 Reviewed by Paul Brooks for Wanganui Midweek

Moturoa, Worlds Within an Island

Mr Basil Avery of OTM Publishing has written and published one book that I was closely involved in about Moturoa Island and another life story of a friend and colleague into which I had some small input. We were thrilled at the finished book on Moturoa both in terms of the written content and also the way in which the photographs were arranged and presented .Basil was always very meticulous in gathering facts and information ensuring both accuracy and balance and has a refreshing writing style which makes for interesting reading. He is extremely conscientious and knowledgeable about all aspects of publishing a book and I would highly recommend his services.


 C.S. Lyon

The World From Behind A Wheelchair

Basil has published my book, The World From Behind A Wheelchair, a book aimed at providing help and encouragement for people suddenly thrown into the role of caring for a seriously disabled partner.It was a personal story, based around the experiences both here and overseas, of my wife and I following her stroke. I approached him with a rough draft of the script. He read parts of it, we talked about the possibility of publishing, and he felt the project was worth pursuing.

Basil took the rough draft, re-formatted it, scanned photos and placed them in appropriate places and generally tidied it all up. He made suggestions for alternative wording in some parts. Some of these I agreed with and made changes, others I insisted my original wording remain. At all times leading up to printing, Basil appreciated my purpose in writing the book, and allowed the conversational style I had adopted to emerge.

As a first time author, at no time did I feel threatened nor inadequate. Basil was at all times considerate and encouraging and after publication, appeared as delighted with the end result as I was. He made the whole experience such a pleasurable one for me. Considering the time, effort and expertise he invested in the publication of my book, the fee he asked was more than reasonable. At no time during the process did Basil miss deadlines he had committed to nor fail to carry out what he had promised.

I have no hesitation in providing reference to the professionalism, expertise and integrity of Basil as a publisher. Should I write another book, Basil Avery would be the first I would approach for publication.


 Alan Whimp

Fidelity, My Life Ambition

Basil Avery produced our book Fidelity, my Life ambition. It was on the life of Gordon and Shirley Watson and how they started Fidelity Life and grew it to the company it is. Basil did a fantastic job in getting around the country and interviewing all the people involved. He then produced a great book that captured the full personality of Gordon. It was a very easy read and everyone I spoke to said that once they picked the book up they couldn’t put it down again. Thanks Basil for a great effort. We will look to add further chapters on as Fidelity Life continues to grow.


 Milton Jennings, Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited

Bob Burley and Maurice Jenkins

Basil Avery was recommended to us as someone who could write up my father’s life story.  There was a little resistance from my father to the idea but once he met Basil and they started their interviews, he blossomed and become quite interested in the project and started reminiscing about all sorts of events we hadn’t heard about before. My father has since passed on but we now have a written and oral history of his life for ourselves and the many grandchildren.

We then got Basil to do my father-in-law’s life story and both men enjoyed themselves in that process.  We not only have a written and oral history from both fathers, but we have made a new friend in Basil Avery.


 Robert Burley

Legacies to a Young Land

In 2003 Basil was commissioned to author a significant family history by our mother, Ethel, then aged 87. The commission took two years and resulted in a magnificent 218 page, illustrated book – Legacies to a Young Land – which continues to delight family members and friends.

Basil was always professional in his dealings with us over the commission, he was fastidious in his approach to research and his writing style produced a lively and entertaining account of our family’s histories which was of much wider appeal than just their descendants. Of greater value to us was the enjoyment this project brought our mother in the twilight of her life, and the deep and trusting friendship that grew with the book.

My sisters and I commend to people contemplating such an undertaking, not only Basil’s professionalism but we also warmly acknowledge the empathy with which he executes the job.  We remain delighted.


 Rob Fenwick CNZM