Karen Stade’s interest in writing is a long one. From youthful beginnings – producing a book of stories in Form I until now with several very diverse books – all with historical themes. She credits her wide-ranging interests to her grandmother – a major influence in her life.
Uncertain of what to take up as she neared the end of her secondary education, she eventually followed the suggestion of her journalism teacher and began her working life at the Nelson Mail.
Her first published work was the 25th anniversary history of Nayland Primary School in 1985. After that she worked as a Nelson based journalist for the Department of Conservation. She has worked at Radio Nelson and at NMIT as a journalism tutor.
Further work for the Nelson Mail followed in the form of supplements in 1992 to mark the 60th Anniversary of WWII – stories centred on the role of women in the war.
Another school anniversary publication, this time Tahunanui Primary School, a history of the Chamber of Commerce in Nelson and a book about Nelson’s first Chinese immigrant, Appo Hocton, who jumped ship in 1842 and became firmly established in Nelson have all demonstrated Karen’s wide ranging interests.
A three volume history of the Farquhar family was an interesting private commission that gave her “wriggle-room” as a writer without the normal restraints of length, and deadlines but with the added responsibility of considering the feelings and viewpoints of those family members still living.
“Meet you at the Church Steps” published last year in conjunction with the Nelson Museum has made good use of historical photographs and ones from the Nelson Mail since it has always been a meeting point for most large civic occasions.
She is currently working on a history of the Italian community in Nelson – famous for their tomato growing in The Wood – an area notable for its glasshouses for many years now replaced by town houses.
(Karen was the guest speaker at our AGM on Thursday 29th May 2014)