In 1917, a 41 year old man named Alf Reed took his Easter leave off from the Featherston military camp, and hiked for five days, covering 193 kilometres through the central North Island, not easy even today.
When he got back to camp he wrote about it, by hand. For 124 pages. It took months.
The manuscript was in different shades of ink, with illuminated capitals and embellished headings. It contained maps and photographs fitted with text. The pages, 15 x 10 cm, were bound in leather. "In and Around Featherston Military Camp And (Mostly) Elsewhere" was the first book produced by Alfred Hamish Reed, who formed what would become Reed Publishing, still one of the most significant players in the New Zealand publishing market.
Only one copy of this book was ever produced. It was given as a gift to his wife Isabel, and she kept it until she died in 1939.
(Source: Heritage New Zealand, Winter 07, "First Edition" by Jack Leigh)