Working at a skilled job as a bookbinder in Christchurch is Matenga Karauria, originally from Waiomatatini on the East Coast.
After attending Ngata Memorial College, Ruatoria, for three years six months, Matenga went to Christchurch in August 1959 and stayed at Rehua Hostel. He had been senior librarian at Ngata College and had done very well at art, so took up an apprenticeship in bookbinding, a craft that seemed in line with his talents and interests.
Matenga also enjoyed music, drama, electronics and photography, and was very interested in Maori culture, so he joined the Workers' Education Association Maori Club, where he is a tutor. He was Club President in 1966.
He stayed at Rehua Hostel until 1963, being Head Boy for two years, then tried private board for a while and finally moved into a flat of his own. He is still interested in art, electronics and photography, and is able to follow these interests at his leisure.
Now a fully qualified tradesman, Matenga works as a ‘finisher’, putting the final touches of quality on well bound books. Titles and gold lines across the spine of a book are put on by heating metal letters and pressing them onto gold leaf or foil. The art is in having the tools the right heat, and in spacing the lettering so that it is nicely centred and just fills up the width of the spine. This is Matenga's job.
Our picture shows him applying letters to a book held firmly in a vice. Beyond him is a pile of finished books.
Two other boys from the East Coast have followed Matenga into the bookbinding trade, with the same firm, F. Cartwright and Son. They are Pehi Raroa, who returned to the North Island after completing his apprenticeship, and Haua Karini, who is still an apprentice there.