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Thursday June 16, 2016

Book repair specialist heads to town

Two petrels return to wild Two sub-Antarctic seabirds have been successfully released back to sea after receiving care at Wellington Zoo, with a little help from the Maritime Unit of the Wellington District Police. A kerguelen petrel and a northern giant petrel that were found just days apart near Wellington by members of the community were likely to have been blown in during recent storms. After being reported to the Department of Conservation, the birds were treated at The Nest, Wellington Zoo’s animal hospital and centre for native wildlife veterinary care. They were released into the wild earlier this week.

By Nikki Papatsoumas

“Don’t despair, think repair” – that is the motto a Wellington ‘book surgeon’ likes to live by. Book repair specialist Bill Tito travels up and down the country, repairing old and rare books, documents and maps. Next weekend, Bill will be stationed at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie giving locals an opportunity to get any priceless treasures in need of some TLC a once over. “I’ve been doing this for about 30 years now, I travel around bookshops, in fact quite a lot of bookshops invite me in,” Bill said. “Next weekend I am giving all people of Wellington an opportunity if they have a special and rare book to come in and see me.” Bill travelled to Wellington from a small town in Taranaki in 1963 to take up an apprenticeship working in the parliamentary library as a book binder. He was then seconded to the Government printing office to finish his apprenticeship. From there he got into book repair, a skill he calls a “dying art”. Bill said he mostly fixes books and documents that have been unearthed by families after being forgotten.


Book repair specialist Bill Tito with a 400-year-old bible he restored.

“The books are often worth what they mean to the person. People will have treasures in their cupboard – lots of family heirlooms.” Among some of the treasures Bill has repaired are a Scottish bible from 1885 that was the size of his fingernail and a Dutch bible that weighed more than 12kg. He has even restored a bible which is more than 400-years-old. “If the book is broken bring it

to me, there’s nothing I can’t do, I have been around a long time now and there is nothing I haven’t seen. “If people want to hand it on to their family for another 100 to 200 years that’s when they have to get it really looked after.” Bill will be at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie on Saturday, June 25 from 11.30am to 1pm.  For more information, head to

Start on Lombard Lane D eve l o p e r Co o k St r a i t Properties is starting work on the demolition of the old Manners St Post Office building to make way for a two-level building – with mainly retail space on the

ground floor and office space above. At the same time, the Wellington City Council is about to tender for $1.5 million of work to upgrade Lombard Lane, Denton Park and Bond

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