Kaye Dragicevich ~ Historian ~ Author
I was born in Howick in 1954. My father Andy Bennie worked at Musick Point monitoring aircraft movements all over New Zealand, the Pacific and to McMurdo Sound. Our family moved to Mt Maunganui in 1960 where we lived at the aerodrome and my brothers and I attended Omanu School. Mums family were farmers in Kaitaia and the plan was to eventually return to the Far North. This was achieved in 1966 when Dad was promoted to the position of Kaitaia's Aerodrome Superintendent. Mum and Dad built a home at California Hill on my grandfathers 'run-off'. It was here that my brother Andrew and I were able to have our own horses for the first time in our lives. All our free time was spent riding and how we enjoyed exploring the district. Andrew went on to ride at top level, competing in the Los Angeles and Seoul Olympic's. He has lived in the UK for the last 36 years where he judges and trains riders all over the world.
I married my teenage sweetheart Paul, and we have lived on his family farm almost all our married life. We have two grown up children and five grandchildren. I worked for the National Bank for 20 years, then in 2005 'retired', and drifted in to researching the history of our local area. In 2007 I was asked to write a fortnightly story for the Doubtless Bay Times. This led to over 70 stories being published. Over the years I have built up a large data base of over 30,000 historical photographs and extensive library of Northland history books.
My interest in history has become a passion and I have now self published eight books.
2021 Mangonui Rugby Union - The Glory Days 100th Jubilee 1921-2021
2020 "They Shall Grow not Old - WWI Soldiers of the Far North"
2018 The Gumfields - Northern Wairoa to the Far North
2017 Pioneer Dalmatian Settlers of the Far North (2nd reprint)
2015 The Gumfield Collection (SOLD OUT)
2013 A history of AWANUI (SOLD OUT)
2011 AWANUI town of the Big River (out of print)
2009 The Matthews Family of Kaitaia
I am currently working on "Awanui Primary School 150 Years looking back" for the schools reunion on 21 October 2023