Alfred Hamish Reed

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Signboard at the entrance to A.H. Reed Memorial Kauri Park, Whangarei

Sir Alfred Hamish Reed CBE (30 December 1875 – 15 January 1975), generally known as A.H. Reed, was a New Zealand publisher, author and entrepreneur.

Early life and family[edit]

Reed was born at Hayes, Middlesex, England, on 30 December 1875, the son of James William Reed and Elizabeth Reed. He migrated to New Zealand with his parents in 1887. After some experience in Northland as a kauri gum-digger, he moved to Dunedin where, in 1897, he became manager of the Typewriter Co. An early childhood leg problem denied him access to active duty during World War I, and he was retained at an army base as a clerk due to his shorthand skills.


Reed entered the bookselling trade when he founded the firm of A. H. and A. W. Reed, a leading publisher of New Zealand-related non-fiction and reference works, in association with his nephew Alexander Wyclif Reed. In 1932, he branched out as a publisher and in 1935 he became an author.

Walking and climbing[edit]

Reed also undertook walking and mountain-climbing expeditions. He climbed Mount Taranaki/Egmont (aged 80), Mount Ruapehu (aged 83), Ngauruhoe (aged 85), walked from North Cape to Bluff, now known as the Te Araroa Trail (aged 85) and from East Cape to Cape Egmont (aged 86), walked through Marlborough (aged 87) and through Otago, Canterbury, Westland, and the Haast (aged 88).


In 1938 Reed and his wife established the Alfred and Isabel and Marian Reed Trust for the promotion of Christianity, education, literature and philanthropy for the people of New Zealand. The trust has amassed a collection of rare books and manuscripts for the Dunedin Public Libraries, including one of the most comprehensive collections of manuscripts and early printed Bibles in the Southern Hemisphere.


In the 1948 King's Birthday Honours Reed was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services in connexion with publication of historical and other New Zealand works.[1] He was promoted to Commander of the same Order (CBE) in the 1962 New Year Honours, in recognition of his contribution as a writer and publisher of New Zealand historical works.[2] In the 1974 Queen's Birthday Honours Reed was knighted for services to literature and culture.[3]


Reed died at Dunedin on 15 January 1975, and his ashes were buried at Dunedin Northern Cemetery.[4]

Honorific eponym[edit]

The A. H. Reed Memorial Kauri Park Scenic Reserve, near Whangarei, commemorates his association with the district.[5]

Published works[edit]

Memorial plaque dedicated to Alfred Hamish Reed in Dunedin, on the Writers' Walk on the Octagon
  • The Wreck of the Osprey (1937)
  • Two Maoriland Adventurers: Marsden and Selwyn (1939)
  • The Isabel Reed Bible Story Book (1944)
  • The Story of New Zealand (1945, seventh edition 1957)
  • Great Barrier: Isle of Enchantment (1946)
  • Farthest East. Afoot in Maoriland byways. (1946)
  • Farthest North. Afoot in Maoriland Byways. (1946)
  • The Story of Otago; Age of Adventure (1947)
  • Samuel Marsden- Greatheart of Maoriland. (1947)
  • Stepping Stones to the Solomons - The Unofficial History of the 29th Battalion with the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific (2 NZEF IP) (1947)
  • The Gumdigger (1948)
  • The Story of Canterbury - Last Wakefield Settlement.(1949)
  • John Jones of Otago : Whaler, Coloniser, Shipowner, Merchant. (1949) with Alfred Eccles
  • Captain Cook in New Zealand - Extracts from the Journals of Captain James Cook giving a full account in his own words of his adventures and discoveries in New Zealand (1951)
  • Coromandel Holiday (1952)
  • The Story of the Kauri (1953)
  • The Four Corners of New Zealand (1954)
  • First New Zealand Christmases (1955)
  • The Story of Northland (1956)
  • The Story of Early Dunedin (1956)
  • The House of Reed. Fifty Years of New Zealand Publishing 1907-1957. (1957)
  • Walks in Maoriland Byways (1958)
  • The Story of Hawke's Bay (1958)
  • Everybody's Story of New Zealand. (1958)
  • Heroes of Peace and War in Early New Zealand (1959)
  • The Story of Kauri Park (1959)
  • Historic Bay of Islands (1960)
  • From North Cape to Bluff (1961)
  • From East Cape to Cape Egmont On Foot at Eighty-six. 1st Edition 1962.
  • Marlborough Journey (1963)
  • The New Story of The Kauri (1964)
  • The Friendly Road (1964)
  • Nelson Pilgrimage (1965)
  • The Milford Track (1965)
  • Footslogger - Sydney-Melbourne in his 90th Year (1966)
  • A.H.Reed. An Autobiography (1967)
  • The Gumdiggers : The Story of Kauri Gum (1972)
  • Ben and Eleanor Ben Farjeon and Dunedin (1973)
  • The Happy Wanderer. A Kiwi on Foot 1915-1961. (1974)

As editor[edit]

  • More Maoriland Adventures of J. W. Stack - Stack, J. W.

'With Anthony Trollope in New Zealand 1872' - Reed, A. H. (Published in 1969 by Reed Publications Fund of Dunedin Public Library)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 38312". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1948. p. 3398.
  2. ^ "No. 42554". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1962. p. 40.
  3. ^ "No. 46312". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1974. p. 6829.
  4. ^ "Cemeteries search". Dunedin City Council. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  5. ^ Julie Crean (Editor) (24 October 2011). "AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park". Plan My Play. Archived from the original on 12 February 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2012.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

External links[edit]