Phyllis Johnston Special Event

The books:


No One Went to Town is the true story of May Tarrant and her pioneering family, as they make their life in the rugged hill country of Taranaki.

Mrs Johnston grew up listening to the stories of her mother and uncles and their adventures in the ponga hut in the steep, wild hills of Taranaki. She eventually wrote them down – New Zealand’s own version of Little House on the Prairie.

You can read May’s adventures for yourself in No One Went to Town – and follow her story in the rest of the series. Black Boots and Buttonhooks is the second book in the series of five, also part of our special offer!

Beautifully written and recently re-published, the books are a great ‘read aloud’ for the family, and they are a really special insight into early New Zealand pioneering life.

Purchase your own copy of No One Went to Town and/or Black Boots and Buttonhooks at our special discounted price of $16.50.

THEN come along to one of our special events  where you can ask Mrs Johnson about the stories, and hear her talk about how she came to write them. The other books in the series will also be available to buy on the day at the discounted price.

AHE members’ special book offer: $16.50 per book, plus $5 postage ($8.50 for rural delivery)

Our first order sold out very quickly; we now have a second order available; at the above price this is an excellent deal…
This special offer closed on 30 April 2019.
All orders will be posted on 1 May 2019 (or shortly thereafter).
A maximum of four books can be included per order.


The Talks:

The talks have been very popular and they are booked out. We may be able to organise another event later in the year (on a Wednesday morning). If you wish to go on a priority list for a possible event later in the year, please email Siobhan at


We’re thrilled to be offering two talks with Phyllis Johnston:
Talk #1:   Wednesday 29 May, 10 am at Alberton FULL
Talk #2:   Thursday 30 May, 10 am at Highwic House FULL


Mrs Johnston is an old lady now – in her eighties! But she is an animated speaker and loves talking to children who have read her stories. Find out how she went about writing a book about the adventures of her mother, uncles and grand-parents. This record of pioneering settler life in Aotearoa New Zealand is a real gift for us today, and helps us appreciate the challenges and exploits of life more than 100 years ago.

It’s important your children read the book, or have it read to them, before the event. Please come prepared with some questions to ask Mrs Johnston.

AHE is covering the cost of the event for AHE members only, which includes the talk with Phyllis Johnston, and a free visit the historical house and grounds and bring a picnic lunch to have in the grounds afterward.