Show man’s spirit shines through


Graham Hannah: What the mind can see, compiled by Fiona Craig
– Reviewed by Mike Blake

This is an excellent memoir of a man most of us knew as “Mr Home Show” or “King of Home Shows”.

But Graham Hannah’s road to his 25 years (and more) on the “throne” here in Waikato began way back when studying his geography books at school in Harrogate, UK, aged about 12.

It was then he felt the magnetism of New Zealand, that little country way down under and knew that was where he was bound to make his mark.

Hamilton was his target town in which to settle.

This compilation, cleverly diaried as Graham travelled with mates overland from the UK to Australia, then New Zealand, shows the spirit of the man throughout his many ventures which were often arduous and sometimes dangerous. Disaster struck at times, and where most mere mortals would have called home for help, he battled on and worked for the funds to get himself safely to New Zealand with a reasonable
stop in Oz.

In the build-up to beginning the Waikato Home and Garden Show, Graham set up the Hamilton Building Display Centre in Anglesea Street. This was opened with much pomp and ceremony in 1979 and the ribbon snipped by then mayor Ross Jansen.

From Bon Brush salesperson to restaurateur, Graham was always thinking and planning the next venture.

He created world class events and exhibitions, one of which was the Waikato Home & Garden Show.

One of the most visual events to be seen in New Zealand came from Graham’s ever thinking outside the box – the annual International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.

Without doubt, dreams and imagination were the building blocks upon which this businessman in a sarong built his remarkable life.

Graham Hannah – What the mind can see is an exceptional memoir skilfully compiled by writer Fiona Craig and certainly worth a spot on your bookshelf.

What the Mind Can See is available at select independent Waikato booksellers. On line purchases: www.grahamhannah.co.nz

35 years of Home and Garden Show
The launch of Hannah’s book, What the Mind Can See, coincides with the Waikato Home and Garden Show’s 35th birthday in October. With an average attendance of 30,000 visitors, the four-day event at Claudelands Events Centre, from October 3-6, has more than 450 exhibitors targeting both domestic consumers and the building industry.

Hannah died suddenly in 2016 a few months into his retirement. His legacy lives on in the Waikato Home & Garden Show, with his daughter Rebecca Hannah at the helm as exhibition director. Her appointment followed Auckland-based North Port Events’ purchase of the Home Show in 2015.


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