About the book
Keith’s stepmother ‘Maw’ gives him an ultimatum – at fifteen he either leaves school to work or joins the army. So, Keith departs Auckland and reports to the Waiōuru military camp, enlisting as a regular force cadet.
Home Base is a snapshot of Keith Westwater’s boy-soldier life in the New Zealand Army during the 1960s. From a motherless and peripatetic childhood in No One Home, the sequel Home Base is where Keith finally finds a place to call home: underneath Mount Ruapehu’s shadow and amongst his fellow cadets.
From spit-polished ‘brightly black’ boots to doing ‘the marchie marchie’, Home Base is a candid and often humorous look at the lives of Regular Force Cadets. It’s also a memoir of Keith’s adolescence depicted through handwritten diary entries, photographs, maps and poems.
Praise for Keith’s previous book:
“No One Home is a seeking, examining work, as concerned with absence as it is with presence, and the losses in both … elegantly produced, the book has a sober and quiet beauty, ‘moments of glad grace’.” — Takahē