One was a surgeon in a past life, another was a journalist, a third an anaesthetist.
A fourth walks past and I'm told she was a star singer.
People from all walks of life, and they congregate for three hours, three times a week for a handful of weeks at the Seeka Coolstore on Totara St in Mount Maunganui.
And they spend that time sorting books.
More books than meet the eye – these sorters are taking up at least three massive coolstore halls with tables of books, each in it's perfect place. They do this for the annual Tauranga Rotary Club Easter book sale – now in its 30th year.
“The volunteers make it happen,” says one coordinator Arthur Atkins. “They love doing it, some even say it's addictive. They get a sense of achievement and a big family out of it. They all love books.”
Non-fiction is sorted according to category, and fiction is ordered alphabetically by the author's name. The organisation is absolutely meticulous, and it's no surprise – some of these sorters have been doing this for years. They've worked the kinks out of the system and now make up a well-oiled machine.
Rotarian and ex-surgeon Paul Mountford, 91, helps price the fiction books. London builder Bryan Luker helps organise, and ex-journalist Glenn Petit seeks out the rare, collectable, and valuable books and puts them aside for tender or different pricing.
Glenn has been helping sort the books and hunt out the gems for 12 years, and says he's always got his eye open for a good New Zealand non-fiction, a book on military politics, transport or “the unexpected”.
If you want to rifle through the book and take a few treasures home, head to the Seeka Coolstore on Totara St, Mount Maunganui. The book sale is open 9am-4.30pm on April 15-17, with parking on Kereiti St by VTNZ – there is no parking available off Totara St. Volunteers will be directing traffic to the parking and people to the Coolstore entrance.
EFTPOS is available but no credit cards or cheques will be accepted.