Ron Cooke arrived in Taumarunui as a child in 1946 and has spent most of his life in the district.

After being educated at Taumarunui Primary School and Taumarunui High School, he served an engineering apprenticeship with Wakelin Engineering and after 22 years in the trade became an offset printer, freelance sports photographer, photojournalist, publisher and photolab manager.

His first book was Pinetree Country with Ian Pilkinton in 1973 which was followed by many booklets and magazines (including Roll Back the Years) until he was involved with two district history books: Kaitieke (with Wilf Couper) and Otunui (for Patricia & Cliff Harris) which he published in 1985.

These were followed by:

Ron also founded NZ Memories in June 1995. This high quality magazine was based on his popular Roll Back the Years series but instead of being restricted to the central King Country, NZ Memories covered, in rotation, all the regions and districts of New Zealand with a fascinating array of old photographs and written reminiscences.