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Fiordland Underwater ... New Zealand's Hidden Wilderness

The authors must have faced a dilemma in publishing this book on New Zealand's largest national park. For the glorious presentation will doubtless encourage interest in a fragile area already threatened by a burgeoning tourist industry and commercial and recreational fishing.
However their images have a greater purpose beyond enchanting coffee-table browsers and that is to encourage an environmental awareness of Fiordland below the waterline. Paulin, a marine biologist at Te Papa, and Ryan, an environmental consultant, have delved into the murky depths and resurfaced with a comprehensive, beautiful presentation and analysis that will stimulate the diehard ecologist or the couch potato.
Fiordland's watery wonderland is probably best known for its black coral (actually white), but there exists a myriad of marine species, representative both of New Zealand's coast and those unique to this particular dark, silent world. The text is relaxed and informative and never nagging or presumptuous.
Paulin was inspired by his great-grandfather, Robert Paulin, whose book on Fiordland, The Wild West Coast Of New Zealand- A Summer Cruise On The Rosa, was published in 1889. A hundred years on, the great-grandson and his colleague have produced their own piece of inspiration.

Evening Post, 4 September, 1998

In an unusual statement the joint authors of this work appeal to their readers: "We hope this book will inspire greater appreciation of the hidden wilderness, so that it remains undisturbed forever".
The "hidden wilderness" is how they describe the under sea world of Fiordland which is New Zealand's largest national park. The plea expresses something of the commitment which has gone into producing this beautiful, interesting, scientific study.
The result is a dramatic, colour-filled pictorial record which displays some lifeforms unique to the region.
Marine life is the main focus but the authors have not confined themselves and explore the biomass and broader environment. There is special convergence on anything endangered or rare for example kakapo and kea.
Stunning pictures of mountains, the fiords, a few good maps, and excellent computer graphics support the brief text.
The cogent synergy of writer/photographer Paddy Ryan, and marine biologist Chris Paulin has produced a much-needed reference on this specialised ecology.

The Hawke's Bay Herald-Tribune, 31 October, 1998

Wild at Heart

The Coast, as it is affectionately known to one and all, boasts a colorful history. Gold, coal, tourism, its economic fortunes have waxed and waned through the decades but the essence of the Coast and the special grittiness and warmth of the Coasters survives.

Author and photographer Paddy Ryan is an environmental consultant now living in Greymouth. He writes entertainingly, his camera brings some stunning “off the beaten track” scenery to the rest of the country with more than 100 colour photographs complementing the text.

Acknowledging the Coast’s nostalgia Ryan also looks to the changing focus of the 90s and examines conservation, the West Coast Accord, Hokitika’s Wild Foods Festival, Sphagnum Moss.

A calendar of events, suggested reading, an information finder and a map will prove useful to would-be visitors, and there should be many because Wild at Heart is more than a pretty postcard publication. It provokes a certain fascination with an area too often bypassed, especially by those from the North …

The Daily Post 7 September, 1994

The West Coast is special; even people who have never been there know that. The rainfall, the forests, the opening hours in the pubs, and the Coast’s human inhabitants are all legendary.

Covering a distance that’s about as far as from Auckland to Wellington, the Coast is a region of enormous diversity, and Ryan clearly knows it well.

In chapters on the land itself, its history of gold and coal mining, its forests and animals, and above all the people, he paints a vivid picture of a region he clearly loves.

He is capable of some objectivity though, rubbishing Coaster’s claims to be conservationists at heart and asserting that only the climate and the steepness of the land have prevented the Coast from ending up like the rest of New Zealand

This is a book that has clearly been written for the visitor intending a holiday in the area: nowhere does this show more clearly than in the final chapter on recreational opportunities. Numerous places to eat and stay, and tourism operators providing a range of experiences are described.

The photographs throughout are stunning, and do much to augment a work which should encourage many from outside the region to enjoy the West Coast Experience. As long as it doesn’t rain.

Waikato Times 24 September, 1994

Heart of Gold by Ian Dougherty

… Ian Dougherty’s book is a lively, treasure-trove of observations and studies that even has died-in-the-wool Otago expatriates like myself feeling a bit miffed at how much we didn’t know. Published to coincide with Otago’s 150
th anniversary, and lavishly illustrated, it is not a once-over-lightly picture book. The author’s knowledge and keen sentiments bubble out of every cranny …

Bay of Plenty Times, 4 February 1998

You don’t have to be an Otago-ite to relish this visual and textual tribute to the province. Its colourful human history, natural history, economic evolution and unique scenic appeal - from Taiaroa head to Mt Aspiring National Park – are portrayed in sumptuous colour, with an informative text.

North and South, May 1998

Endangered geckos, exquisite orchids, neo-gothic architecture, rolling tussock-covered hills and world renowned athletes make up just a tiny proportion of the astonishing variety of photographs in this new book on Otago, published to coincide with the 150
th celebrations of our province.

Ian Dougherty, a fifth generation Otago historian has written the accompanying text. There is a tremendous amount of fascinating information written in a very easy-to-read entertaining and often amusing style. Sections cover the physical features and climate, the plants and wildlife, and the past. There is a section on the professions – ranging from the university to one-vessel fishing fleets. Pleasures include sport, artists, writers and musicians – past and present – while play includes bungy jumping, curling and tourism ventures. A final section gives insight into the diversity of the people who live in Otago, their history, beliefs, and feelings for their province.

The hoiho, wine, gold, animation, and steam are given special attention in more in-depth articles. All are accompanied by glossy colour photographs.

There is a list of information centres in major Otago towns, a calendar of annual events throughout Otago and a list of suggested further reading.

Heart of Gold is one of series New Zealand Behind the Postcards – a series designed, one assumes, for visitors and locals alike. All will find much to enjoy and inform them in this new, very attractive and quite unique Otago publication.

Dunedin Public Libraries Newletter, March 1998

Untamed Coast, Auckland's Waitakere Ranges and West Coast Beaches

He is a swimmer, surfer, runner, keep fit fanatic, former advertising executive, an environmentalist, the mayor of Waitakere City and a writer to boot. His name is Bob Harvey.

Untamed Coast. Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges and West Coast Beaches .. is the story of mountains, sea, beaches, rivers, streams, secret and special places, the history and lore of what is obviously a fabulous part of the land and seascape of northern New Zealand. Harvey handles the complexity of the Waitakere Ranges and west coast by providing a detailed history and background to each of the main beaches, bays and walking tracks.

If the foregoing sounds as though this work is an elaborate guidebook, then let me disabuse you of any such notion. This is far more than a guide book, it is one man’s passion as it digs deep into the history of the area covering rescues on land and sea, shipwrecks, the pre-European history and the settlement by Europeans. However this is not Bob Harvey’s story alone. He has teamed up with an equally passionate lover of the area who uses a camera to excellent effect to bring a very special quality to this publication. It is not just the quality of the writing and photography that makes this work excel. It is time to pay tribute to those unsung heroes who design, print and publish works such as this. This work is quality all the way.

Otago Daily Times 3 March, 1999.

A warning to Aucklanders living elsewhere who desperately miss Auckland’s west coast beaches – don’t read this.

You will be plunged into instant nostalgia, ache longingly to be back, if only briefly, in those places where the wild Tasman pounds down onto acres of untamed coastline.

Then there are those splendid Waitakere ranges – miles of wonderful bush walks, waterfalls and reservoirs.

Bob Harvey is a high profile “westie”. Shining through this book is his love of the area which stretches from the Kaipara in the north to the Manukau in the south.
In between are the wonderful areas including Titirangi, Cornwallis, Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Muriwai, Bethells Beach and Te Huia.

The photographs, taken by Ted Scott from Titirangi, are stunning. His evocative works contribute to an overall spectacular publication.

And it’s not just the West Coast as it is now. There are some wonderful stories of past events on the West Coast including shipwrecks (the Orpheus), plane crashes, fires and other events. There are some wonderful photos of baches, longdrops, some incredibly poignant scenic shots of the West Coast, great action shots of surfing, life saving and horse racing.

All in all this is a great slice of Auckland’s West Coast, captured through the lens and pen of two of its ardent fans. A must for all who have ever shared in the wonders of the West Coast

Marlborough Express 22 December, 1998.

Fiji's Natural Heritage

Forget the political conflict in Fiji: that’s a relatively mild affair compared with the far more savage struggle for dominance among the flora and fauna of the Fijian Islands. As depicted in Paddy Ryan’s gorgeously illustrated book Fiji’s Natural Heritage, every kind of creature from falcons to flatworms must kill to live, or even just to further their kind. Hermaphroditic marine flatworms, for instance, attack each other with their penises, each trying to be the one to deposit the sperm – which have a nasty habit of eating their way through body tissue en route to the eggs. And sarabo (jumping spiders) stalk their prey till they’re within range and then leap on their victim. But it’s not all sex and violence in Ryan’s book …The close-up photographs of nature in action are uniformly stunning, in some cases jaw-dropping, and the chatty text is rich in information and interest. New Zealand Listener, August 5, 2000.

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