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New Zealand History and Biography

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100 Historic Places in New Zealand by Gavin McLean.  ISBN 1869589203. Published by Hodder Moa Beckett. Recommended retail price $25.95.    

100 Historic Places in New Zealand is a reference book with a difference.  Author and avid historian Gavin McLean throws a good pinch of his often salty opinion into the mix to produce this highly personal selection of significant places in New Zealand.

Here great architectural icons mingle with archaeological sites and industrial complexes, in a bid ‘not to frighten the art historians’ horses, but to show that there are other critters in the heritage paddock.’

Arranged chronologically, this generously illustrated selection tells the story of New Zealand through early Polynesian migration, European colonization, war, politics, economics, the arts and recreation.  Each entry explains the importance of the building or site in New Zealand’s history.  A map locates each historic place for easy reference.

Challenging, informative and full of surprises, 100 Historic Places in New Zealand is a stimulating snapshot of the history of New Zealand.

Gavin McLean is a Senior Historian at the History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.  He worked for New Zealand Historic Places from 1992 to 1997 and has written widely about New Zealand heritage.  His most recent books are Wellington: The First Years, A Century of Shipping in New Zealand and Captain’s Log: New Zealand’s Maritime History, the companion to the television series.

Soft cover, 190 pages. Published in 2002.

Accidental Anthropologist,The: A Memoir  by Michael Jackson. Published by Longacre Press. ISBN 9781877361470. Recommended retail price $39.99.                          

'... my lifelong preoccupation with renewal ... lies in the childhood fantasy without which I could not have endured – that another life awaited me elsewhere, or with another, and once reborn in that other world, I would find fulfilment and happiness.'
One of the key figures in Michael Jackson's unorthodox and extraordinary memoir observes, "We do not own our own lives – we are not in sole possession of the truth about ourselves." Faithful to this view, Jackson delivers his remarkable life in subtle shadings, halftones, and haunting, melodious lines.
From his New Zealand beginnings, when he associated with James K. Baxter, Fleur Adcock, Bob Lowry and others, Jackson's quest has taken him across Paris in the footsteps of his literary hero, Blaise Cendrars, to the doss-houses of London, among the remote Kuranko people of Sierra Leone, and into the Australian desert. This award-winning poet, ethnographer and novelist likens his life course to that of a shape–shifter, making it apparent that our lives are as various as the bonds we form and the social landscapes through which we move.

The Accidental Anthropologist is a magnificent memoir: astute, absorbing and deeply illuminating.
... spellbinding. Literary memoir at its best. Vincent O'Sullivan

Internationally-acclaimed anthropologist, award-winning poet and novelist Michael Jackson was born in Nelson, New Zealand, grew up in Inglewood, Taranaki, and was educated at the Universities of Wellington, Auckland and Cambridge (UK).  He has traveled widely, worked in a variety of jobs and has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Sierra Leone and Aboriginal Australia.  His most recent publications include a collection of poetry, Dead Reckoning (Auckland University Press) and In Sierra Leone (Duke University Press).  Michael Jackson is presently Distinguished Visiting Professor in World Religions at Harvard Divinity School.

'This is a complex and absorbing book...’ - New Zealand Books, 2007

'THE ACCIDENTAL ANTHROPOLOGIST is a superb piece of New Zealand literature and thought, the tale of a small-town boy with big ideas; it is erudite, poetic and inspirational.’ - The Nelson Mail, 2006

Soft cover, 252 pages. Published in 2006.

Agents of Autonomy: Maori Committees In The Nineteenth Century by Vincent O’Malley. Recommended retail price $26.95.

An important contribution to the understanding of Maori grievances concerning the Crown and the Treaty of Waitangi. Maori committees were set up to allow Maori to assume some degree of control over their own issues. Vincent O'Malley explores these committees in depth. Critics had this to say:

“Agents Of Autonomy is an important study of the political struggle of Maori to control their own world throughout the later 19
th century … It should convince doubters that Maori leaders themselves devoted herculean energies in efforts to lead their people and sustain their mana, demonstrating along the way sophisticated political skills.” -- Angela Ballara, New Zealand Books

Agents of Autonomy explores “… what might have been possible under a less greedy and domineering colonisation, and what might yet be possible if fresh efforts were to be made at serious devolution.” -- Alan Ward, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Newcastle, NSW. Soft cover, 307 pages. Published 1998.

Allons Enfants: A New Zealand Family in France by Linda Burgess. Published by Longacre Press. ISBN 1877135437. Recommended retail price $15.

People do things for their children that they hope like hell will be good for them in the long run, likeforcing them to practice the violin or taking them to the museum. With promises of croissants, sunshine and chateaux we lured our kids to France.

Linda and Robert Burgess had their first taste of France during the 1970’s, when Robert, a former All Black, was playing rugby for Lyon. Twelve years later, they wanted to share something of that experience with their growing children

Allons Enfants is an engaging and entertaining portrait of a family living in Montpellier. Novelist Linda Burgess’s clear eye delights in the civilised charms and colourful flavours of France, the quirky idiosyncrasies of Madame Libidineuse and Monsieur Benevolent. She also reveals the often comic, sometimes touching, reality of being a foreigner far from home.

This is a story about daily life; visits to the boulangerie, the scheming landlady, the chauvinistic butcher, the absurdities of the French banks and the intensity of the school system. It is also a celebration of family and friends, and an endearing love story – the love that parents have for their children.

This book came as bit of a shock to Paddy. The name Linda Burgess rang a bell and a quick note to publishers Longacre Press unearthed the information that Linda Burgess used to be Linda Todd. An e-mail to Linda established that she had indeed gone to Rangitikei College with Paddy. They even performed together in Charlie's Aunt (see below for "forbidden" photo of Linda and Paddy in a clinch). First contact in over 30 years through serendipity. Soft cover, 182 pages. Published March 2000.

Click here for forbidden photo of Paddy and Linda in a clinch! (34K)

Arawata Bill: The Story of Legendary Gold Prospector William James O'Leary by Ian Dougherty. Published by Exisle Publishing. ISBN 090898815X. Recommended retail price $19.95.

"If you like the mystery of hidden gold and stories of a pioneering hero set amidst the awe-inspiring grandeur of South Westland, you'll like this book. The cost won't damage your pocket too much, and it'll do your heart good." New Zealand Wilderness

"Witty, concise and admirably researched, Ian Dougherty's brief biography strikes a perfect balance, not only outlining the veritable facts but retelling some of the more enjoyable legends." Pacific Wave

"Dougherty and Exisle have produced a book that makes for incredible narrative and fascinating reading." Marlborough Express

"Dougherty serves up a fascinating portrait of the old prospector, even when he debunks many of the legends that have threatened to overwhelm O'Leary the man." Evening Post

"Arawata Bill was a genuine character and deserves this tribute. He could hardly have had a more sympathetic chronicler who has sifted fiction from fact but has lost none of the romance of his subject." Northern Advocate.

Soft cover, 196 pages, this edition published 2000.

Barry Brickell; A Head of Steam by Christine Leov-Lealand. Published by Exisle Publishing. ISBN 0908988087. Recommended retail price $15.00.

Barry Brickell is the creator and director of Driving Creek Railway and Potteries, the uniquely personal theme park at Coromandel which is a magnet for tens of thousands of visitors each year.

As one of New Zealand's best-known potters, Barry Brickell has literally helped shape the country's crafts scene. With Colin McCahon, he was in the vanguard of the first generation of New Zealand artists whose inspiration came from the land, light and people of his own country, ignoring overseas influences. For Brickell the New Zealand environment was not only legitimate but essential. He never had an urge for the great Overseas Experience.

A man of phenomenal physical, intellectual and creative energy, he has spent more than two decades designing and building viaducts, track and rolling stock, kilns for himself and others, and planting native trees. Brickell lives close to nature, working his artistic and industrial obsessions into material forms for the world to enjoy.

A complex and uncompromising individual, Barry Brickell epitomizes the adaptable and indomitable New Zealand spirit. "I am perhaps reinventing the industrial revolution," he states, "but with a conservational rather than an exploitive twist." Christine Leov-Dealand takes a refreshingly original approach to her subject, weaving "Brickelldom" themes of pottery, sculpture, botany, conservation, rail, steam and self-sufficiency into a seamless narrative that make this biography of a significant contemporary New Zealander a highly entertaining read.

The New Zealand Lives series features significant men and women from many fields and historical periods. These short biographies are authoritative yet accessible - useful for everyone interested in the colorful panoramas of Aotearoa's unique tapestry.

Christine Leov-Lealand is descended from Nelson pioneer stock and lived for the first 10 years of her life on D'Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds. She began writing early and gained a B.A. in History at Otago University in 1981. Christine has lived in many parts of New Zealand, has a daughter and cares for numerous stepchildren.

Since 1992 she has been writing, travelling and researching a biography of the artist Theo Schoon. As an oral historian Christine records life memories on tape and also writes poetry. She is writing a novel and continuing her research while sailing in Polynesia.

Soft cover, 168 pages. Published in 1996.

Bent Not Broken by Lauren Roche. ISBN 1877228338. Published by Steele Roberts Ltd. Recommended retail price $18.95.

Lauren's extraordinary journey from prostitute to doctor is a story of hope for people who need a second chance. You'll laugh, cry, and at times be angry or shocked. It's a tale of sex, drugs, rock 'n roll and more - of trouble and ultimate triumph. Lauren's message: "Whatever happens, don't give up on your dreams!"

Stowaway, stripper, doctor - a sensational, inspirational true-life story.

"A wonderful story of courage and redemption." -- Paul Holmes

"I was engrossed, and at times astounded by Lauren's book, not least because of the humor and intelligence she brought to the story of a life many would not have survived at all, let alone with their spirit so wonderfully intact." -- Paula Boock

Soft cover, 223 pages. Published in 2000. See sequel Life on the Line.

You can also check out Lauren's website by clicking here.

Bishops; My Turbulent Colonial Youth by Mona Williams. ISBN 0908783051. Published by Mallinson Rendel Publishers. Recommended retail price $18.95.

I am older than three but younger than four years old. Mummy and I are alone and Mummy stands me up against the door:
"Say what I tell you, " she directs me. "Say - I will go to Bishops."
"I gun go to Bishops," I parrot imperfectly in Creolese.

Nine years later the world seems a glittering prize to Mona. Having just won a national scholarship she is about to attend her country's most exclusive girls' school - Bishops.

No one, however, can comprehend or prepare her for the conflicts she is destined to face. She has become a poor, lower class, black outsider in a wealthy, white, class-conscious
British colonial school. And she becomes suddenly aware of the absence of her father, a man she last saw as an infant and of whom her mother would not speak.

Set in the fifties of Elvis Presley and the fear of communism, this vibrant autobiography of writer Mona Williams captures her childhood and turbulent teenage years in strife-torn British Guiana, now Guyana.

Mona Williams lives in Palmerston North, New Zealand and is the mother of two grown daughters. She was educated in Guyana and at Stanford University, California, USA, where she was a Fullbright and Ford Foundation scholar. Employed variously in radio, TV and education, she has a passionate interest in story-telling, writing and Caribbean dance.

A Story-teller for thirty years, her 1971 story-telling program Roots and Branches, produced by KQEDTV in San Francisco, won an Emmy. Annual story-telling tours during the school holidays have taken her to Hawaii, Australia, Israel and all around New Zealand. Now a New Zealand citizen, she lectures in English at Palmerston North College of Education. An author of children's stories, she visits schools under the Writers in Schools scheme.

Bishops was written during Mona Williams' Fellowship as 1993 Writer in Residence at the University of Waikato. Hard cover, 162 pages. Published in 1995.

Blind Impress, The by Michael Jackson. Published by Dunmore Press. ISBN 0864693079 Recommended retail price $16.

In the annals of New Zealand crime, the name Pawelka is practically synonymous with anarchy. The Pawelka manhunt was the most sensational news story of 1910, and the mystery of his escape from prison and subsequent disappearance has never been solved. Who was Joe Pawelka, and how might one explain the hold this self-styled “man against the world” has had on our country’s consciousness? In recounting the story of this disaffected son of Moravian immigrants, Michael Jackson intercuts recollections of his own life in small town New Zealand, deftly creating an allegory about the ways in which the past shapes the present, and the known blurs with the imagined to determine the nature of truth. Soft cover, 198 pages.

Cloud Farm: High on Banks Peninsula by Jane Chetwynd. ISBN 187713595X. Published by Longacre Press. Recommended retail price $13.00.

This is the captivating account of a seduction. A city woman is unaccountably smitten by the desire to have her own piece of bush, to the point where she resigns her job as professor of public health at the Christchurch School of Medicine and takes on an isolated Banks Peninsula property.

Cloud Farm is 165 acres of gorse-ridden, cloud-shrouded hillside 2,000 feet above sea level. The house hasn’t been lived in for 60 years and the rats have been having a ball. Jane Chetwynd’s steady progress in the face of obstacles is impressive. She leaves her cosmopolitan life (and steady income) and takes on the role of landowner. First job: to make the house habitable – a job which requires lateral thinking for a woman with little practical bent.

The author’s interest in bush regeneration sees her encouraging the growth of native trees and grappling with the gorse problem which threatens not only her property but her finances as well.

Told in vibrant prose spiked with humor and affectionate portraits of fellow players, Cloud Farm will appeal to anyone who has ever nursed a dream where the odds seem impossible. Soft cover, 182 pages. Published in 2004.

Coromandel Gold: A Guide to the Historic Goldfields of Coromandel Peninsula by Phil Moore & Neville Ritchie. Published by Dunmore Press. ISBN 0864692455. Recommended retail price $28.

Coromandel Gold is a well-illustrated practical guide to 13 of the historic goldfields of Coromandel Peninsula. Its superb colour photos, by landscape photographer Lloyd Homer, are complemented by numerous black and white images, maps and diagrams.

Although designed primarily as a guidebook to assist those wishing to explore the former mining areas, Coromandel Gold should also appeal to teachers, students and others with a general interest in the history of gold mining in New Zealand.

This is a book for those with a desire to get off the beaten track, to see what mining-related relics remain, and experience something of the ‘magic’ of the old goldfields. Soft cover, 197 pages.

Davey and the Awatea by W. A. Laxon. Published by Dunmore Press. ISBN 0864692897. Recommended retail price $28.

Until the 1940’s New Zealand was dependent on shipping for its links with the outside world. Its trade and people moved by sea alone. Foremost in providing those links was the country’s major commercial enterprise, the Union Steam Ship Company, second only in size and importance to the Government itself. The Union Company’s part in the development of South Pacific commerce is brought to life in this book through the action-packed careers of one of its best known and colorful captains, Arthur Davey, and its flagship of the 1930’s the Awatea.

Davey was the Union Company’s spearhead in responding to the challenge of the American Matson ships in the 1930’s. In the Awatea he was at last given the means to do so. Complete with all the latest nautical equipment, the Awatea was the fastest and most luxurious merchant ship in the southern hemisphere.

The ship and the man proved an ideal combination, setting standards of time-keeping never achieved on the Tasman before or since. The thrill of the Awatea’s rivalry with Matson ships is captured vividly in these pages which record the lives of a master and a ship who together wrote an indelible chapter in the maritime history of the South Pacific. Soft cover, 220 pages.

Dolly Lolly Diaries, The ; Tales of a Tame Kiwi Lad Transformed by Tempting London Lasses by David McGill. Published by Silver Owl Press. ISBN 095979798X. Recommended retail price $10.95.

If you check out Silver Owl Press you'll find the entire stable of authors consists of David McGill. But there's no vanity publishing here. David is a great writing talent who has evidently decided to keep the publisher's share of his profits.

Betwixt and between these soft covers read the raunchy story of how an uptight Kiwi lad fled home to seek fame and fortune in Dick Whittington's London town. Instead, he learned to let his hair down and find peace, love and velvet gear and good reasons for going back home. It's a hilarious fun read and Paddy highly recommends it. Soft cover, 206 pages. Published in 1998.

Don’t Come Back! by Reiko & Robert Elliott. Published by National Pacific Press. ISBN 0958244855. Recommended retail price $20.95.

Don’t Come Back! is the remarkable true story of Reiko Elliott, a courageous and multi-talented Japanese woman born into a famous family who meets a New Zealand businessman and leaves Japan to embark on a new adventure in a Western land.

Her father was Japan’s most successful international movie star, and a colleague of Charlie Chaplin’s during the silent film era. Reiko trained as an actress herself, but later developed a career as an artist and singer. Her intimate story vividly illustrates the pressures faced by an international family in everyday life. Her fierce pride in the strength of family, coupled with a determination to achieve perfection in everything she did reflects the best of Japanese culture.

Reiko’s husband Robert was a senior executive in New Zealand’s motor industry, and made a total of 93 visits to Japan in that capacity. They were married for 24 years until Reiko’s untimely death from leukemia in May 2000. This is the story of a woman of great character and indomitable spirit, who succeeded in building a new life in a new country, despite seemingly overwhelming difficulties. It is also a love story about two people from vastly different cultures who were determined to succeed together.

We are indebted to Rob Elliott for sharing a compelling and often moving cross-cultural love story with us in Don’t Come Back! He weaves a pattern of closeness, despite geographical distance, and the story of a talented woman who lit and warmed many lives.
-- Dave Moore, Motoring Writer, Christchurch Press

A poignant tale of two individuals from different cultures where destiny played a decisive hand to foster a beautiful and bountiful partnership.
--Peter Aitken, Managing Director, Mazda New Zealand

Reiko leads us by her thread through the labyrinth of life. There is great pleasure in the beauties she reveals at unexpected turns, and the vistas she can open for us.
-- Terry Stringer, sculptor

Soft cover, 259 pages. Published in 2003.

Down But Not Out by Elizabeth Berns. Published by National Pacific Press. ISBN 1877368016. Recommended retail price $16.95.

Down But Not Out is a true account of the life of a girl who has Down syndrome. It is a story that offers a fascinating and revealing insight into Lee’s joys and trials as she moves through her childhood years and develops into a young adult. Through conversations and interviews with Lee’s parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and with Lee herself, the author sensitively explores the everyday realities and boundaries of a girl with Down syndrome.

What happens when the limitations imposed by Down syndrome are combined with the usual fluctuations of teenage hormones? How much real understanding does Lee have of herself, her needs, and of her surroundings? How does she respond to praise or criticism? What does she think about growing up, interacting with other people, getting a job and having a boyfriend?

These are just some of the questions that are asked in Down But Not Out. The answers are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, often surprising and always insightful. This is a story from the heart that will both entertain and educate anyone with an interest in Down syndrome.

The NZDSA recommends this thought-provoking book to anyone whose life has been touched by Down syndrome. It will be dipped into often to give some insight into the impact of Down syndrome on a teenager’s life.
-- Angela Harper, National Coordinator, New Zealand Down syndrome Association

Down But Not Out is a book that shines a light into a world where few venture, and which increases our knowledge of the power of the human spirit and the deeper purpose of life.
-- Carol White, Co-Principal, Selwyn College, Auckland, New Zealand

This story gives a rare insight into the issues that are important to a teenage girl with Down syndrome, and indeed for any teenage girl as she grows up – music, friends, boyfriends, clothes, career and becoming more independent.
-- Elisabeth Sharratt, social worker from a chilrdren’s diagnostic and assessment center in Sydney, Australia

This a moving and personal account of a young child with Down syndrome growing up. The full range of emotional responses, from the shock at birth of the family through to maturation and complexities of sexual awakening are skillfully and humorously evoked. I think anyone having given birth to, or involved with caring for, a child with Downs syndrome would find this book uplifting and personally helpful at many levels.
-- Dr. Dion Martley, GP, Auckland, New Zealand

Soft cover, 128 pages. Published in 2004.

  Eight Days a Week: The Beatles’ Tour of New Zealand 1964 by Graham Hutchins. Published by Exisle Publishing. ISBN 0908988559. Recommended retail price $24.95.

For a memorable week in June 1964, the Beatles toured New Zealand, giving concerts in the four main centers and changing life as we knew it forever.  For teenagers of the time, it was the most exciting week of their lives.  Teachers were ignored and parents defied as thousands of young people devised ingenious ways of seeing their idols.

For this book, Graham Hutchins has interviewed dozens of people who were directly affected by the visit, from fans who attended the concerts and people who accompanied the Beatles on tour, to contemporary musicians and John Lennon’s Kiwi relations.  The visit of the Fab Four is remembered through the reminiscences of these eyewitnesses, and through a mass of photographs and memorabilia that illustrate the text.  The author also assesses the long-term impact the Beatles made on New Zealand music and on society at large.  Full of memories and nostalgia, this is the ideal souvenir of one of the most remarkable weeks in New Zealand’s history.

As a teenager in 1964, Graham Hutchins became a huge fan of the Beatles and collected all their records as they were released.  He attended the Beatles’ concert in Auckland, an experience he has never forgotten, and formed a would-be Beatles band with some schoolmates, a group that still performs together on special occasions.

In the years since, Graham has written many books, including Tall Halfbacks and the whimsical Hello, Goodbye, which cover his own youthful endeavors in music, and his most recent book, Both Sides Now.  Among his other published works are several on rugby, cricket and railways.  He lives in South Waikato in New Zealand with his wife Jenny.

Soft cover with flaps, 144 pages. Published in 2004.


Elizabeth Yates; The First Lady Mayor in the British Empire by Judith Devaliant. Published by Exisle Publishing. ISBN 0908988060. Recommended retail price $15.00.

New Zealand's first elected female politician was woman of remarkable tenacity and courage who endured abuse from her fellow councilors and members of the public, mainly because of her gender. The media helped propel her to international celebrity status as the subject of sensational headlines. Elizabeth Yates served just one year as Mayor of Onehunga in 1894 but her legacy is seen in the increasing numbers of women entereing local and national politics in the New Zealand of the 1990s. Decades ahead of her time (the country did not get its second woman mayor for another 63 years), Elizabeth disavowed feminist banners and claimed she simply wanted to be a good manager in the conduct of the council's business. In this first biography of "the first lady major in the British Empire" author Judith Devaliant provides a fascinating account of the circus atmosphere which developed around the Onehunga Borough Council meetings during Elizabeth's tenure of office, and of the tactics she used to defend herself. This first title in the New Zealand Lives series is not only an engaging portrait of a principled pioneer but a vivid picture of political life in the country in the last years of the 19th century. The New Zealand Lives series features significant men and women from many fields and historical periods. These short biographies are authoritative yet accessible - useful for everyone interested in the colorful panorama of Aotearoa's unique tapestry. Judith Devaliant was born in Dunedin and grew up in an all-female household. She was educated in Lawrence, Invercargill and Dunedin, graduating from Otago University in 1960 with an M.A. Honours in History. A working holiday in Britain ended with marriage to Lionel, who was a London policeman and is now deputy principal at an Auckland school. Their four daughters are pursuing their own careers in Auckland and Japan. Judith worked as a reference librarian before resigning to become a fulltime writer. Her first book, Kate Sheppard; A Biography (Penguin) was written for Suffrage Year in 1993. She is continuing her research on Kate Sheppard and other women of that period. She is a keen gardener who enjoys walks along Auckland's beaches and some gentle hiking. Soft cover, 160 pages.

Escape from Bosnia; Aza's Story as told to Sue McCauley. Published by Shoal Bay Press. ISBN 0908704429. Recommended retail price $19.95.

When Brent King, a young New Zealand pilot, was sent as a UN observer to Sepa in Serb-held Bosnia, he met and fell in love with Aza Mehmedovic, a beautiful local girl. The war closed in on Sepa inexorably, and Brent soon realized that somehow he would have to arrange for Aza to escape from the ever-tightening grip of the Serb militia before they finally destroyed the town.

It was only through complex and devious negotiations that Brent was able to arrange for Aza to be smuggled out of Zepa - at a price. In return he would have to take extraordinary risks and display raw courage as he bent UN rules until they broke.

This is both Brent's story of how he orchestrated Aza's escape, told for the first time, and Aza's own story - a harrowing and moving account of what life was really like in a Muslim enclave under siege from the Serbs. Escape From Bosnia is both a real-life love story and a gripping tale of adventure and intrigue: the tenderness and the suspense are brilliantly captured by award-winning author Sue McCauley. Published in 1996. Soft cover, 240 pages.

Fairburn by Denys Trussell. Distributed by Addenda Books. ISBN 0196480280. Recommended retail price $15.98.

This biography shifts emphasis in the memories we have of A. R. D. Fairburn (1904-57). Too often he is recalled simply as a highly amusing satirist and polemicist, an irritant in the social tissue. It is not fully appreciated that Fairburn was a literary artist of great emotional range, and that his commentary on New Zealand society could be searching and acute.

Nor is it realized that his roots were exceptionally deep, his paternal line having been in New Zealand since 1819. The biography explores the persistence of certain elements in his life which were evident in the lives of his grandfather and great grandfather.

The account of his growth (and his limitations) is woven into a narrative of New Zealand’s development in his lifetime. As a public figure he was at times involved in the urgent issues of the day, particularly during the years of the Depression. Quite a lot of New Zealand’s history is seen through his eyes and described in his words.

His life was short, his death painful and shocking to those who knew him as an exceptionally vital human being. A thread throughout the book, his persistent sense of fatality, is followed from its earliest appearance to its final apotheosis.

He exemplifies the dilemma facing people of sensibility in a raw, young culture. Defensive clowning, brilliance expended on a host of trivia, a difficulty in focusing on his own very great poetic gifts, are all aspects of the problem.

That is not to say his life was bleak, or made light by shallow posturing as a joker. Far from it. He was in many ways a happy man, more than capable of joy. And his contribution to the collective consciousness in New Zealand, especially through his best poetry, is enduring, rich and positive.

Denys Trussell, classical pianist, biographer, and poet, was born in Christchurch in 1946 and educated at the University of Auckland, where he graduated with a masters degree in English in 1970.

The writing of this biography has occupied much of his time since 1973. He is a widely published essayist and poet. He helped to found the Native Forest Action Council and Friends of the Earth (NZ) Ltd, and has published research and polemic on environmental issues. He has also since written a novel.

In 1980 he resumed with his father his study as a classical pianist and has given recitals throughout New Zealand. Soft cover, 320 pages. Published in 1984.

Farewell Colonialism: The New Zealand International Exhibition Christchurch, 1906-07 edited by John Mansfield Thomson. Published by Dunmore Press. ISBN 0864693184. Recommended retail price $28.

The great International Exhibition held in Christchurch in 1906-07, marking New Zealand’s transition from Colony to Dominion, provided a panoply of aspirations and achievements covering almost every aspect of the colony’s life from agricultural products to machinery, and from the visual arts to music. It attracted nearly two million visitors when the total population of the country was less than half that.

In this book eleven authorities in their field recreate the atmosphere and spirit of the Exhibition, from Joseph Maddison’s white and gold building, to the gardens surrounding it, the impressive Maori Pa, which also hosted visitors from the Pacific Islands, to the comprehensive exhibits of the British Government, Canada and the Australian states. Economic, political and social aspects are discussed, as well as the visual arts, including a large number of paintings and sculptures and the more appealing exhibits of the women’s Arts and Crafts movement. Alfred Hill’s Orchestra, which played almost every day for the entire six months of the Exhibition, became a showpiece, in its own way as popular as “Wonderful’ with its water-chute, helter-skelter and spaceship. Perhaps the most poignant contributions to this volume are those of the Maori visitors, given here in the original language and in translation.

As the first contemporary book to describe a New Zealand exhibition in depth, this book is a record of a historical event and an inspiring contribution to New Zealand’s social history. Soft cover, 175 pages.

For Pete's Sake by Rosalie Henderson. Published by Hazard Press. ISBN 1877270555. Recommended retail price $19.95.

Roslaie Henderson writes affectionately of family life, with love and laughter, on a remote farm in the Marlborough Sounds.

"The Marlborough Sounds is still pioneer country, but when Rosalie and Peter Henderson raised their children on a sheep farm in Keneperu Sound, they dealt with conditions that would have sent pioneers running for home. It was a matter of do or die, and if you messed up the doing, there was a good chance you'd die laughing. Laugh with Rosalie in a book that is the real stuff of history" - Joy Crowley.

Soft cover, 149 pages. Published in 2003.


Golden Harvest,The by Patricia K. O’Shea. Recommended retail price $20.

Once the epitome of social poise, tobacco smoking has become the bete noir of health educators everywhere. This book traces the parallel fortunes and misfortunes of tobacco growing in New Zealand from earliest plantings before 1840, through the initiatives of the Husheers in Hawke’s Bay starting in 1911, to the concentrated cultivation in Motueka, right to the final surrender of the growers there in November 1995. The result is a many-sided, authoritative history covering changes in horticulture, technology, labor economics, domestic and international finance, local and national politics and their various impacts on the local district. The author’s skills and local knowledge have been combined to enable her to supplement details from many written sources – including the Husheer family and Rothmans of Pall Mall (NZ) Ltd – with the personal views and recollections of families and individuals in Motueka who have intimate connections with the industry. Soft cover, 224 pages.

  Growing Tall Poppies: Excellence in Top New Zealanders by Michele Cox. Published by Exisle Publishing.  ISBN 090898846X . Recommended retail price $20.95

Tall poppies.  We love them, we hate them, we admire them, we envy them: people who excel in their chosen field.  But do we encourage people to be winners in New Zealand?  Do we support talent and reward success?  And are we encouraging our children to participate or to win?

Growing Tall Poppies is a motivational and inspirational book for New Zealanders who are not content with a culture of participation but wish to achieve excellence.  Michele Cox has interviewed 21 remarkable New Zealanders for the book, from a wide variety of fields including sport, arts, business, military, education, law, media, farming and hospitality.  Among them are basketball coach Tab Baldwin, fashion designer Trelise Cooper, cricketer Martin Crowe, Maori ‘social entrepreneur’ Dam Georgina Kirby, runner Allison Roe, businesswoman Lisa Er, television presenter Susan Wood, lawyer David Jones, secondary school principal Alison Annan and Major General Jerry Mateparae.  In line with the theme of excellence, not all the subjects are high profile but all have admirable qualities and great stories.

A key feature of the book is a question-and-answer section at the end of each chapter, in which the author asks her “tall poppies” to define excellence and say whether it is encouraged in New Zealand.  The answers are illuminating, offering valuable insights into the traits and strategies that can lead to excellence.

Michele Cox has represented New Zealand in soccer, and spent two years in Germany playing in front of crowds of up to 70,000 people.  She achieved to a high level in a number of other sports, ran a soccer academy for top young female soccer players, and is now a board member for Sport Auckland and the YMCA.  Michele has several degrees, including MA (Hons) in Psychology and a Diploma in Business (Marketing), which she puts to good use in her role as a Senior Sponsorship Manager for ASB Bank.  She lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

Soft cover with flaps, 214 pages. Published in 2004.


Hawke's Bay: The History of a Province by Matthew Wright. Published by Dunmore Press. ISBN 0864691866. Recommended retail price $28.

Hawke’s Bay was settled first by the Maori and then, from the 1850’s by middle-class businessmenfrom England and Scotland seeking to acquire land for development.

These settlers were young ambitious and worldly, and armed with only minimal capital, in time they established an iron grip on the reins of power, dominating the economic, political and social life of the province.

The Maori were eager to cooperate with the new arrivals, but relations soured as they increasingly lost control of their lands. In addition, inter-tribal disagreement and divisions heightened as some Maori supported the newcomers and others bitterly opposed them.

This history is a slice of New Zealand’s colonial development. It captures the political economic and social life of Hawke’s Bay and shows how the legacy of the first settlers continued to shape developments in the region well into the 1950’s. Soft cover, 215 pages.


Helen; Portrait of a Prime Minister by Brian Edwards. Published by Exisle Publishing. ISBN 0908988206. Recommended retail price $29.95

New Zealand's first elected woman Prime Minister remains an enigma to many, despite her almost daily exposure on television. In "Helen: Portrait of a Prime Minister," Brian Edwards has produced a comprehensive, balanced and absorbing account of the life, times and character of the real Helen Clark. Working largely from taped conversations with the Prime Minister herself, with her family, friends and colleagues, and with a wide range of political journalists and commentators, the author presents a fascinating panorama of anecdote, fact and opinion on Helen Clark's strengths and weaknesses as a persona and a politician.

Part oral history, part biography, the narrative follows Helen's life and career from childhood through to the present day. If explains how the daughter of a conservative, National-voting, farming family became a left-wing activist; how she was transformed from a seemingly dry and bloodless academic into a popular, media-savvy and charismatic leader; how she molded a disparate group of factions into a cohesive coalition.

Revealed is the inside story on Helen's relationships with family, friends, colleagues and political opponents; the rumors about her marriage and sexuality; her role in the controversial Lange/Douglas Government; the attempted coup against her in 1996; her tears at Waitangi; her handling of the media; her relationships with her Ministers; her encounters with the world's most powerful leaders; and much more.

This is a remarkable story of courage and endurance, the story of an exceptional woman told by one of New Zealand's most respected and enduring broadcasters and journalists. Brian Edwards has been close to the epicenter of power since the late 1960s, when his subject's political odyssey was beginning. His authoritative account is the first book to be published on Helen Clark and will provide the indispensable foundation for any future biography.

Brian Edwards was born in Cork in the Republic of Ireland in 1937. He was educated at Queens University, Belfast, and at the University of Edinburgh, where he gained his doctorate in 1964. He emigrated to New Zealand in the same year, teaching at Canterbury University until he entered the world of television in 1967. His career as a television and radio interviewer continued until 1999. It includes such seminal programs as "Gallery, Fair Go," which he devised in 1977, and the hugely popular "Top of the Morning."

Brian Edwards is the author or editor of numerous books, including "Right Out," a study of the 1972 General Election, in which he stood as the Labour Party candidate for Miramar. With his wife, Judy Callingham, he runs a media consulting business in Auckland. The couple have provided media advice to Helen Clark since 1996. In 1999 Dr. Edwards was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to broadcasting and journalism.

Hard cover, 352 pages. Published in 2001.

History: Icons from Te Papa. ISBN 1-877385-24-7. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price $15.99.

A selection of treasured items from Te Papa's history collection.  This book presents diverse objects from around the world  - including an Egyptian coffin and a set of samurai armor - as well as some of New Zealand's best loved icons.

Many pieces illuminate daily life. Others are associated with significant events and eras. Together, they tell the stories of the characters and events that made Aotearoa New Zealand. From fine pottery to yacht Black Magic, every item is photographed in full color and accompanied by a lively, informative description. Softcover, 108 pages. Published in 2006.

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A History of New Zealand Architecture by Peter Shaw. ISBN 1869589580. Published by Hodder Moa Beckett. Recommended retail price $35.95.

In a period when New Zealand’s architectural landscape is being rapidly transformed, A History of New Zealand Architecture affords a timely review of the latest developments in New Zealand’s extraordinarily rich architectural history.  Covering more than 150 years, this new edition of A History of New Zealand Architecture surveys New Zealand’s major building traditions, trends, innovations and controversies.  Author Peter Shaw and Photographers Robin Morrison and Paul McCredie explore the way a country’s architecture reflects the spirit and aspirations of its inhabitants.

The full diversity of architectural styles is examined.  Maori functional simplicity; the elaborate Antipodean Gothic and Victorian domestic of the nineteenth century; the impressive Neo-classical and Edwardian Baroque styles; and the fashionable Arts and Crafts and neo-Georgian of the early twentieth century; the Post-modernism of the 1980s and beyond into the early 21st century.  Surveyed also are the leading exponents of these styles and their philosophies.

The author examines the ways architects have responded to critical challenges, particularly in the mid twentieth century.  Reactions to such events as the Napier earthquake of 1931 and the arrival of Modernism were varied and controversial, as was the need for a truly indigenous architecture.

Later, despite a favorable architectural climate in New Zealand, too many fine old buildings were demolished.  A number might still be standing had their significance been better understood.  The aim of A History of New Zealand Architecture is to provide a record of the country’s architectural history, celebrate its diversity, and inspire its appreciation.

Extensively researched, authoritative and discerningly illustrated, A History of New Zealand Architecture remains an invaluable resource for architects and students, and a fascinating view of their country for all New Zealanders.

Island of Secrets; Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington Harbour by David McGill. Published by Silver Owl Press. ISBN 1877228370. Recommended retail price $15.95

New Zealand is an island nation with many island stories, none more plentiful than those of Matiu/Somes in the center of the harbor capital. From hitherto secret government files, unpublished diaries, reminiscences, interviews and other records David McGill tells the complete story for the first time:

· Maori setting off from Matiu to invade the Chathams
· First fortress for Maori and Pakeha settlers
· The first and last sight of New Zealand for quarantined immigrants
· A death ray developed with secret government funding
· Nazi prisoners plotting the takeover of New Zealand
· Count von Luckner exposed as a charlatan by his wireless operator
· The country's first quarantine station and maximum animal security complex
· A century of conflict between government and recreational users

The new millennium marks a fresh start with the restoration of the name Kupe gave the island, the tuatara returned to its ancient habitat, and many zealously guarded secrets at last revealed. Soft cover, 160 pages. Published in 2001.

 ‘Kooti Tango Whenua, Te’: The Native Land Court 1864-1909 by David V.Williams. Published by Huia Publishers. ISBN 1877241032. Recommended retail price $29.95.

‘Te Kooti tango whenua’ – the land-taking Court. A provocative title for a study of laws and Crown policies concerning the operation of the Native Land Court 1864-1909. It is in fact an accurate description of a court which had a dramatically adverse impact on the landholdings of Maori hapu during these years, and beyond…

‘Te Kooti tango whenua’ ‘…adds the vital dimension for understanding the causal connections between government policy, judicial practice and tribal integrity. I commend it not only to a general readership, but also and particularly to Crown and Maori. Here is the ‘bigger picture’. It is against this that hapu and iwi may state their grievances in the belief that what is said to have been general is justifiable only if it makes sense to those who have been hurt.’ – Sir Hugh Kawharu, emeritus professor of Maori studies, University of Auckland

David V. Williams is an independent researcher specializing in legal history and Treaty claims in Aotearoa. He has been actively engaged in many aspects of the Waitangi Tribunal’s work since its inception in 1977. He lectures in law at the University of Auckland. Soft cover, 390 pages. Published in 1999.

Krystyna's Story by Halina Ogonowska-Coates. Published by Shoal Bay Press. ISBN 0908704852. Recommended retail price $15.95.

"As a child I loved my mother but she seemed different from other mothers. She didn't know how old she was. She couldn't remember where she was born. I wondered what had happened to her that she could have forgotten such important things. It had something to do with the Second World War…"

Krystyna is one of 732 'Polish children' who survived forced deportation to the Soviet Union and was given a home in New Zealand in 1944. Her remarkable story, a composite portrait drawn from interviews with Polish survivors, begins in a peaceful Polish village and follows her family's harrowing journey to a labor camp in Siberia, the terrible flight to freedom, and Krystyna's lonely voyage to a safe refuge in New Zealand.

This is a beautifully evoked account of a child's journey through Europe at war, and a young woman's bewildering encounter with rural New Zealand.

Halina Ogonowska-Coates is an oral historian, writer and filmmaker of Polish descent. In Krystyna's Story she has recorded the experiences of many Poles who came to New Zealand after the Second World War. She has also presented their story in a television film, Exiles - The Story of a Polish Journey. Soft cover, 156 pages. Published in 1992.

Life on the Line by Lauren Roche. ISBN 1877228400. Published by Steele Roberts Ltd. Recommended retail price $18.95.

Sequel to the best-selling "Bent Not Broken."
Since qualifying as a doctor, Lauren Roche has had some ups ... and many downs. Bankruptcy, depression, a suicide attempt -- and the shock revelation that her son was a sex offender.

How does she triumph over all this, and at the same time achieve another goal of becoming a best-selling author?

"Life on the Line" is as gripping a read as "Bent Not Broken," and in the end just as inspiring.

Wellington doctor Lauren Roche became a successful author in 2000 with the courageous first volume of her autobiography, "Bent Not Broken." In this best-selling book Lauren described her turbulent childhood and adolescence, and her years as a prostitute and stripper, before she turned her life around. She went back to high school and university, eventually graduating as a doctor. Soft cover, 174 pages. Published in 2001.

You can also check out Lauren's website by clicking here.

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Looking For Darwin by Lloyd Spencer Davis. 9781877361227. Published by Longacre Press. Recommended retail price $29.95.

"From Antarctica to the Galapagos, this award-winning writer seeks the truth about God and Evolution."

‘Charles Darwin was a man who did more to change the way we think about ourselves than anyone since Jesus.’

In one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, zoologist Lloyd Spencer Davis comes face to face with an enraged leopard seal. Towering ice cliffs, a ferocious creature of the deep, and the extreme Antarctic environment all turn Davis’s world view on its head.

‘What the hell am I doing here?’

This question sets Davis on a quest for insight and meaning in a world that still pitches theories of evolution against belief in a Creator; the science of natural selection against a faith that asserts our world was crafted by Intelligent Design. With a self-deprecating grin packed along with his cabin
baggage — even when his passport isn’t — Davis decides to follow the travels of the eminent nineteenth-century naturalist, Charles Darwin: the man who did more to change our understanding of this planet than any other biologist.

Looking for Darwin gives us a personal and intimate insight into Darwin and what drove the man. It is also an attempt to resolve that initially panicked — and then far reaching — question, that first hit Davis on the big ice. With a wealth of research and vivid imagery — along with a disarming honesty — Lloyd Spencer Davis takes the reader on an unforgettable world tour.

Lloyd Spencer Davis is a zoologist, writer and filmmaker.  He has been writing, producing and directing prize-winning documentaries for over twenty years and has numerous academic publications to his name.  He is the author of "Penguin: a season in the life of the Adelie penguin (1993)" which won the Pen (NZ) Best First Book Award for Non-fiction, and "The Plight of the Penguin (2001)" which won the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year Award.

He has been the recipient of many fellowships, distinctions and awards including the Foundation for Research Science and Technology's Merit Award for Excellence in Scientific Communication.  Lloyd is a former director of the world's first university course in natural history filmmaking, and now holds the Stuart Chair in Science Communication and directs the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago. Soft cover, 283 pages. Published in 2007.

Milestones: Turning Points in New Zealand History by Tom Brooking.  ISBN 0864693095. Published by Dunmore Press. Recommended retail price $30.

Milestones tells the story of New Zealand in a distinctive new way. The milestones are turning points that have shaped our past and made us what we are today. The volume covers the entire sweep of New Zealand history – from voyages of discovery, decisive battles and women’s rights to landmarks in race and industrial relations. For ready reference and ease of use, each of the milestones is written as a complete episode. Where necessary the milestones are linked by a narrative that covers the years in between. A year-by-year list of key events concludes the book. Authoritative yet easy to read, every New Zealand family will find it an essential guide to their national heritage. Soft cover, 222 pages. Published in 1999.

Milord Goffredo: A daughter rediscovers her father's war in Italy by Jan Bolwell. ISBN 187722863X. Published by Steele Roberts. Recommended retail price $14.95.

Surviving cancer inspired Jan Bolwell to explore her father's own amazing survival in World War II, first in the North African desert, then escaping in Italy and hiding two years in a cave.

This book movingly captures his reconnection with the Italian family who saved his life. Along the way there is time to reflect on fathers, daughters, and defining aspects of identity. This is a story for all 'baby boomers' whose childhoods were so powerfully shaped by men who fought in foreign lands.

Jan has created a solo theater performance Standing On My Hands based on this colorful story, which is typical of thousands of New Zealand soldiers who suffered terrible war experiences, post-war trauma and the difficult adjustment to civilian life.

"All this unfolds before us with charm, humor, grace ... gew have been so honored by their children as Geoffrey Bolwell." -- Denis Welch in the Listener

Jan Bolwell is a dancer and choreographer. She is currently dance adviser part-time at Massey University and tutors at the New Zealand School of Dance. With Sunny Amey and Keri Kaa she created a trilogy of bicultural theatre works: Wahine Toa (1992), the award-winning Takitoru (1995) and Sing Whale! He Apakura Tohora (1998). Returning to performance in 1999, she choreographed and performed Off My Chest which features in Gaylene Preston's film on breast cancer Titless Wonders, premiered at the 2001 NZ Film Festival. Born in Oamaru, Jan now lives in Paekakariki. Soft cover, 83 pages. Published in 2002.

Nothing Like A Dame: A Biography of Dame Daphne Purves by Molly Anderson. Recommended retail price $24.

Now in her ninetieth year, Dame Daphne Purves is New Zealand’s oldest Dame and one of Dunedin’s living treasures. She has become a by-word for enthusiasm and tenacity in every field she has entered.

Her main area of expertise has been education. She sees this as the key to better conditions for women worldwide; and the passion of her life has been the International Federation of University Women, for whom she became world president in 1977. Her work with IFUW has taken her round the world many times, and into more than forty countries. She is fondly remembered by former students of Waitaki Girls High School, Otago Girls High School, Otago Boys High School and Dunedin Teachers College.

In this delightful, entertaining and extensively illustrated biography we are introduced to the private and public views of a woman whose zest for life has carried her through most of this century, from the horse-drawn era almost to the second millennium.

Molly Anderson, Dunedin-based author whose light-hearted book Household Gods: New Zealand Cats at Home was published by Hazard in 1996, describes her collaboration with Dame Daphne as one of the most enjoyable pieces of writing she has ever undertaken. “Dames,” she says, “beat even cats.” Soft cover, 180 pages.

Click here for picture from Nothing Like a Dame by Molly Anderson (34.32K)

Peter Fraser: Master Politician edited by Margaret Clark. Published by Dunmore Press. ISBN 0864693230. Recommended retail price $20.

Peter Fraser was New Zealand’s Prime Minister from March 1940 until December 1949. This meant that a huge proportion of his time and energy was necessarily directed towards New Zealand’s war effort. However, he also managed to make notable contributions in such diverse domestic fields as education, cultural affairs, economic policy and race relations. In foreign affairs, he played a not inconsiderable role in shaping peace and launching the United Nations.

Contributors to this book include some who knew and worked with Peter Fraser and professional historians. Their combined memories and opinions, and the analyses which become possible only as events are able to be seen in perspective, provide convincing evidence that Peter Fraser was an extraordinary Prime Minister – one for too long ignored and one too little written on.

It is hoped that this book goes some way towards redressing the lack, and towards establishing Peter Fraser in New Zealand’s historical firmament as one of the country’s truly great Prime Ministers. Soft cover, 216 pages. Recommended retail price $18, our price $16.50.

Rangimarie: Recollections of her life by Rora Paki-Titi. Published by Huia Publishers. ISBN 0908975635. Recommended retail price $15.95.

“We made constant visits to the forest all around us as it was teeming with so many of the things necessary to our particular lifestyle, such as certain leaves for medication, barks for dye, and berries and fruit which we shared with the birds”

This book is a warm, insightful tribute to a remarkable woman – Dame Rangimarie Hetet.

Written by her cousin and life-long friend, Rora Paki-Titi, with a childhood autobiography contributed by Rangimarie herself, Rangimarie: Recollections of Her Life provides an account of King Country life from the nineteenth-century until the present day. In so doing it gives a singularly Maori perspective of the life of a renowned artist and cherished kuia.

“I realised that we do not control our own destiny, but that history takes its course”. Soft cover, 80 pages. Published in 1998.

Redemption Songs: A Life of the Nineteenth-Century Maori Leader Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki by Judith Binney. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-1975-6. Recommended retail price $25.00.

Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki was one of the best-known Maori leaders of the 19th century. Today he is remembered mostly as a guerilla fighter: a feared opponentof colonial forces with a price upon his head. The stereotype does him little justice. Throughout his adult life, in both war and peace, he sought to redeem his people and the land. He founded the Ringatu church, which continues to this day. The causes of Te Kooti's struggles are larger than personal injustice: he fought a war against land confiscation and illegal land purchases. Though frequently described as a murderer, he limited his attacks - even the most notorious, at Matawhero, Poverty Bay in 1868 - to specific targets for precise reasons.

In the difficult time for Maori after the wars of the 1860s and early 1870s, Te Kooti was committed to the cause of peace and to working through the law. He engendered a renewal of Maori pride, which can be seen in the great painted meeting-houses the construction of which he often directed. He worked to ensure that the leaders of the Maori communities listened to the voices of their own people - not simply responding to their own interests or those of the colonisers. He was an extraordinary figure, a man of enormous vitality and large paradoxes.

Judith Binney has drawn on numerous sources in writing this book. Traces of Te Kooti's many journeys remain throughut the North Island and he left records of his rem,arkable life not only in government files but in personal letters and diaries, as well as in songs, stories and sayings among his own people in many places.

Judith Binney is associate professor of history at the University of Auckland. Soft cover, 688 pages. Published in 1996.

Sage Tea; an autobiography by Toss Woollaston. Published by Te Papa Press. ISBN 090901082X. Recommended retail price $19.95.

Sage Tea, the first volume of Toss Woollaston's autobiography, was originally published in 1980 to a mixture of acclaim and consternation. Acclaim, because it is a splendid accountr of an artist growing up - a kind of Cider with Rosie set in the backblocks of Taranaki. And consternation, because Woollaston wrote with great candour about his childhood and youth, revealing not only his first tentative moves toweards painting, but also his first emotional relationships - and the sexual experiences that were part of them.

Woollaston was a gifted painter, yet for many years he wanted to be a writer. Friendships with writers such as Ursula Bethell were important to him intellectually, but also moulded his style. In Sage Tea he writes with great vividness and fluency. Tihs book is important because of what it reveals of the mind of the artist as it was being formed, and the picture it paints of life in New Zealand in the 1920s and 1930s. It is also a very good read. Soft cover, 268 pages. Reprinted in 2001.

See: Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters by Jill Trevelyan further down this page.

Scent of Rosewater, The : A New Zealand Bride in Iran by Anna Woodward Swinburn. Published by Shoal Bay Press. ISBN 0908704755. Recommended retail price $19.95.

Anna Woodward Swinburn, a young and adventurous New Zealand woman, met and fell in love with Bijan, a handsome Persian, while on her "OE" (overseas experience) in the UK. After living happily together in England and New Zealand for a number of years Bijan was forced to answer the call to return home, so Anna eventually followed him to his home town of Mashad, a holy Muslim city not far from the Caspian Sea and the Soviet border.

This is the moving story of Anna and Bijan's love and life in modern-day Iran, where the fundamentalist, authoritarian regime of the Ayatollah and the republican guards failed to erase either Anna's and Bijan's love for one another, or Anna's increasing affection and respect both for Bijan's family and the Iranian people as a whole.

Anna Woodward Swinburn writes simply and gracefully of the wonders of Iran, both old and new, and the rich culture of the Iranian people. As her story carries us along towards its tragic conclusion we learn much about the resilience of an ancient people, as well as the courage and compassion of a young New Zealander. Soft cover, 176 pages. Published in 1998.

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Sins of the Father:The Long Shadow of a Religous Cult by Fleur Beale. Published by Longacre Press. ISBN 978-1-877460-30-2. Recommended retail price $29.99.

Phil Cooper was 11 years old when he began to understand that his father meant to bend him to his will.’

Charismatic, driven and self-righteous Neville Cooper set up his own brand of Christian utopia on earth: a reclusive community on the West Coast of New Zealand. For the 400 inhabitants of Gloriavale, his word is law – despite his 1995 conviction for sexual abuse.

Phil Cooper, as headstrong as his father, had to escape. But Phil’s wife Sandy was bound to the will of Neville and his brand of eternal salvation.

And so began the monumental tug-of-war between father and son: a son who wanted to give his children a chance in the world.

This is a true story of power and control, of abductions and night raids, of hearts broken and those trying to mend. It’s also the story of the long shadow cast by the unyielding vision of one man, and the hope and resolve of one family to restore its shattered past.

Soft cover, 231 pages. Published in 2009.

Sir Keith Holyoake: Towards a Political Biography edited by Margaret Clark. Published by Dunmore Press. ISBN 0864692919. Recommended retail price $20.

Sir Keith Holyoake was one of New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Ministers, and led the National Party to four election victories in 1960, 1963, 1966 and 1969. His remarkable public life spanned nearly half a century as he first entered Parliament in 1932 and retired, as Governor-General, in 1980.

For many people Keith Holyoake came to embody the National Party. He was conservative but not illiberal. He was cautious but not inflexible. He was a distinctive democrat and sought to govern consensually. He had the good fortune to govern in a time of full employment and economic growth. The Holyoake years therefore are often thought of as “the good years.”

However, there were clouds on the horizon. Some historians have argued that New Zealand under Holyoake was complacent and insufficiently innovative. The seeds of our subsequent discontents, they say, were sown then. We didn't diversify our economy fast enough; Maori grievances were not addressed; and the concerns of environmentalists and feminists were ignored.

All these questions are raised in this collection of essays “ towards a political biography.” Readers are given much evidence with which to judge the true stature of the man. Soft cover, 210 pages.

Strawberries with the Fuhrer; a journey from the third reich to New Zealand by Helga Tiscenko. ISBN 1877251038. Published by Shoal Bay Press. Recommended retail price $24.95.

The Fuhrer did not laugh at me. He sat down beside me and we ate strawberries and vanilla ice cream together and I did not spill anything on my blue dress and if he had asked me to die for him there and then I would have done so, unquestioningly.

Helga Tiscenko was born in Germany in 1929, the elder daughter of a warm, close-knit, middle class family. But this was no ordinary family: her parents were committed members of the National Socialist Party and during the Second World War her father rose to the rank of general in the Waffen SS.

Hers is an extraordinary story, written with simplicity, humor and grace. In loving detail, she paints a vivid picture of her childhood in pre-war Germany and then tells of her experiences during the war and the final days of the Third Reich - from a perspective that has not often been explored. After the war - as a sixteen-year-old branded as a 'Nazi brat' - she had to come to terms with its aftermath.

Her account of emigrating to New Zealand, where she and her Russian husband were sent to live in the alien environment of a raw hydro-electric township in the South Island (having been advised that new immigrants should be prepared to do 'pioneering work'), is another extraordinary chapter in the life of this most singular woman. Now, she and her husband Nick, quite simply, describe their present life as 'being in paradise'.

No one who reads this book will fail to be moved by Helga's indomitable spirit, courage and warmth. This is her story. Soft cover, 174 pages. Published in 2000.

Tall Spars, Steamers & Gum: A History of the Kaipara From Early European Settlement 1854-1947 by Wayne Ryburn. Published by Kaipara Publications. ISBN 0-473-01676-7. Recommended retail price $19.95.

The "mighty Kaipara' Harbour and its hinterland is now a quiet, almost forgotten part of New Zealand, visited occasionally by probably only a small proportion of the million people of Auckland living less than an hour's drive down State Highway 16 from Helensville.

In its heyday though, the 30-year period from 1876 to 1906, the Kaipara was the leading timber export port of New Zealand and a vital contributor to the young colony's economy. The hills rang to the sounds of axes and saws as settlers, local Maori and itinerant bushmen plundered the kauri forests for the golden timber that helped build cities like Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne. The waters of this immense harbour, one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere, were crowded with the tall spars of sailing ships laden with timber and steamers ferrying passengers from distant reaches of the Kaipara.

Timber was not the only magnet drawing people into the region. Over thousands of years, ancient kauri had given up another treasure in the form of solid resin gum, which found a commercial use in the second half of the 19th century, particularly in the varnish and linoleum industries. Diggers from many countries converged on the Kaipara at this time to prowl its valleys and lowlands, seeking at first nuggets scattered on the ground. When those supplies dwindled, the diggers returned armed with spades and steel spears which they used to locate the buried nuggets of gum.

The region's social life is recounted and discussed against a background of changing economic realities and sporadic provincial and central government interest. Tall Spars, Steamers and Gum is a colourful account of the Kaipara's golden era and beyond to 1947, when the harbour was closed as a port of entry. This is an engaging and readable history, generously illustrated with maps and photographs of the good old days. Soft cover, 248 pages. Published in 1999.

Toss Woollaston: A Life in Letters by Jill Trevelyan. ISBN 978-0-909010-07-2. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price.

Toss Woollaston was among New Zealand’s greatest modernist landscape painters. He was also a passionate diarist and correspondent who wrote about everything: love, sex, God, nature, poetry, friends – and most of all art. The many hundreds of letters here span Woollaston’s entire life. As well as portraying Woollaston himself – candid, opinionated, irreverent, and sometimes caustic – the book illuminates twentieth-century artistic and social life in New Zealand. It includes letters to contemporaries Ursula Bethell, Charles Brasch, Tony Fomison, Colin McCahon, and Michael King, among others. With reproductions of more than 50 artworks, a selection of intimate photographs, and detailed background information, this book is a compelling self-portrait, biography, and historical record.

See: Sage Tea; an autobiography by Toss Woollaston further up this page.

Waiheke Island: A History by Paul Monin. Published by Dunmore Press.  ISBN 0864691580. Recommended retail price $28.

Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf is known by countless New Zealanders as the perfect place for a summer holiday. Yet even to the casual tourist eye, Waiheke’s strategic location close to Auckland and its abundant resources suggest an eventful human history.

Here, over a period of perhaps 800 years, successive Polynesian/Maori people came and settled. Europeans began arriving about 1800, first as visitors and then as settlers. The impact of this settlement on both the tangata whenua and the natural environment is a window on colonial development in New Zealand. Soft cover, 231 pages.

We Will Not Cease: The New Zealand Classic by Archibald Baxter. Published by Eddie Tern Press. ISBN 0960538879. Recommended retail price $11.95.

"This book contains the record of my fight to the utmost against the power of the military.htm machine during the First World War."

Against the backdrop of troops being mindlessly slaughtered at the whim of upper-echelon officers, We Will Not Cease is a story of extreme bravery and ultimate resolve. Archibald Baxter's lonely fight against "the war to end all wars" is a nightmare that Kafka could have penned - except that the story is true.

We Will Not Cease is the epoch record of New Zealander Archibald Baxter's brutal treatment as a conscientious objector. In 1915, when he was 33, Baxter was arrested, sent to prison, then shipped under guard to Europe, where he was forced to the front line against his will. Punished to the limits of his physical and mental endurance, Baxter was stripped of all dignity, beaten, starved, and left for dead. In a final attempt to discredit him, authorities consigned him to a mental institution, an experience that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Long regarded as a classic, this book is as relevant today as it was when first published in 1939. Soft cover, 224 pages. Published in 1980.

With My Camera For Company – adventures & images of a pioneering New Zealand photographerby Diana Rhodes. Published by Hazard Press. ISBN 1877270482. Recommended retail price $24.95.

One hundred years ago, Havelock Williams bought an Underwood Studio Camera and set himself up as a professional photographer.

Born in the North Island in 1884, Williams died in the North Island in 1968, but he spent about half a century as a South Island Cantabrian, and a husband, father, photographer and musician, in what his daughter and biographer Diana Rhodes often calls his first life. Her mother, her four siblings and she all belong to Havelock’s second life, which began in the North Island at a point when most men are considering retirement.

This is an unusual book, because it contains the fascinating stories from Havelock William’s first life, written at the end of his second life. As an old man, he committed these stories to paper in the 1960s but they remained unattended until the 1990s. In the past 10 years Diana has edited, researched and illustrated them, more than one hundred years after the events in the first story took place.

The stories are a mixture of personal reminiscence and New Zealand history, told by one who was not only there, but who recorded it with what he called the third optic – his camera. He must have known that he had captured photographic images of so many of his stories, but it never occurred to him that the pictures could later be located, identified and used to illustrate them. Diana’s undertaking to research, identify and bring the two dimensions together has resulted in a charming and compelling story illustrated with photographs that are in many cases the first of their kind taken in New Zealand, and which provide an extraordinary glimpse into the many realms Williams’ camera took him, from theater to skies over more than fifty years.

Diana Rhodes is an itinerant singing teacher and Musical Director of the Auckland Welsh Choir. She has sung in and directed music for a number of productions of opera and musical theater. Soft cover, 232 pages. Published in 2004.

Woven By Water: Histories from the Whanganui River by David Young. Published by Huia Publishers. ISBN 0908975627. Recommended retail price $35.95.

“The mana of the Maori is by water. No one, here, carrying the same thing that I’m carrying today” TITI TIHU

In living memory, before the Whanganui River became a tawny mass seeming to flow upside down, the river bed was clean stone and the water of the river “…tasted like kowhai. The trees used to grow over the river and drop into the water, and the water tasted like kowhai.”

This is a book of many river people – a ‘hidden’ prophet, living with over a thousand followers at a place now deserted; a Pakeha-Maori, making gunpowder using charcoal made from willows grown from cuttings taken from Napoleon’s grave; a riverboat magnate, building a fiefdom on ‘the Rhine of Maoriland’; a highly decorated soldier, fighting as a kupapa yet fighting for tino rangatiratanga; arsenic and flour poisoners – and always, the river itself. ‘Nga toa phohe e ngari to hoe’

David Young is a respected writer, commentator and journalist. For several years he was deputy editor of the Listener and founding editor of the journal Terra Nova. He is the author of Faces of the River and works independently in the field of history and the environment. Soft cover, 323 pages. Published in 1998.

Wreck of the Penguin,The; New Zealand's Worst 20th Century Shipwreck by Bruce E. Collins. ISBN 1877228281. Published by Steele Roberts Ltd. Recommended retail price $22.95.

New Zealanders vividly remember the Wahine wreck, in which 51 people died. An even more tragic shipwreck occurred 60 years earlier, not far from where the Wahine went down. In 1909 the Penguin sank near Wellington with the loss of 72 lives, among them many women and children.

Until now the full story of this calamity has never been told - the drama and despair of that wild night in Cook Strait and the acts of fortitude and tenacity that ensued. One heroine was Ada Hannam, the only female survivor, who overcame dreadful odds but lost her entire family.

The Penguin has never been found, and mystery surrounds the cause and exact location of the sinking. Was it Thoms Rock, or did the Penguin hit the hulk of the Rio Loge? Was Captain Naylor unfairly blamed for the wreck? Many of the answers are in this book; others lie deep in Cook Strait, waiting to be discovered.

This is Bruce Collins' third maritime book. The first, in 1991, was the dramatic story of the wreck of the sailing ship Surat which has etched its way into Otago folklore. The second, in 1995, was Rocks, Reefs and Sandbars, a definitive history of Otago shipwrecks.

Bruce E. Collins was born in Dunedin in 1952 and educated at Otago Boys High School and Otago University. His other interests include music, sport and his 1951 Royal Enfield motorbike. He is married to Kate and has two adult children. Soft cover, 128 pages. Published in 2000.

Click on links below for these related books

Crew Culture: New Zealand seafarers under sail and steam by Neill Atkinson

Leading Edge, The: A Life in Gliding by Dick Georgeson and Anna Wilson

Merchant of the Zeehaen, The : Isaac Gilsemans and the Voyages of Abel Tasman by Grahame Anderson

My War and Peace by Alec Goldsmith

New Zealand: A Century of Images by Paul Thompson

Slice of Heaven: A family on the move by Martin Thomas

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