NZ Collection Recent Picks

Roses are red, violets are blue, here’s some New Zealand poetry and some other topics too! A mixture of poetry, caravans, horses, New Zealand Women, exploration, jewellery and murder cover some of the variety of topics of the recent arrivals in the New Zealand Collection this month.

Syndetics book coverBeing here : selected poems / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“BEING HERE is the first book to survey the entire span of Vincent O’Sullivan’s poetry, from Bearings (1973) to new poems first published in this volume. On display is the full range of the wit, intellectual agility and arresting beauty of one of New Zealand literature’s finest poets. Hardback, Cover painting by Karl Maughan Vincent O’Sullivan is one of New Zealand’s leading writers, author of the biography of John Mulgan, Long Journey to the Border, the novels Let the River Stand and Believers to the Bright Coast, and many plays and collections of short stories and poems. He is joint editor of the five-volume Letters of Katherine Mansfield and has edited a number of major anthologies. He lives in Dunedin.” (Abridged Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJerusalem sonnets, love, Wellington Zoo / David Beach.
“In his fourth collection David Beach tackles a subject inescapable for any New Zealander writing sonnets; a subject inescapable for any writer of sonnets at all; and a subject which is just inescapable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhistling in the dark / John O’Connor.
“Whistling in the Dark comprises two approximately equal sections: (1) poems and (2) prose poems; both sections were written between 1994 and 2012. The poems cover a range of topics and themes and include ‘Mother and Child’, the winning poem of the Poetry Society’s International Poetry Competition, 2006. All poems have been previously published in magazines, journals and anthologies. The prose poems are, more accurately, a combination of prose poems and hybrid forms of the prose poem. As such they represent a departure from the standard prose poem as found in NZ and international journals and magazines. Again, there is a range of topics and themes and most of the pieces have been previously published in magazines, journals and anthologies. Whistling in the Dark is the 11th book of poems by John O’Connor.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDear Neil Roberts / Airini Beautrais.
“It is November 18, 1982. Neil Ian Roberts is 22 years old. He walks up to the Police Computer Centre in Whanganui, at 12.35am. Who was Neil Roberts? This is the search for the story of a quiet young man, an anarchist, a figure who moves differently, or vanishes altogether, in different versions of history. How are such people remembered; how are they forgotten? As much a work of documentary as poetry, this extraordinary book considers the uncomfortable event of Neil Roberts’s death, its significance in the context of 1980s New Zealand, and how this action has reverberated through others’ lives, including the poet’s own.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA great indoors for the great outdoors : the story of Liteweight caravans / Don Jessen.
“In 1946, a practical-minded New Zealander became interested in caravans as a way of holidaying and decided to build one for his family in his garage. From this humble beginning a story of Kiwi ingenuity emerged, with Liteweight Caravans growing to become an iconic New Zealand brand, which for over four decades led the country, and sometimes the world, in technical design and innovation. Liteweight produced more caravans than any other caravan manufacturer in New Zealand and, today, more than 25 years after the factory closed, the majority of its caravans are still in use. This is a story as much about people as it is of caravans, and the person at the heart of the story is Tek Jessen, Liteweight¿s founder.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBridled passion : a tribute to our Kiwi equestrians / Margot Butcher.
“New Zealand equestrians riding high have become a regular source of pride for Kiwis. Bridled Passion is a beautiful compendium dedicated to celebrating the 30-year success story of New Zealand’s best equestrian sportspeople and their fine-tuned steeds. From 1960 Olympics pioneer Andrew White through to the magic medal-winning moments of Sir Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Sally Clark, Blyth Tait, Tinks Pottinger, Vaughn Jefferis and their contemporaries, this book celebrates New Zealand’s high-performance equestrian story; the riders and horses through whose exploits we have discovered the thrill of a fast, clean cross-country and the agony of a clipped rail!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNiue 1774-1974 : 200 years of contact and change / Margaret Pointer.
“Tiny Niue lies alone in the south Pacific, a single island with formidable cliffs rising from the deep ocean. Far from the main shipping routes and with a daunting reputation, “Savage Island” did not naturally invite visitors. Yet Niue has a surprisingly rich history of contact, from the brief landings by James Cook in 1774 through to the 19th-century visits by whalers, traders, and missionaries, and into the 20th century when New Zealand extended its territory to include the Cook Islands and Niue. Using a wide range of archival material from Niue, New Zealand, Australia, and Britain, Margaret Pointer places Niue center stage in an entertaining and thoroughly readable account of this island nation through to 1974, when Niue became self-governing.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKobi Bosshard : goldsmith / Damian Skinner.
“A survey of the work and ideas of a leading New Zealand jeweller who has been critical to the development of studio craft in Aotearoa. Born in Switzerland, Kobi Bosshard came to New Zealand in 1961. His expertise as a traditionally trained goldsmith is centre stage in this beautifully illustrated book, which is published as part of Objectspace’s Masters of Craft series. Written by art historian Damian Skinner, it provides a perceptive and informative discussion of Bosshard’s life and work, describing over five decades of contemporary jewellery that explores the possibilities of the craftsperson’s role in creating sophisticated and unique objects for people to wear and own.” (Inside front cover)

Syndetics book coverDumont d’Urville : explorer & polymath / Edward Duyker.
“Explorer Jules-Sébastien-César Dumont d’Urville (1790-1842) is sometimes called France’s Captain Cook. Born less than a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, he lived through turbulent times. He was an erudite polymath: a maritime explorer fascinated by botany, entomology, ethnography and the diverse languages of the world.” (Dust jacket)

Syndetics book coverAll those yesterdays / Elspeth Biss. “This is a story many New Zealand women – particularly those who grew up in the country – will identify with. Elspeth Biss was brought up on Hawke’s Bay farms in the 1940’s; attended boarding school in the 1950’s; trained as a nurse, married and had her children in the 1960’s. As she writes: The 1960’s may well have been ‘The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius’, as the popular song had it, with the Beatles, Mary Quant and the mini-skirt, but for me and most of my friends it was a decade of child raising, washing nappies, Plunket and kindergartens.” (Abridged Back Cover)

Syndetics book coverMurder that wasn’t : the case of George Gwaze / Felicity Goodyear-Smith.
“This book tells the story of the case of Zimbabwean-born New Zealand resident George Gwaze, twice charged and twice acquitted of the rape and murder of his 10-year-old adopted niece, Charlene Makaza. When Charlene was found unconscious one morning, gasping for breath, with a high fever and lying in a pool of diarrhea, her family rushed her to the Christchurch 24-hour clinic. She was treated for overwhelming sepsis and transferred to the hospital, but sadly her life could not be saved. What unfolds next is a surreal set of events so improbable that they seem fictitious. Murder That Wasn’t meticulously explores the facts surrounding this case based on scientific, medical, and court records and individual interviews to tell this family’s extraordinary story.” (Syndetics summary)