Always eclectic, new additions to the New Zealand Collection this month feature stories from a museum curator, a kiwi sanctuary, photography, poetry, the sad history of post war state care of children and lastly a murder mystery. The new book shelves of the NZ Collection have something to interest everyone.
The unburnt egg : more stories of a museum curator / Brian Gill.
“Museum natural history collections have been called libraries of life. In The Unburnt Egg Brian Gill continues his spellbinding stories from more than thirty years as a curator. Some tales are so bizarre they read like fiction: a population of ship rats decimating the entire wildlife of an island and then collapsing; birds leaving their young to be raised by other birds; frogs and lizards living in trees and flying. Others reveal the painstaking detective work involved in solving mysteries presented by police, biosecurity agencies, government departments and members of the public. Frogs’ legs on sale as chicken, a feather hidden in a bag of sugar, a live boa constrictor on a street in snake-free New Zealand–it’s all in a day’s work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Project Kiwi : how one man’s passion for the land hatched New Zealand’s first community kiwi sanctuary/ Sue Hoffart.
“Project Kiwi is New Zealand’s first community-led kiwi conservation project, on the Coromandel Peninsula.” (Syndetics summary)
Through the eyes of a miner : the photography of Joseph Divis / Simon Nathan ; with assistance from Les Wright and Brendon Wilshire.
“Joseph Divis (1885-1967) photographed life in New Zealand mining towns where he lived and worked between 1909 and 1935. His images provide a unique record of life in some small communities, especially the now-abandoned town of Waiuta, near Reefton.” (Introduction)
The road to hell : state violence against children in postwar New Zealand / Elizabeth Stanley.
“From the 1950s to the 1980s, the New Zealand government took more than 100,000 children from experiences of strife, neglect, poverty or family violence and placed them under state care in residential facilities. In homes like Epuni and Kingslea, Kohitere and Allendale, the state took over as parent. The state failed. Within institutions, children faced abysmal conditions, limited education and social isolation. They endured physical, sexual and psychological violence, as well as secure cells, knock-out sedatives and electro-convulsive therapy. This book tells the story of 105 New Zealanders who experienced this mass institutionalisation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Dark days at the Oxygen Café / James Norcliffe.
“James Norcliffe is one of New Zealand’s most widely published and anthologised poets. In Dark Days at the Oxygen Cafe, he looks over the shoulders of many characters and creatures, both real and imagined, and takes us deep into uncanny valleys. Poems about Seneca and James Dean sit alongside poems about a Turken dictator and an owl man. We share in a portentous UFO sighting, a small celebration for Laika the space dog, and Peter the Great being offered an Air New Zealand lolly. These scenes from myth, history, pop culture and personal experience make for a wryly funny, deeply felt collection that contemplates the quirks of shared and personal histories.” (Syndetics summary)
Nothing for it but to sing : poems / Michael Harlow.
“Michael Harlow’s poems are small detonations that release deeply complex stories of psychological separations and attractions, of memory and desire. Frequently they slip into the alluring spaces just at the edges of language, dream and gesture, as they carefully lower, like measuring gauges, into the ineffable: intimations of mortality, the slippery nature of identity, longing, fear … This is a beautifully honed new collection.” (Syndetics summary)
Mister Hamilton / John Dickson.
“Mister Hamilton, John Dickson’s first collection in eighteen years, is an appealing, questioning mix of elements. Over a base of South Island bedrock (granite, schist, greywacke), Dickson has peopled this quietly fiery collection with day-to-day working voices and narratives, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes charged with a political consciousness and lyrical intensity. Shot-through with veins of jazz, rock and blues, quizzical religiosity and a streak of the absurd, this book takes a fresh look at the streets and lawns and people of urban and suburban ‘Pig Island’ and offers some thoughtful, wisely pitched and immensely likeable poems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The black widow : how one woman got justice for her murdered brother / by Lee-Anne Cartier.
“The Black Widow almost got away with murder. But then her sister-in-law became suspicious… The infamous Black Widow case shocked the nation. An average-looking suburban housewife carefully staged her husband’s ‘suicide’. At first it looked like she might get away with murder, but then her sister-in-law, Lee-Anne Cartier, became suspicious and started gathering evidence and presenting it to the police. Helen Milner, who became known as the Black Widow, was eventually convicted of murder and is now serving out her sentence in Arohata Prison. This book tells how Lee-Anne persevered and put together many strands of information to crack the case wide open.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)