Category: Recent picks

New Zealand’s history, not just the rich and famous

The past stories and history of New Zealand are not only the domain of the rich and famous. This month in the New Zealand collection we feature some stories of early pioneers whose names are not famous or well known but who played their part in the history of New Zealand.

Syndetics book coverOur stories : the way we used to be : the New Zealand that time forgot… / edited by Ian Wishart.
Every day, thousands of news stories are published in New Zealand, chronicling the big events and the small. Most of these stories are long forgotten by the time historians get around to compiling the ‘official record’ of our country. Discover the heroes and villains of our past through long forgotten news stories, and find out how life really was in pioneer New Zealand. (Adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverWorking lives c. 1900 : a photographic essay / Erik Olssen.
For the men and women of the skilled trades in the early 20th century, the skills and knowledge of their respective crafts were a source of identity and pride. Together with the so-called unskilled, who built the infrastructure for the new society, these workers laid the cultural and social foundations of a new and fairer society. This book uses photographs to show two processes fundamental to creating a new society: the transformation of swamp into farmland then city-scape, and the transplantation of the knowledge and skill required in the Old World that were essential to building a new world. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRough on women : abortion in 19th-century New Zealand / by Margaret Sparrow.
“Stories of abortion in 19th-century New Zealand, from newspaper accounts, court records and coroner’s reports”–Publisher information. The women in this book are all long dead and little is known of their inner lives. Most of what we know about them comes from coroners’ reports and newspaper accounts, and in many cases we know more about their abortionists than the women themselves. Women obtained abortions by whatever means they could, despite the dangers of poisoning, haemorrhage, and infection. And abortionists did their work despite the threat of long prison sentences or even the death penalty. (Adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverStolen lives : a New Zealand foster child’s story from the ’40s and ’50s / Netta England.
Netta and her older brother Ray hardly knew their mother. She was a strange woman who made occasional visits, and they did not even know they had a Father. Instead from a very early age they lived with foster parents and at school were treated as different. Growing up, Netta became increasingly aware that her foster mother disliked her. Though never starved, Netta suffered neglect, as well as mental, physical and sexual abuse. After her brother’s death in 1976, Netta, by then married with a grown up family, began her long journey to learn about and understand what had happened in the past. She wanted to find out if somewhere out there was a family, her own family that she could belong to. How would she find them, and would they want to know her? She needed to find her roots. Stolen Lives is the record of Netta’s journey from a neglected and abused state ward, to a woman who discovers her heritage and creates a positive life regardless of her upbringing. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPete the Bushman : hunting tales and back-country lessons from a wild West Coaster / Peter Salter with Nigel Zega.
The adventures of Pete the Bushman, a wild West-coaster from Pukekura, New Zealand’s answer to Crocodile Dundee and a man who owns his own town. This book about a true New Zealand bushman, of a life lived against the grain, of adventure in New Zealand’s thickest wilderness and a lifestyle any Kiwi bloke would envy. Pete the Bushman has lived a life inseparable from the bush – these are his stories of running down deer on foot, heli-hunting in his own chopper, finding the perfect woman and eking out a living from the bush. He and his wife Justine run the Bushman’s Centre, 35 mins south of Hokitika, established in 1991 as a place to show visitors how local people use the South Island forest. Also known as ‘Possum Pete’, the Bushman is one of the eccentric and colourful characters featured on TVNZ’s ‘This Town’. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVertical living : the Architectural Centre and the remaking of Wellington / Julia Gatley and Paul Walker.
“… we of this Architectural Centre in Wellington are a group of architects and draughtsmen and wood engravers and other people whose greatest claim to affiliation is an overriding enthusiasm for good design” – Design Review, 1948. In 1946, just as the Group was being established in Auckland, Wellington established the Architectural Centre. Members of both were young and idealistic, and they shared common beliefs – in the transformative potential of modern architecture, in need for urban development to be carefully controlled, in the desirability of planning for a better future. This book recovers the powerful history, politics and architecture of the Architectural Centre to return us to a vision of a modernist city, partially realised in Wellington New Zealand. Gatley and Walker begin writing the city back into the history of architecture in this country. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJourney to a hanging / Peter Wells.
“In 1865, Rev Carl Sylvius Volkner was hanged, his head cut off, his eyes eaten and his blood drunk from his church chalice. One name – Kereopa Te Rau (Kaiwhatu: The Eye-eater) – became synonymous with the murder. In 1871 he was captured, tried and sentenced to death. But then something remarkable happened. Sister Aubert and William Colenso – two of the greatest minds in colonial New Zealand – came to his defence. Regardless, Kereopa Te Rau was hanged in Napier Prison. But even a century and a half later, the events have not been laid to rest. Questions continue to emerge: Was it just? Was it right? Was Kereopa Te Rau even behind the murder? And who was Volkner – was he a spy or an innocent?” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverHow we remember : New Zealanders and the First World War / edited by Charles Ferrall and Harry Ricketts.
“Essays by a raft of historians, writers and other prominent figures reflect on our different forms of remembering and re-membering, what we have cherished and valued, forgotten and ignored, constructed and reframed” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverVictory : New Zealand airmen and the fall of Germany / Max Lambert.
“Here are the vivid, inspiring and previously unpublished stories of the New Zealand fliers – most in their early 20s, some still teenagers – who lived and died in the service of their country while flying with the Royal Air Force from bases in Britain and from airfields in northwest Europe after the invasion of 1944, published to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D Day and the beginning of the end of World War II” (Publisher information)

Recently added to the New Zealand Reference Collection

The days are getting shorter and evening time is here. So it’s the perfect time to come up to the 2nd floor of the Central Library and check out the “new book” area of the New Zealand Reference Collection. Always eclectic and something for everyone.

Syndetics book coverWhales and dolphins of Aotearoa New Zealand.
“For centuries whales and dolphins have captured our imaginations. We have revered and mythologised them, hunted them to the brink of extinction and passionately protected them . But how much do we really know? Marine mammal expert Barbara Todd uses a powerful combination of science and culture to explore whales’ incredible diversity, biology and adaptation to life in the oceans.” (abridged from jacket cover)

Syndetics book coverLazy days : painting the Kiwi lifestyle / Graham Young.
Join artist Graham Young on a painted journey through everyday life in New Zealand” (back cover)

Syndetics book coverVisible : 60 women at 60 / photography by Jenny O’Connor.
“Photographer Jenny O’Connor was born in 1952, the year that the highest number of births was recorded in New Zealand. She, and the women who feature in Visible, are part of the ‘baby boom’ generation. In 2011, as Jenny headed toward her 60th birthday in 2012, she began to wonder how other women nearing this same milestone felt about themselves, how society saw them and what their thoughts about their future were. Jenny’s desire to explore these questions was how this book began; by talking to 60 women who were 60 when she took their photograph. The words are theirs, writing whatever each wanted to say about themselves.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond the state : New Zealand state houses from modest to modern / text, Bill McKay and Andrea Stevens ; photography Simon Devitt.
“A full colour illustrated history of New Zealand’s state housing traditions featuring modern-day examples of 14 state houses located around the country, ranging from original to dramatically renovated.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverPaul Callaghan : luminous moments / foreword by Catherine Callaghan.
“Acknowledged internationally for his ground-breaking scientific research in the field of magnetic resonance, Sir Paul Callaghan was a scientist and visionary with a rare gift for promoting science to a wide audience. He was named New Zealander of the Year in 2011. His death in early 2012 robbed New Zealand of an inspirational leader. Paul Callaghan: Luminous Moments brings together some of his most significant writing. Whether he describes his childhood in Wanganui, reflects on discovering the beauty of science, sets out New Zealand’s future potential or discusses the experience of fatherhood, Sir Paul Callaghan offers eloquent narratives that will endure in this country’s literature. Meeting with the cancer that ended his life, he documents for us all ways of living well in the face of illness. As his daughter Catherine writes in her moving foreword: ‘He became his own scientific experiment.” (publisher desription)

Syndetics book coverJoan Bullock Morrell, sculptor / [edited with introduction by] Valerie Cowan.
“Joan Bullock Morrell is an artist of international repute and one of New Zealand’s foremost bronze sculptors. After being awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal in recognition of services to the country, she received a QSM in 1995 for her work in the community. Joan has created an extensive body of work in her 45-year career. Many are works of self-expression, but she has also been in demand to produce pieces for private collections and for display in public places, and has been exhibited in New Zealand and overseas. This book, profusely illustrated with examples of Joan’s work, examines the inspiration for each sculpture and gives the reader an insight into the creative process of bronze casting.” (publisher desription)

Syndetics book coverFitz : the colonial adventures of James Edward FitzGerald / Jenifer Roberts.
“The story of James Edward FitzGerald, whose energy and enthusiasm contributed so much to the early history of Christchurch. Orator, writer, politician and journalist, he was the first Canterbury Pilgrim to set foot in New Zealand, first superintendent of the province of Canterbury, first leader of the general government, and founder of the Press newspaper. From his early years in the Anglo-Irish gentry of England to his old age as auditor-general of the colony, FITZ is a gripping biography that reads like a novel, breathing new life into the extraordinary man who played a major role in public life through fifty years of New Zealand history.” (back cover)

Katherine Mansfield and the big OE

For many kiwis the big OE is a right of passage, it is almost a qualification and wouldn’t look out of place on a curriculum vitae. During the 19th and early 20th century many New Zealanders viewed Britain as home even though they had never been there. This has continued and London is usually the home base and trips to Europe aretaken as soon as enough money is earned. Arriving in the NZ Collection this month Flying Kiwis A History of the OE Jude Wilson provides a history of the Kiwi OE. Also new this month is a book by Kirsty Gunn about her experience of returning to Wellington and her time spent writing at Katherine Mansfield house. This got me thinking about how Mansfield was of course one of New Zealand’s most famous OE travellers. So I have also included some of the titles that Kirsty had in her bibliography as a celebration of Mansfield and of course the OE.

Syndetics book coverFlying Kiwis : a history of the OE / Jude Wilson.
“Leaving home to see the world is something that succeeding generations of young New Zealanders have done in ever-increasing numbers. The ‘overseas experience,’ or the ‘OE,’ has been the topic of countless individual travel accounts, and has provided subject matter for plays, films, and novels. Until now, there hasn’t been a history of the OE. Based on the oral accounts of several hundred travelers across all seven decades of the OE, this vibrant history shows how the OE has changed over time. Well illustrated with the ephemera of popular culture surrounding youth travel, Flying Kiwis traces the emergence of the OE, as well as the transport, media, and other networks that have supported it. Laced with humor and entertaining anecdotes, Flying Kiwis is an essential read for anyone who has arrived in a foreign city with only a few dollars and the address of a friend’s cousin.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThorndon : Wellington and home : my Katherine Mansfield project / Kirsty Gunn.
“For London-based writer Kirsty Gunn, returning to the city of her birth to spend a winter in a tiny colonial cottage in Thorndon is an exciting opportunity to walk the very streets and hills that Katherine Mansfield left behind on her departure from New Zealand, but later longed to revisit. For Mansfield, Gunn writes, home was an instant ‘go-to’ zone for invention and narrative and characterisation and setting. For Gunn, home is now two places – Here and there the same place after all.” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverKatherine Mansfield’s New Zealand / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“A stunning, fully illustrated guide to the country and times that shaped our greatest short story writer — a feast of images and relevant excerpts from Mansfield’s stories and journals. Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington in 1888 and died in France in 1923, regarded as one of the finest short story writers of her time. Her country of birth, initially a source of frustration for her, in time came to influence her writing. From Kezia’s Karori journey in Prelude, to the landscape of The Woman at the Store, the images of colonial New Zealand are a distinctive and compelling part of Katherine Mansfield’s writing.” (abridged Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand stories / Katherine Mansfield ; selected by Vincent O’Sullivan.
“A collection of Mansfield’s short stories set in New Zealand, selected by Vincent O’Sullivan, and published in the order in which they were written. An introduction by the editor is followed by 29 stories and unfinished sketches written between 1905 (About Pat) and 1922 (The Canary).” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Katherine Mansfield notebooks / edited by Margaret Scott.
“The first of two volumes of the first publication of Mansfield’s private notebooks including diary entries, letters, unfinished works, poems, published stories in embryo form, recipes, and shopping lists. This volume covers Mansfield’s childhood and adolescence, and the cover features photographs of the 46 notebooks in the collection of The Alexander Turnbull Library.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKatherine Mansfield : a secret life / Claire Tomalin.
“British biographer Tomalin (Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft) here reinterprets the life and career of the great New Zealand-born short story writer and her relationships with family and friends. Writing from a perspective different from that of previous biographers Antony Alpers and Jeffrey Meyers, and allowed to examine letters not available to them, she is less sympathetic than they to John Middleton Murry and more appreciative of D. H. Lawrence’s importance to Mansfield.” (abridged Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe collected letters of Katherine Mansfield / edited by Vincent O’Sullivan and Margaret Scott.
“The second installment in the projected five-volume edition of the correspondence of one of the most significant twentieth-century short-story writers. During the months covered here, Mansfield was battling the lung disease that would eventually kill her; she was in and out of England, seeking warmer climates, and as a consequence was often separated from her husband, critic John Middleton Murray. Loneliness, ill health, her work, her moods these preoccupations come across in her letters with the same sort of rigorous insouciance that characterizes her incomparable short fiction. Even in an informal piece of correspondence, Mansfield could not fail to be incisive and eloquent. These letters are essential reading for anyone interested in twentieth-century literature.” (abridged Syndetics Summary)

I want to live in a lighthouse!: New Zealand Collection Spotlight

Growing up I always thought how wonderful it would be to live in a lighthouse. The images of a lighthouse recklessly sitting on a lonely rock, with giant waves crashing all around never failed to grab my attention. While at the beach I would be daydreaming of long climbs up spiral staircases to be rewarded with views of seascape stretching out forever. When I heard the call of seabirds I would be imagining opening the lighthouse door to my very own and very private front yard fishing spot where I could drop my line and minutes later be frying up fresh tamure for breakfast. These daydreams all came back to me when the beautiful new book Lights in the landscape: New Zealand Lighthouses arrived onto the New Zealand Collection desk this month. My pick is the Moeraki Totara and Kauri lighthouse but for location I’d have to say Kahurangi Point perfectly positioned at the river mouth. Which lighthouse would all you other wistfull lighthouse fanciers out there choose?

Syndetics book coverLights in the landscape : New Zealand lighthouses / photographs [and text] by Grant Sheehan.
“A spectacular photographic journey from New Zealand’s most northern lighthouse at Cape Reinga, to our most southern, in Foveaux Strait. The book shows not only the lighthouses themselves but also the landscape around them, capturing the wild beauty of the coastline, the often unpredictable weather and the wildlife that live in these, mostly isolated areas. Accompanying the photographs is text giving a short history, with technical details for lighthouses still operational.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLady Luck : conversations with creative New Zealand women / by Mariana Collette & Lisette Prendergast ; photography by Susannah Tucker ; illustrations by Connie McDonald ; design by Ceire Hopley.
Lady Luck : conversations with creative New Zealand women is a book delving into the lives of creative women from variety of disciplines. What does it mean to be a creative women in New Zealand? Featuring Ladi6, Gala Darling, Hinemoana Baker and heaps more!” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverA New Zealand book of beasts : animals in our culture, history and everyday life / Annie Potts, Philip Armstrong, Deidre Brown.
“A New Zealand Book of Beasts is a groundbreaking examination of the interactions between humans and ‘nonhuman animals’ – both real and imagined – in New Zealand’s arts and literature. In examining through literature, art and culture the ways New Zealanders use and abuse, shape and are shaped by, glorify and co-opt, and describe and imagine animals, the authors tell us a great deal about our society and culture: how we understand our own identities and those of others; how we regard, inhabit and make use of the natural world; and how we think about what to buy, eat, wear, watch and read. This is an engaging, original and scholarly rigorous book of cultural criticism and a thoughtful addition to New Zealand literature.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBringing back the birdsong : two dedicated conservationists work to restore the natural balance to their slice of coastal New Zealand / Wade and Jan Doak.
“Diver, undersea explorer and passionate conservationist Wade Doak has lived near the Tutukaka coast with wife Jan since 1968. Well known for his pioneering dives at the Poor Knights Islands off the coast of Whangarei, Wade has gradually shifted his focus over the years from the sea to the land. This book is a plea for the conservation and protection of New Zealand’s wildernesses, reiterating the challenge made by Sir Paul Callaghan: can we eradicate pests throughout our island nation? On a small scale, Wade and Jan Doak show that yes, it can be done.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverEcosanctuaries : communities building a future for New Zealand’s threatened ecologies / Diane Campbell-Hunt ; with Colin Campbell-Hunt.
“Over the past ten years, many communities around New Zealand have launched ambitious projects to bring back the country’s native ecologies. Diane Campbell-Hunt was two years into a study of the long-term sustainability of these ventures when she was tragically killed in an accident in 2008. After Diane’s death, her husband Colin took up the challenge to write up her research, and Ecosanctuaries is the result.” (Abridged from Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHe papakupu reo ture = A dictionary of Māori legal terms / general editors: Māmari Stephens, Mary Boyce.
“New Zealand’s legal history is bilingual. From the earliest missionary-led translations of the New Testament in the early nineteenth century, the Maori language has been used to communicate Western legal ideas. Nearly two centuries later there now exists a significant legal vocabulary in Maori that has much to teach scholars of law and language in New Zealand about the intersection between Maori and Pakeha legal thinking and expression. This dictionary captures something of that unique intersection, drawing its entries and usage examples from the Legal Maori Corpus, a digitised collection of thousands of pages of legal and law-related texts in the Maori language dating from between 1828 and 2009.” (Syndetics)

Fabulous Frocks: New Zealand History Recent Picks for January

At first glance the title of this post does not make much sense, as you scroll down through the book titles depicting pig hunting and hunting with helicopters, lost gold and lost heritage in forgotten landmarks. Keep scrolling and you will see the Hawkes Bay Maraekakaho sheep and cattle station and then on to unique motorbike collections, the first New Zealand craft beer, and finally Dolphins of Aotearoa. The last title is a book called Women of Substance, unfortunately we have no cover image but with the tagline “the Otago women who wore fabulous frocks,” it is my pick of the bunch and why it gets the mention in the title. It tells the story of 39 dresses featured in an exhibition at the Otago Settlers museum. Each frock dating from 1859 to the late 1880s is photgraphed and described in detail and with a short biography of its wearer gives an insight into the life and times of these women.

Syndetics book coverThe black singlet brigade : tales of adventure in the NZ bush / Tony Walsh
“Tony Walsh was first introduced to NZ’s bush clad ranges, to pig hunting and some life-defining experiences by Ned Tuite, whose usual attire was a black woollen bush singlet and a pair of khaki shorts suspended from a thin leather belt. Through Ned, Tony met a band of those iconic good keen men of an era now past, and began a journey of experiences he will never forget. There were the likes of ugly Eddie, who ate all the pigs’ ears; Jack, who thought the ghosts were after him after a midnight tumble down the hill; or Charlie, who didn’t know whether to mash his spuds before or after they were cooked. Men whose characters were as colourful and multifaceted as the forests and mountains they came from. The Black Singlet Brigade is a memoir written with eloquence and a dash of humour at every turn. It combines the untamed beauty of the wild with hilarious adventures and unique characters to build a picture of a life long gone, in the bush and back-country of New Zealand.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverInjun Joe : the legend of Smoking Joe Collins / Marion Day.
“This is the life story of Injun Joe, born Wellwyn Harris Collins in 1950. Joe became well known as an elite hunter-helicopter pilot, one of New Zealand’s most dangerous occupations of the time, in what is now known as The Last Great Adventure.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverLost Gold : the 100-year search for the gold reef of Northwest Nelson / Paul Bensemann.
“As a young man in the mid-1970s, Paul Bensemann was told an archetypal ‘lost gold’ story by his neighbour, a tobacco farmer in the Motueka Valley on the edge of what is now Kahurangi National Park. The story concerned an old prospector who had found a huge exposed gold reef, shining in the sun, deep in the mountain wilderness of Northwest Nelson. Just before he died, the prospector drew a map, and to Paul’s amazement his neighbour then produced the old, tatty, hand-drawn map, which had been handed down to him from his father. Lost Gold follows the many twists and turns of this 105-year-old story, and tries to explain why the reef has never been rediscovered. But in the end, whether or not the reef exists is only part of the story, and perhaps the bigger treasure here is the real tale of men in pursuit of their own El Dorado.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand’s lost heritage : the stories behind our forgotten landmarks / Richard Wolfe.
“Features 20 notable structures which, for various reasons, no longer exist. Most of the buildings have been demolished in the name of urban development, creating controversy. Each building is discussed and illustrated including the circumstances of its demise. The selection includes: Ruapekapeka Pa in Northland (burned down deliberately), Admiralty House in Auckland (demolished to make way for new roads) Wellington’s Parliament Buildings (accidental fire) Invercargill’s Seacliff Asylum (fire), TJ Edmonds landmark factory (bulldozed). What emerges is a fascinating social and historical narrative that sheds light on parts of New Zealand’s cultural history and reveals the truth of the old adage that history repeats.” (Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverA changing land : Sir Donald McLean’s Maraekakaho, 1857 to today / Alan Scarfe.
“The first two parts tell the story of the development of Hawke’s Bay Maraekakaho, one of the country’s largest and most iconic sheep and cattle stations which was established by Donald McLean and then further developed by his son Douglas McLean. The final part of A Changing Land traces how much of Maraekakaho has evolved into a varied patchwork of stock and cropping farms, vineyards, smallholdings, olive groves, alpaca farms and tree plantations over the last century.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverKiwi bike culture : unique motorbike collections / Steve Holmes.
“Delves into the love affair New Zealanders have with their motorbikes. From Harley-Davidsons to Vespas, and everything in between, this book is about the men and women whose lives revolve, in some way, around two-wheeled machinery.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe McCashin’s story and the Kiwi brewing revolution it sparked / John McCrystal & Simon Farrell-Green.
“The craft beer industry is one of New Zealand’s local business success stories, and it’s thriving. It all began with Terry McCashin establishing Mac’s Ale back in the 1980s. This book tells the story of the entrepreneurial McCashin family and the challenges they’ve faced over the years. They’re now rebuilding their brand with new beers such as Stoke, and a highly successful range of ciders. It also includes general craft beer information such as: What makes a craft beer; how beer gets made; a day in the life of McCashins; how to drink beer; what sort of glass to use; what different styles mean; the difference between an ale and a lager. Plus: Nelson: The craft beer capital. What has made Nelson such an extraordinary place for craft beer? The book includes short profiles on each of the breweries, pubs and cafes on the trail and the remarkable story of New Zealand hops and how they’ve supported Nelson and New Zealand’s craft beer revolution.” (Adapted from publisher information)

Syndetics book coverDolphins of Aotearoa : living with New Zealand dolphins / Raewyn Peart. “Dolphins of Aotearoa explores the ongoing relationship between humans and dolphins in New Zealand. Over this nation’s rich history, numerous people, both Maori and Pakeha, have sought out dolphins and significant numbers of dolphins have sought out people. This book tells the stories of many of these remarkable encounters. Importantly, Dolphins of Aotearoa also summarises the work of the dedicated scientists and researchers who over recent decades have learnt so much about our dolphins. Extensively researched and lavishly illustrated with historic and contemporary photographs, and incorporating a guide to all of the dolphins of New Zealand.” (Syndetics summary)

Women of substance : the Otago women who wore “fabulous frocks” / Seán G. Brosnahan.
“Fabulous Frocks was the title of an exhibition held at the Otago Settlers Museum in 2003. The exhibition presented 39 dresses from the Museum’s costume collection worn by nineteenth-century Otago women. A la mode in the mud: The colonial pursuit of fashion. The colonists’ dream: Genteel, respectable and upwardly mobile. In search of the women behind the dresses. (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

December Gardening Picks

Amongst this month’s new garden book picks In the Garden was a standout. This beautifully illustrated book cleverly introduces some of our iconic native flora and fauna in a very accessible way.  In the practical gardening tips department  there is advice on how to rejig and refresh existing plant arrangements rather than starting from scratch which is also appealing.

Syndetics book coverIn the garden : explore & discover the New Zealand backyard / Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler.
In the Garden introduces young children to common creatures they can find in a New Zealand garden.  The book describes their relationship with other living things, and includes many interesting and intriguing facts. This book encourages children aged 4-8 to explore their gardens and discover the plants and animals that live there, with sections on bees, wasps and flies; butterflies and moths; snails and spiders; lizards, mammals and birds. Aimed at children from pre-schoolers and up, the book will also appeal to anyone who is curious about the wild side of New Zealand gardens.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRefresh your garden design with color, texture & form / Rebecca Sweet.
“This book is packed with advice on how to wake up boring garden beds, ways to make a cramped garden feel bigger and also ideas on how to  bring a sense of intimacy to an expansive area. If you are needing ideas on how to downplay eyesores, or need to create a certain mood this you will find suggestions on which plants to keep and which to pull, and also how to  thoughtfully integrate hardscaping, structures and accessories.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeatrix Potter’s gardening life : the plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tales / Marta McDowell.
“There aren’t many books more beloved than The Tale of Peter Rabbit and even fewer authors as iconic as Beatrix Potter.  Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District.  Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhy can’t my garden look like that? : proven, easy ways to make a beautiful garden of your own / John Shortland.
“John Shortland demonstrates just how easy it is to make adjustments to what is already there to make your garden stunning, whatever its size. Whether it’s an issue with design, plant selection or pruning – or even lack of time – simple solutions are described in clear language that will appeal both to the complete novice and those with more experience.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAustralian coastal gardens / Myles Baldwin, photography by Sue Stubbs.
“The coastal gardens of Australia are as varied as the geography of this vast continent itself. Join Myles Baldwin as he travels around the country, from the gentle landscape of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and the sheer cliffs of Sydney’s Dover Heights to an old copper mining town in South Australia and beyond.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe essential Audrey Eagle : botanical art of New Zealand.
“Presents more than 150 paintings of our most loved native plants, from every major genus. The beautiful full-colour plates are accompanied by detailed notes, and a fresh introduction tells the story of Audrey Eagle and sets her place in the history of botanical illustration of New Zealand’s unique native flora” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe biodynamic orchard book / Ehrenfried Pfeiffer and Michael Maltas.
” This book brings together the best advice for cultivating fruit trees, berries and shrubs using biodynamic methods, with the aim of harvesting healthy fruit free of pesticides.This is an invaluable book with practical advice on all aspects of planning and maintaining a healthy orchard.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGrow your own plants / [Alan Titchmarsh].
“By using a variety of simple propagation techniques you can learn how to grow your own plants for free. Alan Titchmarsh shows how to sow seed, take leaf and root cuttings, divide shrubs, and how to promote growth in your young plants. He covers all the essentials and provides inspirational ideas for filling your garden with flowers, shrubs, trees and vegetables, all grown from scratch.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBackyard foraging : 65 familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat / Ellen Zachos.
“You don’t need to trek into the forest to forage edible plants. Ideal for first-time foragers, this book features 70 edible weeds, flowers, mushrooms, and ornamental plants typically found in urban or suburban neighborhoods. You’ll be amazed by how many of the plants you see each day are actually nutritious edibles. Full-color photographs make identification easy, and tips on where certain plants are likely to be found, how to avoid pollution and pesticides, and how to recognize the plants you should NEVER harvest make foraging as safe and simple as stepping into your own backyard.” (Syndetics summary)

New to the NZ Collection

Animals, plants, politics and poetry feature this month in the New Zealand collection.

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand inventory of biodiversity / edited by Dennis P. Gordon.
“Appropriate for advanced high school and college students as well as working scientists, this intriguing guide is the first of three volumes that will chart the progress of a scientific inventory of New Zealand’s living and fossilized biodiversity. An international effort involving more than 220 New Zealand specialists, this project, when completed, will include every one of the almost 55,000 known species of animals, plants, fungi, and micro-organisms in the country. Part of Species 2000, an international scientific project, the long-term goal is to enumerate all known species on earth into one seamless list called the Catalog of Life, which will function as an online biological catalog. To date, only New Zealand has compiled a checklist of its entire biota.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn extraordinary land : discoveries and mysteries from wild New Zealand / written by Peter Hayden ; photographs by Rod Morris.
“Our isolation has been a huge advantage. It turned New Zealand into a wild laboratory where evolution could conduct experiments that lead to weird and wonderful outcomes like the kakpo and the giant weta. It was also a museum, where ancient creatures could exist long after their kind disappeared from the rest of the world. More recently, scientists are discovering how little we know about species we thought we knew so well. An Extraordinary Land brings us up to date with these discoveries and gives us a snapshot of what makes New Zealand wildlife unique”–Jacket flap.

Syndetics book coverHis own steam : the work of Barry Brickell / with essays by David Craig & Gregory O’Brien and new photography by Haruhiko Sameshima.
“Potter extraordinaire, conservationist, railway enthusiast and iconoclast Barry Brickell is one of New Zealand’s most important ceramicists … In essays by David Craig and Gregory O’Brien and with both newly commissioned photographs by Haru Sameshima and historic images, His Own Steam: The Work of Barry Brickell charts Brickell’s career in its entirety and in the context of his life and times, timed to coincide with a survey exhibition of the same name at The Dowse Art Museum”–Publisher information.

Syndetics book coverSewing freedom : Philip Josephs, transnationalism & early New Zealand anarchism / Jared Davidson ; [foreword by Barry Bateman ; illustrations by Alec Icky Dunn].
“Davidson has produced much more than a soundly researched and very engaging biography… this is an excellent, wide-ranging contribution to our knowledge of the international (and indeed transnational) anarchist movement, and sweeps us along in a fascinating story that takes us from the pogroms in Russian Latvia, to the working-class slums of Victorian Glasgow, to the early struggles of the nascent labour movement in New Zealand.”–Dr David Berry, author of “A History of the French Anarchist Movement” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverParadise past : the transformation of the South Pacific, 1520-1920 / Robert W. Kirk.
“In the 400 years from Magellan’s entrance into Pacific waters to 1920, the lives of the people of the South Pacific were utterly transformed. Exotic diseases from Europe and America, particularly the worldwide influenza pandemic, were deadly for islanders. Ardent missionaries changed the belief systems and lives of nearly all Polynesians, Aborigines, and those Papuans and Melanesians living in areas accessible to westerners. By 1920 every island and atoll in the South Seas had been claimed as a colony or protectorate of a power such as Britain, France or the United States. Factors aiding this imperial sweep included European outposts such as Sydney, advances in maritime technology, the work of missionaries, a desire to profit from the area’s relatively sparse resources, and international rivalry that led to the scramble for colonies. The coming of westerners, as this book points out, was not entirely negative, as head-hunting, cannibalism, chronic warfare, human sacrifice, and other practices were diminished–but whole cultures were irreversibly changed or even eradicated.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Judas tree : poems / by Lorna Staveley Anker ; edited by Bernadette Hall.
” Lorna Staveley Anker was born in 1914. She used to joke that this was the cause of the First World War. In truth, the fine poems in this collection reveal her as New Zealand’s first women war poet. This collection contains the best of her published poems and a substantial number never seen before.” (Adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverApollo in George Street : the life of David McKee Wright / Michael Sharkey.
“David McKee Wright was the most prolific poet in Australia around the First World War, and the influential literary editor of the Sydney Bulletin. This biography brings to life aspects of the literary culture of New Zealand in the years before its independence, and of Australia in the early years of Federation.” (Syndetics Summary)

Wellington’s own Katherine Mansfield features in this month’s new arrivals to the New Zealand collection.

Vincent O’Sulivan has revised and enhanced the 1974 Katherine Mansfield’s New Zealand. New Zealand is seen through Katherines’s eyes with excerpts from her writing and colour added with new images. We also feature two books looking at the Christchurch earthquake from two very different perspectives, one from the NZ volunteer Response teams in Responders and the other focusing on Christchurch cafe life. Also the Battle for Crete, North Island courthouses and family history finish off this month’s picks.

Syndetics book coverKatherine Mansfield’s New Zealand / Vincent O’Sullivan.
“A stunning, fully illustrated guide to the country and times that shaped our greatest short story writer — a feast of images and relevant excerpts from Mansfield’s stories and journals. Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington in 1888 and died in France in 1923, regarded as one of the finest short story writers of her time. Her country of birth, initially a source of frustration for her, in time came to influence her writing. From Kezia’s Karori journey in Prelude, to the landscape of The Woman at the Store, the images of colonial New Zealand are a distinctive and compelling part of Katherine Mansfield’s writing. A fascinating section of the book details her expedition to the Urewera and thermal regions. The first (monochrome) edition of Katherine Mansfield’s New Zealand appeared in 1974; this edition has been extensively revised, with colourful new images and vivid excerpts from Katherine Mansfield’s writing.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverResponders : the New Zealand volunteer response teams, Christchurch earthquake deployments / Pete Seager & Deb Donnell.
“RESPONDERS: The NZ Volunteer Response Teams Christchurch Earthquake Deployments gives the readers a unique, behind-the-scenes look into the contribution of the New Zealand volunteer response teams in the days and weeks that followed the Christchurch Earthquakes. Twenty two teams of over 300 trained light rescue volunteers came from all over New Zealand to assist a city in shock. They have contributed their private photographs and personal accounts of their deployments to help the 111 Emergency Services and USAR Task Forces provide assistance to Christchurch after the September 2010 Darfield Earthquake and the more devastating 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCafé reflections on Christchurch City, 1975 – 2012 : a tribute to the Christchurch central business district community / Deb Donnell.
“This book looks at life pre-quake for the CBD community, and takes the reader through a personalised account of what happened in the CBD when the earthquake struck, as well as giving an update of the 18 months post quake for Deb, her family, and many of her CBD friends and neighbours”–Publisher’s information.

Syndetics book coverMen of valour : New Zealand and the battle for Crete / Ron Palenski.
“New Zealand’s battle for Crete in the Second World War. For a time in the Second World War, Crete was the prize both sides wanted. The Allies had it and the Germans wanted it. The Germans won. The man in charge of hanging on to it was Bernard (Tiny) Freyberg, the New Zealand Divison commander who was made the Greek island s intended saviour. With him was a ragtag army of New Zealand, Australian, British and Greek troops, most of whom had just been beaten off Greece; they had the clothes they stood up in and most of their arms and ammunition had been left behind in Greece. They had to withstand the mightiest airborne invasion the world had yet seen. They had to confront the elite of Hitler s army, a blitzkrieg from the air. Wearily, both sides fought almost to a standstill. It was a German victory but at such a cost that it was the end of airborne assaults; German losses were almost as many as those of the Allies. The New Zealanders got away thanks to the Royal Navy or on boats they begged, borrowed or stole; many never got away at all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuilt for justice : visits to old North Island courthouses / Terry Carson.
“Built for Justice tells the story behind 61 old North Island courthouse buildings. Designed and typeset by award winning book designer Anna Egan-Reid, Built for Justice is an attractive hard cover, 176 page book, illustrated with 90 colour images and fifteen black and white. The book through photographs, historical research, newspaper reports and anecdotes takes an entertaining social history look at the role of courthouses in small town New Zealand.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLetters my grandfather wrote me : family origins / Bryan Crawford.
“Receiving two Victorian portraits from his grandfather, the author begins a forty-five year investigation into his famly origins. He discovers an amazing diversity of backgrounds from Yorkshire and Devon ancestors to Scottish kings. The author lives in Wellington.” (Adapted from back cover)

New to the NZ Collection

This month the New Zealand Collection features history of Antarctica and also some great new and revised New Zealand history. This includes an item that focuses on teaching history to secondary school students. The last book is a study of issues faced by whānau in Māori education.

Syndetics book coverA history of Antarctica / Stephen Martin.
“This revised and expanded book – first published in 1996 – traces the patterns of human activity in Antarctica, from the southern journeys of the 16th century to the modern expeditions of adventurers and tourists. Using material from diaries, letters, and fresh research, the book illuminates the main themes of Antarctic history with the personal stories and images of the men and women who explored, worked, and lived in this frozen and remote continent. The book examines such topics as the early Polynesian explorers, the amazing diversity of flora and fauna, the detailed geological features, etc. A History of Antarctica is about the people of Antarctica – those who have chosen to endure the risks and enjoy the rewards of conquering the world’s most forbidding land.”(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSurveying the Antarctic : the New Zealand Geological Survey Antarctic Expedition 1957-1958 / Eugene Brian Fitzgerald.
“This volume is the story of the first New Zealand Official Government Expedition to Antarctica. It is based on the diary, notes and memory of the author, together with the letters and accounts written by other members of the expedition.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverImages from Albertland : Harold Marsh, 1876-1948 / Paul Campbell.
“William Harold Marsh, farmer, father and adventurous photographer captured a time of enchantment, when life was lived at a slower place, governed by a different set of values and priorities and ambitions. One of the first generation of those immigrants who sailed around the world to settle in Albertland, 70,000 coastal acres on the Kaipara Harbour, in Northland, New Zealand, he has left a legacy of those times, a window into the past for those yet to come.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Heaphy Track / Chris Petyt.
“Heaphy he never actually followed the whole route. He along with Thomas Brunner and Kehu, their Maori guide, travelled down the coast in 1846 from the north and only traversed the coastal section of the track from the Heaphy River to the Kohaihai River. The first Europeans to traverse the route are only recorded as “Aldridge and his mate”. Following the discovery of gold in the Aorere Valley in late 1865, the route of the Heaphy Track was used by gold miners to traverse between the Aorere Goldfield and those that were subsequently discovered on the West Coast. Author Chris Petyt has dug deep and wide to assemble this first comprehensive account of the human history of the Heaphy Track. Today, the Heaphy is one of New Zealand’s premier walking tracks and the longest of the multi-day tracks designated by the Department of Conservation as Great Walks. Those contemplating a trip over the track will also find it useful as the final chapter is a guide to walking the track.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTurning points : events that changed the course of New Zealand history / Paul Moon.
“Historian Paul Moon has chosen 20 events that have shaped the course of New Zealand history over the years. The events are described and illustrated with photographs drawn from the archives, and Moon outlines how New Zealand history has changed as a result”–Publisher’s information.

Syndetics book coverThe story of a treaty / Claudia Orange.
“The Treaty of Waitangi is a central document in New Zealand history. This lively account tells the story of the Treaty from its signing in 1840 through the debates and struggles of the nineteenth century to the gathering political momentum of recent decades. The second edition of this popular book brings the story up to the present”–Back cover.

Syndetics book coverGreater Māori Auckland / David Simmons ; including the Māori place names of Auckland, collected by George Graham.
“Traditional tales of the Auckland isthmus and wider region. The author extends his original Maori Auckland (1987), to include the broad regions north and south.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHistory matters : teaching and learning history in New Zealand secondary schools in the 21st century / Michael Harcourt and Mark Sheehan, editors.
“History Matters reflects the dynamic nature of teaching and learning history in New Zealand secondary classrooms. It demonstrates not only the wealth of enthusiasm and expertise within the history teaching community,but also a commitment by teachers to developing a research literature on historical thinking that is `for teachers and by teachers¿. The book bridges the gap between theory and practice among history teachers and contributes to the sorts of questions that teachers are currently addressing as they seek to improve our understanding of what it means to teach history in New Zealand in the second decade of the 21st century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKia puāwaitia ngā tumanako : critical issues for whānau in Māori education / Jessica Hutchings … [et al.].
“This report presents the findings of a kaupapa Maori research project called Critical Issues for Whanau in Maori Education. We asked a variety of whanau the question: What sorts of educational research would be of benefit to your children and whanau in education? The aim was to use the whanau responses to refine a Maori-led and whanau-informed research agenda for Te Wahanga. Whanau are integral to the educational wellbeing of Maori students. Yet little educational research has been done with an explicit whanau focus. This research aimed to help fill the gap. We used the kaupapa Maori approach of whanaungatanga and the method of korero a-whanau to work directly with whanau in ways that upheld their integrity and authority. Korero a-whanau ensures the voices and day to day experiences of whanau in education are heard. It acknowledges their diverse priorities and aspirations. Three overarching themes connected the many issues raised by whanau. These are Nga Moemoea (whanau aspirations), Rangatiratanga (whanau autonomy and authority) and Te Reo Rangatira (learning and maintenance of reo Maori)” (Syndetics summary)

NZ Collection goes wild

From the mountains to the oceans, the urban forest to an island, this month’s collection features a look at New Zealand’s diverse natural and urban environments. There is also a timeline of key events in our history in “Nation Dates” and the last book “Sinai Journal” looks at 30 years of New Zealand’s involvement in multinational foces.

Syndetics book coverAbove the treeline : a nature guide to alpine New Zealand / Alan F. Mark ; contributions by David Galloway, Rod Morris, David Orlovich, Brian Patrick, John Steel and Mandy Tocher.
“This first ever field-guide to New Zealand’s rich and diverse alpine environment includes: an informative introduction on alpine habitats and ecology; detailed descriptions of more than 675 species of flowering plants; a visual guide to easily recognised flowering-plant genera ; sections on conifers, ferns, mosses and liverworts, lichens and fungi; coverage of alpine fauna, including birdgs and lizards, butterflies and moths, grasshoppers, beetles and other invertebrates.–Cover”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCoastal fishes of New Zealand / Malcolm Francis.
“Coastal Fishes of New Zealand provides a comprehensive, informative and up-to-date identification guide to the fishes likely to be encountered by New Zealand divers and fishers. Illustrated with over 275 superb colour photographs of live fish in their natural habitats, this book includes all of New Zealand’s common reef fishes, and also many of those that live in other habitats. Using the latest research, marine scientist Malcolm Francis also provides a wealth of other information about identifying features, geographical distribution, habitat and size for 221 species of fish. Other interesting biological features, such as feeding, growth, spawning and behaviour are also discussed. If you were to have one book on the abundant fish life found around our coasts, this is the one to own.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAuckland’s remarkable urban forest / Mike D. Wilcox.
“Auckland’s Remarkable Urban Forest provides a comprehensive account of the trees and forests of Auckland. It covers trees to be found in the parks, reserves, campuses, school grounds, cemeteries and historic homesteads of the city; public native bush reserves within the urban Auckland area; native revegetation projects undertaken by community groups; exotic woodlands; street trees; trees of suburban home gardens; notable trees; flowering trees; tree health, forest climbers weeds; utilisation and management of the urban forest”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMatiatia : gateway to Waiheke / Paul Monin.
“Matiatia Bay is the gateway to Waiheke Island. Lying beside the island’s best natural harbour, it has been the landing place for Maori waka, settler barges, tourist yachts and commuter ferries today. This beautiful heritage site is threatened by development – a marina is proposed, and intensive parking. Establishing the significance of the past, historian Paul Monin tells Matiatia’s story from early Maori occupation to the present day. Here in a fertile bay in the magnificent setting of the Hauraki Gulf is a microcosm of New Zealand’s history. Charmingly written, MATIATIA: GATEWAY TO WAIHEKE includes a rich array of photographs and maps”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNation dates : significant events that have shaped the nation of New Zealand / [Wendy McGuinness & Miriam White].
“Nation Dates presents a timeline of 440 key events, spanning the years 1770-2011, that have shaped the development of New Zealand as a nation. The Sustainable Future Institute has compiled this timeline as an important record of our nation’s past and a valuable resource for establishing a context for our future”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSinai journal : 30 years of Kiwis serving with the Multinational Force and Observers.
“It’s the world’s most successful peace keeping mission – which hardly anyone’s heard of!” So says one of the many New Zealand Defence Force personnel interviewed for Sinai Journal: 30 Years of Kiwis serving with the Multinational Force and Observers. 2012 marked the thirtieth year of New Zealand’s significant contribution to the successful, if not widely known, Multinational Force and Observer (MFO) peace keeping mission in the Sinai, set up in 1982 to monitor the Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel. Working with 11 other countries to preserve a cold peace between two once warring nations, New Zealanders have distinguished themselves at the MFO with their sense of humor and can-do attitude. Sinai Journal documents the adventures of around eighty personnel who have served at the MFO since 1982 through personal anecdotes, essays and some wonderful photos. Contributions of note include those from the two kiwi Force Commanders; Don McIver and Warren Whiting; as well as colourful characters such as former MP and current Carterton Mayor, Ron Mark. This book is a fascinating social history that celebrates both the thirty year milestone and recognises New Zealand’s long standing, unique, contribution to peace in an unpredictable and volatile part of the world”. (Syndetics summary)


  • Archives

  • Categories