Category: Recent picks

What’s new in our NZ Collection

This month the New Zealand Collection features “Mad on Radium” about New Zealand’s engagement with the nuclear world from the start when Lord Rutherford first split the atom. In “Selling the Dream” early N.Z. tourism promotion posters and publicity is explored while “Made in NZ” looks at some of this country’s high achievers. There is also Martin Sneddon’s review of the rugby world cup, a Graig Potton photographic collection, Albert Wendt’s latest and Gareth Morgan’s take on issues facing our far south oceans.

Syndetics book coverSelling the dream : the art of early New Zealand tourism / Peter Alsop, Gary Stewart and Dave Bamford ; foreword by Fran Walsh.
Celebrates the remarkable range of tourism posters and other publicity that helped promote New Zealand – both locally and to the world – until the 1960s, before television and colour photography changed the publicity landscape forever. This imagery is some of the finest graphic art ever produced in New Zealand, and as arresting and impressive today as when it was first created. The art of early tourism was highly significant in New Zealand’s art history, and in the development of New Zealand’s tourism industry and sense of national identity. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand / Craig Potton ; [photography, Craig Potton ; introduction, John B. Turner ; poem, Brian Turner].
“Craig Potton rose to prominence as a photographer in the late 1980s, with a distinct and original view of the landscape of Aotearoa/New Zealand. He was a photographer with little interest in a sentimentalised or romantic view of the land, but rather pursued a less compromising and more muscular vision that sought to convey this country’s remarkable landscape in a real light. This book collects together many of his most celebrated images in one place, a body of work that clearly shows why his reputation is so strong.”–Publisher’s description.

Syndetics book coverMade in NZ / Chris Mirams & Ross Land.
“Made in New Zealand is a gorgeous coffee table book which celebrates the ways in which being a New Zealander have shaped some of our most inspirational achievers. Forty successful Kiwis share their perspective on how this country has influenced them and contributed to their success. These captivating stories are accompanied by stunning portrait photography. Award-winning New Zealand photographer Ross Land and award-winning journalist Chris Mirams have approached the full gamut of our society and the book features everyone from Alison Holst to David Kirk; from Professor Margaret Brimble to Jon Toogood and John Minto to Sir Graham Henry”–publisher website.

Syndetics book coverFrom Mānoa to a Ponsonby garden / Albert Wendt.
“In Hawaiʻi Wendt watches the changing shadows of the Koʻolau mountains from his verandah; considers the nature of mauli, the seat of life; walks protected in his partner’s perfumed slipstream to work; and writes to fellow poet Hone Tuwhare from the excesses of Las Vegas. In the second half of the book we move to the garden in Ponsonby in 40 ‘garden’ poems. Includes some of Wendt’s inky, drawn poems about the Sāmoan tsunami or galu afi. A book about ageing and the consideration of death”–Publisher information.

Syndetics book coverA stadium of 4 million / Martin Snedden. The story of New Zealand’s greatest sporting event – and, ultimately – one of its greatest triumphs. Martin Snedden was Rugby World Cup 2011 chief executive and the man tasked with delivering a successful tournament to the IRB and the people of New Zealand. To say that he achieved his goal – including making budget in one of this country’s most difficult years where the devastating effects of the Christchurch earthquake reverberated around the country for months – would be an understatement. RWC 2011 will go down as not only as the ‘best ever’ Cup but, far more importantly, as one of New Zealand’s greatest achievements. One powerful component of this achievement is that the famous All Blacks, in a most dramatic fashion, finally got that damn RWC monkey off their backs and won a trophy. But the much more compelling aspect of this achievement is that, both within and away from that rugby field of dreams , the people of New Zealand united in a way they may never have done before outside of wartime; they put aside the sadness of the previous 12 months and genuinely brought to life their stadium of four million, to provide a wonderful welcome and enduring memories for their 133,000 international RWC visitors. (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverIce, mice and men : the issues facing our far south / Geoff Simmons and Gareth Morgan with John McCrystal.
Our far south is packed with history and wildlife, and is renowned for its breathtaking and photogenic beauty. But does our appreciation of the region run more than skin deep? Do Kiwis really understand how important the region is and what issues are facing it? In February 2012, Gareth Morgan trapped ten of New Zealand’s top experts on the region in a boat with 40 ordinary Kiwis for a month. Together with Geoff Simmons, he grilled them about the issues facing the region and this book is the result. What they found was startling. Our Far South – that part of New Zealand that extends from Stewart Island almost without interruption to the South Pole – harbours precious wildlife and is the engine room of the world’s oceans and climate. We are blessed to live in this unique part of the world, but we also have a huge responsibility to look after it. This book looks at the three ways we risk inflicting long-term, even permanent harm, on this precious and fragile region. The race to exploit resources has been underway for three centuries, and may be poised to escalate. Pressure from human activity may be threatening biodiversity and even the survival of species. And looming ever larger is the threat of climate change. Damage done to our far south will have profound implications, both for New Zealand and right across the globe.–Cover.

Syndetics book coverMad on radium : New Zealand in the atomic age / Rebecca Priestley.
Although New Zealander Lord Rutherford was the first to split the atom, the country has since been known around the world for its nuclear-free stance. In this engaging and accessible book, an alternative history is revealed of “nuclear New Zealand”—when there was much enthusiasm for nuclear science and technology. From the first users of x-rays and radium in medicine to the plans for a nuclear power station on the Kaipara Harbour, this accountnbsp;uncovers the long and rich history of New Zealanders’ engagement with the nuclear world and the roots of its nuclear-free identity. (Syndetics)

New to the NZ Collection

New to the New Zealand Collection this month you can read some interesting facts about New Zealand in “60 Million Gingernuts, a book of New Zealand records”. “All the Commissioner’s Men” is another look into the New Zealand high profile murder inquiry into the Crewe murders. Also meet three New Zealanders famous for very different reasons, Auckland Politician Sir Dove-Myer Robinson, hunter and artist Stag Spooner and novelist and biographer James McNeish. The last book showcases Taranaki treasures and stories taken from the collections of Puke Ariki.

Syndetics book cover60 million gingernuts : a book of New Zealand records / Peter Janssen.
This book gathers together New Zealand’s most amazing, inspiring and bizarre records. With chapters on nature, history, people, manmade wonders, popular culture, sport, eating and drinking, this extensive book will captivate both young and old, Kiwi and tourist, from quiz teams to high school students. Did you know: New Zealand’s highest bridge is on the railway line from Napier to Gisborne. The bridge crosses the Mohaka River 97 metres above the water; Auckland s Pasifika festival is the country s largest festival with over 200,000 people attending. It is also the largest Pacific festival in the world; New Zealand s most popular biscuit is the Gingernut with Griffin s Gingernuts selling nearly 3 million packets every year. Toffee Pop Originals (2,394,000 packets) and Superwine (2,393,000 packets) are neck and neck for second and third place; New Zealand s coldest temperature was recorded at Ranfurly on 17 July 1903, the thermometer plummeted to a record -25 degrees. The lowest North Island temperature is -13.6 recorded at the Chateau Tongariro. The coldest temperature recorded in the world was -89.6 at Vostok Station in Antarctica in 1983. There are many, many more fascinating records inside this addictive book.(Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll the commissioner’s men / Chris Birt. The killing of Jeanette and Harvey Crewe at Pukekawa, South Auckland, is indelibly burnt into the memory of anyone resident in New Zealand at that time. Most Kiwis know that an innocent man was arrested and spent almost 10 years in prison for two murders he did not commit The story of Arthur Thomas has been well told. The subsequent condemnation by a Royal Commission of Inquiry of two former detectives is also well documented. What has never been disclosed however is the extent of the malpractice which occurred in that double homicide inquiry. Not even the Thomas Royal Commission got to examine that, for reasons All The Commissioner’s Men explains in great depth. Written by veteran journalist, researcher and author Chris Birt (The Final Chapter – third NZ best seller for three weeks in 2001) this new book reveals, for the first time ever, that more than two detectives were involved n this corrupt investigation, and that key players in that nasty game suppressed crucial witness statements, any one of which would have proved categorically that Arthur Thomas was not the murderer. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUrban legend : Sir Dove-Myer Robinson / John Edgar.
“Every Aucklander of a certain age knows that we should have listened to Mayor Robbie back in the 1970s’ – Labour Party MP Phil Twyford. But who was he? And why is he still relevant today? From a working class Jewish boy in Sheffield to long serving Mayor of Auckland (1959-1980), Sir Dove-Myer Robinson’s life followed an unusual path. A slight, bespectacled man whose tiny stature was offset by a booming voice and massive ego, he was a natural political campaigner. Associated with a host of local and national causes, he became Auckland’s most recognisable spokesperson. He joined political causes and challenged convention. He fought for our current waste water treatment process, against French nuclear testing, and an integrated Auckland transport system and city. Though his political career was outstanding and memorable, his personal life was a hot bed of gossip. Four wives, one 20 years his junior, and a very public divorce during one of his terms meant he was never far from the headlines. In this book we look at both his personal life and his outstanding political career, which affected not only the future of Auckland, but the future of New Zealand.” –wheelers.co.nz

Syndetics book coverStag Spooner, wild man from the bush : the story of a New Zealand hunter and artist / Chris Maclean. Stag (Neville) Spooner (1917-1946) was a government deer culler in 1939 and 1940, initially in the Tararuas, and then on the South Island’s West Coast. While his successful career as a culler was cut short by the Second World War, he did leave behind a remarkable legacy from this period, a painted diary of his experiences that he entitled Those Wild Men from the Bush. This diary, which forms the heart of this book, is a fascinating chronicle of the life of a professional hunter, who somewhat unusually, was also an artist. Stag Spooner went on to create another highly individual body of art during the war, a series of decorated envelopes that were sent back to his family and friends. In this book Chris Maclean brings to light Stag’s singular body of artwork, while also telling the story of his adventurous life, which started in the Wairarapa where he developed his love of hunting, progressed into becoming a deer culler, and then saw active service during the Second World War in North Africa and Italy, as part of a Field Ambulance Unit. Soon after his return to New Zealand Stag’s life tragically ended on a hunting trip, alone, in the Fiordland mountains. STAG SPOONER is a unique book that finally recognises the life and world of a remarkable New Zealand hunter and artist. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTouchstones : memories of people and place / James McNeish.
“A young man leaves home as a deckhand on a Norwegian freighter, to travel the world. He returns to New Zealand changed almost beyond recognition. Along the way he meets nine people who influence his life and help make him the writer he becomes.These include ‘the Mother Courage of the English theatre’, an anti-Mafia reformer in Sicily, a Kanak revolutionary who is assassinated, a rejected cousin and ‘Mr Punch in naval uniform’, the New Zealand poet Denis Glover”–Publisher information.

Syndetics book coverFlashback : tales and treasures of Taranaki / Andrew Moffat.
“Showcasing items from the Puke Ariki collections, Flashback casts fresh light on the heritage of the Taranaki region and its people. Richly illustrated and carefully researched, it debunks the myths, exposes characters, tells little-known tales and gives insights into well-known community treasures, standing testament to the value of Puke Ariki’s heritage collection and its wealth of stories”–Cover.

Rugby, racing and beer?

This months New Zealand recent picks offer a diverse variety of titles, but sorry, no racing books to make up the classic trifecta …

Syndetics book coverReplay : capturing 20 years of New Zealand sporting glory / Photosport ; [author, Andrew Cornaga].
“Produced in partnership with award-winning photographic agency Photosport on its 20th anniversary, this unique book revisits the highs and lows, the agony and ecstasy, the magic and the melodrama of the past 20 years in New Zealand sport.From New Zealand’s winning streak in the 1992 Cricket World Cup to the All Blacks’ long-awaited Rugby World Cup triumph in 2011, REPLAY brings those memorable moments back to life. Photosport’s stunning images are enhanced with commentary from some of New Zealand’s best-loved sporting heroes, as they relive those moments in their own words.Push REPLAY on the best and worst of the past 20 years in New Zealand sport.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverPiri, straight up : cups, downs & keeping calm / with Heather Kidd.
“Piri Weepu’s story is one of the most fascinating New Zealand rugby stories ever told. Born into a strong rugby league family – Piri’s brother Billy actually played for the Kiwis – Piri has risen to the very pinnacle of rugby union, while at the same time never losing his great love of the 13-man code. At 28 and in the year of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Weepu was finally given his opportunity and didn’t he take it well. For years he had been in the shadows of Jimmy Cowan (not to mention a number of other first-choicers) but on the world stage, Piri stepped up to the mark and won the hearts of a nation. He kicked the goals for the All Blacks, he kicked for position and, in the absence of the incomparable Dan Carter, he ran the backline. His man of the match performance for the All Blacks in the quarter-final against Argentina and then another superb display against arch-rivals Australia in the semi-final cemented his place in New Zealand rugby folklore.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverBeer nation : the art & heart of Kiwi beer / Michael Donaldson.
“Pull up a bar stool, and listen to the life story of beer in New Zealand . . .Highly illustrated, meticulously researched and warmly told, Beer Nation recounts the early history of beer, exposes the modern age of commerce and big business, and charts the rise of contemporary boutique breweries – through interviews and first-hand stories from the personalities behind beer and brewing in New Zealand. Michael Donaldson’s rich and engaging narrative is complemented by images from brewers’ private collections as well as quotes and archival photography. Beer Nation will inform, delight and awaken your thirst for New Zealand’s favourite beverage.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverSerious fun : the life and times of Alan Gibbs / Paul Goldsmith.
“The life of businessman, inventor, merchant banker, philanthropist, art collector, adventurer and inveterate traveller Alan Gibbs has been far from ordinary. The onetime died-in-the-wool socialist became one of the free-market disciples who were never far from Roger Douglas’s inner sanctum as he transformed the country’s economy in the mid to late 1980s.His role earned him the eternal loathing of many on the left even while others in the arts community were grateful for his philanthropy as a major funder of the Auckland Art Gallery with his then wife, Jenny Gibbs. These days he is focussed on bringing the Aquada into commercial production and on acquiring new works for his remarkable sculpture collection on the Kaipara Harbour, The Farm, which has works by Richard Sera, Anish Kapoor and Andy Goldsworthy, among others, and is of international stature.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverConvicts : New Zealand’s hidden criminal past / Matthew Wright.
“New Zealand’s Pakeha origin as a bolt-hole for convicts escaping Australia, a place where former convicts joined whaling and sealing gangs, and where sea captains thumbed their noses at the law, has been quietly forgotten. It has become a hidden part of our past, buried under the convenient fiction that the Treaty of Waitangi is the sole pivot of New Zealand’s colonial story.In Convicts: New Zealand’s Hidden Criminal Past, noted historian Matthew Wright challenges that notion. Our early nineteenth-century Pakeha past is, at least in part, a story of convicts who had found their way past the edge of the law, an age of heroic tales of survival, scurrilous deeds, cannibalism and piracy.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe making of New Zealanders / Ron Palenski.
“Examining the development of a sense of national identity in a British colony, this highly authoritative work is a valuable addition to the literature in New Zealand. By looking at the onset of home-grown shipping, railway, and telegraph networks as well as at the Maori and kiwi experiences, not to mention the emergence of rugby teams, this book accounts for how transplanted Britons, and others, turned themselves into New Zealanders—a distinct group of people with their own songs and sports, symbols and opinions, political traditions and sense of self. Tracing markers in popular culture, political processes, and public events, this informative and thrilling history focuses on the forging of a distinctive new culture and society.” – (adapted from Publisher’s description)

NZ Collection Recent Picks

This month’s selection includes books on well known topics in New Zealand. Keith Hunter investigates the 40 year old unsolved case of the Crewe murders, John Julian investigates the Rena disaster and twice Olympic gold medal winner Mark Todd publishes his autobiography. There is also a look at fifty years of the work ofIan Athfield – the architect who designed our very own library building, as well as many of Wellington’s other architectual landmarks. In the graphic novel format “Ngarimu Te Tohu Toa” recounts how Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu became the first Māori soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Syndetics book coverThe case of the missing bloodstain : inside an incompetent and corrupt police inquiry : the truth of the Crewe murders / Keith Hunter.
“For over 40 years the murder of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe is the great unsolved mystery of NZ Criminal history. Local farmer Arthur Alan Thomas was twice convicted of their murders but following a Royal Commission of Inquiry was later given a Royal pardon. In this comprehensive anatomy of the investigation veteran investigative journalist and broadcaster Keith Hunter provides answers to all the unresolved issues in the case.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack tide : the story behind the Rena disaster / John Julian.
“Tells the real story of the Rena. The Rena, a 236-metre-long container ship was making 17 knots when she ploughed into the Astrolabe Reef at 2:20am on Wednesday 5 October 2011. She was on her way from Napier towards Tauranga carrying 1368 containers along with 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 200 tonnes of marine diesel. The scene was set for a major economic and environmental catastrophe; a race against time for salvors working in hideous conditions to stem the black tide.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSecond chance : the autobiography / Mark Todd with Kate Green.
“Mark Todd’s eventing career is the stuff of legend and encompasses one of the greatest sporting comebacks of all time. When he ‘retired’ from competing in eventing in 2000, he had already been named ‘Rider of the Century’ for his natural empathy with a horse and his extraordinary success, which included back-to-back Olympic gold medals, five Burghley wins and three Badminton victories. He has also show jumped to Olympic level and trained winners on the racecourse.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAthfield Architects / Julia Gatley.
“Over many years, Ian Athfield and his team at Athfield Architects have reshaped New Zealand architecture – from the Buck House at Te Mata Estate to Wellington’s Civic Square, from Jade Stadium to Athfield’s own sprawling settlement on the Khandallah hills. Reflecting on half a century of work, Julia Gatley’s landmark book introduces a major body of architecture through modernism, postmodernism and beyond.” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverNgārimu : te Tohu Toa / nā Andrew Burdan ngā pikitia.
“Tells the story of Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngārimu, the first Māori soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross, describing the battle on the 26 & 27th of March 1943 in which he fought heroically, but was killed. Suggested level: secondary.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnposted letters : from a Japanese prisoner of war camp, 1942-1945 / J.C. Maddever ; compiled by Lorna Manson.
“Jack Maddever would never talk about his war experiences, but he kept a record in his letters which were never posted. He carried them home on his return in 1945 and they provide a glimpse into his day-to-day existence while in a POW camp in Palembang, Indonesia. In three years Jack’s weight dropped from nearly 13 stone (82.5kg) to under 7 stone (44.5kg). Jack died in 1982. His letters, compiled by his widow Lorna Manson, show us his struggle to survive those long years of incarceration.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSafe haven : the untold story of New Zealand’s largest ever military camp : Featherston, 1916-1919 / Neil Frances.
“The building of Featherston Military Camp in late 1915 transformed a stony paddock in south Wairarapa into a ready-made barrack town which could house up to 8,000 raw soldiers. Safe haven traces the life of Featherston Military Camp and the men who lived there.” – (adapted from Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe troopers’ tale : the history of the Otago Mounted Rifles / editor Don Mackay ; foreword by Rhys Jones.
“Talk about the charge of the Light Brigade. The infantry said we were mad, and by Jove we were! We charged over barbed wire entanglements, over trenches…” The Troopers’ Tale tells for the first time the exciting stories of the Otago mounted Rifles during their many overseas campaigns. It features compelling personal histories of the soldiers involved; all neatly placed alongside the provincial history of New Zealand.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRefugee stories / edited by Maria Hayward.
“These compelling stories – recounted by former refugees now living in New Zealand – provide a broad presentation of the refugee experience. They describe horrific events and situations, but also reflect the multifarious identities, cultures and strengths of each of the writers. The stories serve to remind us of the importance of humane and ethical behaviour in both our civic and personal lives. They also remind us of the resilience of the human spirit. Notably they teach us about survival, compassion, hope and optimism. Edited by Maria Hayward.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

NZ Collection Recent Picks

Here is a selection of recent arrivals in the New Zealand Collection, this month there is a wide variety of topics.

Syndetics book coverPiano forte : stories and soundscapes from colonial New Zealand / Kirstine Moffat.
“This book focuses on the era in which the piano became of central significance in the private, social and cultural lives of many New Zealanders. The stories begin in 1827, with the arrival of what was probably the first piano to be brought to New Zealand, and end in 1930. Initially, a European musical instrument that introduced Maori to a new sound world and which provided European settlers with a reassuring sense of ‘home’.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFood@home / Christine Dann.
“A journey through the new ‘foodways’ that are evolving in New Zealand. Author/gardener/cook Christine Dann looks at the ways in which food production, distribution, preparation and service are being brought back home to produce superior food with minimal environmental impact. Christine’s journey starts with the rediscovery of home food gardening traditions of both Maori and Pakeha, and ends at the dining table where a delicious healthy feast is being served.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe occupiers : New Zealand veterans remember post-war Japan / Alison Parr.
“Twelve thousand New Zealand men and women served in the occupation of Japan immediately after the Second World War. This book records memories from those we know as ‘J Force’. The Occupiers explores Kiwi life in the former enemy territory between 1946 and 1948.Veterans recall the horror of witnessing the devastated city of Hiroshima. They describe their culture shock and adjustment to unfamiliar customs. These stories uncover a little-known but fascinating aspect of New Zealand’s post-war experience.” – (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRebel with a cause / Ray Avery with Paul Little.
“Rebel With a Cause is the inspiring story of a true Kiwi hero who overcame childhood neglect and abuse to become a successful scientist and businessman, and who has saved millions of lives in the third world. He has invented inexpensive lenses for cataract sufferers, low-cost and effective incubators for babies, and a number of other creative scientific and medicinal solutions for the third world. Ray encourages other talented people to get on board and tackle some of the really big problems confronting the poor in developing countries. Rebel With a Cause is fascinating, deeply moving and, at times, very funny.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWorkers in the margins : union radicals in post-war New Zealand / Cybèle Locke.
“Marginalised workers of the late twentieth century were those last hired in times of plenty and first fired in times of recession. Often women, Māori, or people from the Pacific, they were frequently unemployed, and marginalised within the union movement as well as the labour force. The world of trade unions and employment conflicts, such as the 1951 waterfront lockout, was vigorous and challenging. As free market policies deregulated the labour market and splintered the union movement toward the end of the century, Te Roopu Rawakore o Aotearoa, the national unemployment and beneficiaries’ movement, gave a new voice to workers in the margins” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverSwirly World sails south / Andrew Fagan.
“In 2007, Kiwi musician and radio personality Andrew Fagan set sail in his tiny 5.4-metre plywood yacht to circumnavigate New Zealand. All in all he sailed over 3000 miles (around 5000 km) in two months. Fagan tells of having to avoid icebergs, sail through a force ten storm and visit sites of shipwrecks at Port Ross in the Auckland Island group. ‘With the genuine concern of a very fatigued person, I was sailing for my life and I knew it!’ Swirly World Sails South is a sharply accurate and humorous narrative that offers a unique and refreshing perspective on the world of solo sailing.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe quake year / Fiona Farrell ; photographs by Juliet Nicholas.
“Everyone in Christchurch has their own story of the quakes. There are heroic and brave stories related to the events themselves, and also longer narratives of endurance over the months of aftershocks. No one will ever forget this year. In The quake year … author Fiona Farrell interviews people trying to live ordinary lives in extraordinary times” – (from Back cover)

Recent New Zealand collection picks

This month’s recent picks showcases the variety of people who call New Zealand home, from Tāngata Whēnua to Irish immigrants to those of Jewish descent.

Syndetics book coverStones bones steam / Philip Andrews.
“Looks at Māori myths and landforms; power of ignimbrite eruptions; early geological exploration; past discoveries of moa, mosasaur and other fossils; the man who made artificial geysers; Rotorua’s great bores versus geysers controversy; and geology in verse” – (adapted from Back cover)

Syndetics book coverBog Irish Micks : the O’Brien family from Scariff : a family history / by Kath Woodley.
“Chronicles the families started by the five children of John O’Brien and Margaret Malone, all of whom left Scariff, Ireland for New Zealand between 1874 and 1883.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJewish lives in New Zealand : a history / Leonard Bell and Diana Morrow, editors.
“The census tells us that 8000 New Zealanders actively identify as Jewish and it is estimated that the broader population is probably around 25,000. There has never been an authoritative history of this country’s Jewish population and yet people of Jewish descent (both secular and religious) have played vital roles in all aspects of our society throughout its history. Auckland alone has had five Jewish mayors. Jews have been prominent in New Zealand’s business, cultural, intellectual, political, medical, intellectual life and more since the 1840s, and successive waves of immigration have added to the tapestry of New Zealand Jewry. This significant book covers key sectors of activity with specialist writers assigned to each. Richly illustrated, it slots another important piece into the jigsaw of our history.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFor gallant service rendered : the life & times of Samuel Austin, NZ Cross, 1831-1903 / Barbara Mabbett.
“Samuel Austins military career began with the British army and ended with the Wanganui Native Contingent in their campaign to capture Te Kooti in 1870. Drawn extensively from Austins own diary, this is the story of his adventurous life as a soldier, settler, and family man. From his childhood in Ireland and service with the 65th Regiment, it vividly details the extensive action he took part in during the turbulent years of the New Zealand Wars, and his later life as a colonist in the growing town of Wanganui.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBishop Monrad in Aotearoa : Ditlev Gothard Monrad’s life and his legacy to New Zealand / edited by Ian Macfarlane ; [text edited by Robin Briggs].
“Monrad cam to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1866 and for almost most three years carried out the strenuous work of being a settler, clearing the land and establishing a farm in the Manawatū. In 1869 he returned to Denmark, but members of his family continued his pioneer work in New Zealand. Before he left , Monrad gave his treasured collection of prints of etchings and engravings by masters of European art to the government and people of New Zealand. This collection is help at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.” – (adapted from Back cover)

Christchurch Remembered

With the one year anniversary of the devastating Christchurch earthquake recently remembered, our picks of the recent New Zealand books this month  include a number of new books on Christchurch -  including a beautiful artist’s tribute to the buildings of Christchurch,  stories of people trapped during the earthquake, and books that tell of  the ordeal of living in the city and dealing with the aftermath of the quake. (Also included, a few extra titles – including the revised and updated New Zealand Small Business Book.)

Syndetics book coverChristchurch : an artists’ tribute / compiled by Denis Robinson.
“Denis Robinson has compiled a moving tribute to Christchurch with a collection of paintings of the city as it was before the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Many artists returned to old sketchbooks, to discover drawings still waiting to be painted, and these new artworks sit alongside paintings completed in earlier days and others sourced especially for inclusion in this book. With a foreword from Mayor Bob Parker, this is a book that will be treasured by Cantabrians and visitors to Christchurch alike.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShaken, not stirred : family survival in a quake zone / Amanda Cropp.
“Imagine sharing a portable toilet with your neighbours for months on end, showering in a shipping container in the fire station car park, or travelling for three hours a day on six different buses to get to and from school. Such was life in post-quake Christchurch for Amanda Cropp and her family. Quake damaged roads make travel a nightmare. Yet despite all this, life carries on. The quakes have reinforced the importance of family and friends, and a sense of humour is indispensable. This book will make you laugh and cry. It is funny, provocative and poignant, and shows that living in a disaster zone brings communities together, that people do indeed step up and look after one another. This is a story about the resilience of a community suddenly struggling with the simplest of daily chores in a time of crisis.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrapped : remarkable stories of survival from the 2011 Canterbury earthquake / Martin van Beynen ; foreword by Bob Parker.
“The Canterbury earthquake of February 2011 altered landscape, history, and most importantly, human lives. Many perished and the lives of thousands were upended. In Trapped, Martin van Beynen documents with sensitivity and unerring detail the personal experiences of more than thirty quake survivors – before, during and after the event – in their own words.At once poignant, dramatic and enthralling, their stories record a defining moment in Canterbury’s history and testify to the courage and heroism of everyday people.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Magnitude 7.1 & 6.3 : the people of Christchurch, Canterbury & beyond tell their stories / [compiled by Debbie Roome].
“This book is a compilation of stories from people directly affected by the impact of the earthquakes in Christchurch. They reflect the incredible resiliance the people of Canterbury have shown throughout this devastating time. Some of the stories are poignant, some humorous, some shocking and some sad. All of them are from the heart and deserve to be heard.” (Adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverFrom crank handles to hydraulics : a history of cranes in New Zealand / by John Carter.
“Cranes of various shapes and sizes have helped shape our nation dating back from around 1840 and today rank as the most familiar item of equipment involved on construction and other sites throughout the country. This book is the first ever produced in New Zealand detailing how cranes and other lifting devices have evolved over the decades. It is an easy read for people of all ages and includes how cranes assisted in the colonisation of New Zealand via the ports and railways and mentions of some of the country’s historical events which necessitated the use of cranes.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe small business book : a New Zealand guide for the 21st century / Leith Oliver, John English.
“Completely revised and updated edition of the bestselling guide to starting, managing, and expanding a small business in New Zealand. The Small Business Book is the bestselling, hands-on guide to running your own business in New Zealand. This new edition is up-to-date, easy to understand and simple to use. New ventures are being launched in greater numbers than ever before, and the prospects for success offer hope and a sense of fulfilment to New Zealanders who want to be self-employed. The Small Business Book has been written to help you get into business, successfully stay in business and make a good living from being in business.”  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Arrivals in the New Zealand Collection

John Mulgan’s novel Man Alone has a special place in New Zealand literature and these first two books present collections of his letters home. Also an interesting mix with a biography on Bishop Selwyn, essays on early New Zealand photography and an insight into health and fitness in the 40’s and 50’s.

Syndetics book coverJourney to Oxford / John Mulgan ; edited by Peter Whiteford. “The ship was now drawing away from the land and pointing out across the round curve of the Pacific, behind us the last of the Gulf islands with the sun shining on its high bush hills and steep cliffs, beyond that again the blue line of the land, well down in the sea. I knew that last island and had sailed round it on a still summer day, a wild fearful place with a toll of two shipwrecks, and the break of seas on it day after day. It had been very warm and peaceful then, and the sail had hardly moved with the wind, and now it all looked very wonderful and beautiful. There are few people that have seen this country that do not want to look on it again.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA good mail : letters of John Mulgan / selected and edited by Peter Whiteford. “The enigmatic figure of John Mulgan remains a striking presence in New Zealand culture, his sole novel, Man Alone, a landmark in the emergence of local literature. A GOOD MAIL presents a generous selection of his letters home – letters to those he cared about, but from whom he felt a permanent separation. When he left New Zealand in 1933, he had declared ‘I think I’m going to have the best year of my life’. These letters tell his story.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA controversial churchman : essays on George Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield, and Sarah Selwyn / edited by Allan Davidson.
“New Zealand’s first Anglican bishop, George Selwyn, was a towering figure in the young colony. Denounced as a ‘turbulent priest’ for speaking out against Crown practices that dispossessed Māori, he brought a vigorous approach to episcopal leadership. These essays offer new insights into Selwyn’s role in developing pan-Anglicanism, strengthening links between the Church of England and the Episcopal and Anglican Churches in North America, and his time as Bishop of Lichfield (1868–78). His place in Treaty history, as a political commentator and a valuable source of historical information, is recognised. George Selwyn left a large imprint on New Zealand church and society. This collection both honours and critiques a controversial bishop.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEarly New Zealand photography : images and essays / edited by Angela Wanhalla and Erika Wolf.“We are all participants in an increasingly visual culture, yet we rarely give thought to the ways that photographs shape our experience and understanding of the world and historical past. This book looks at a range of New Zealand photographs up to 1918 and analyses them as photo-objects, considering how they were made, who made them, what they show and how our understanding of them can vary or change over time. In the course of the book, they explore a host of issues related to the development of photography in New Zealand. World War I is the end point, as it coincided with profound cultural shifts with the expansion of the mass illustrated press and the rise of consumer photography, as well as a change in New Zealand’s place in the world.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStrong, beautiful and modern : national fitness in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, 1935-1960 / Charlotte Macdonald.
“In the late 1930s and early 1940s, a wave of state-sponsored ‘national fitness’ programmes swept Britain and its former colonies. Following revelations of the Nazi enthusiasm for government-backed sports and the organisation of mass leisure, the programmes quickly foundered. They probably laid, however, the foundations for the twentieth century’s obsession with fitness – a key facet of modern life. Drawing on extensive research, and written in vivid, lively prose, STRONG, BEAUTIFUL AND MODERN is an historical investigation into the way that people and their governments think about their health and well-being, and how those historical views have shaped our modern life.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Journeys in New Zealand

This months recent picks from the New Zealand reference collection includes some New Zealand travel guides of interest to walkers, eco tourists and travellers who are interested in the history of the places they are visiting. There is also the Peter Wells biography of William Colenso.

Syndetics book coverA walking guide to New Zealand’s long trail : Te Araroa / Geoff Chapple. “This is the guidebook of Te Araroa Trail: The Long Pathway, a continuous trail running from Cape Reinga to Bluff, 35 years in the making, which will officially open in late 2011. The book maps the 3000-kilometre trail in 40-kilometre sections. Photographs of the trail illustrate each section. Each of the 12 regional sections opens with a stunning 2-page 3D map. This book is an accessible guide both for those who only want to walk parts of the trail and dedicated trampers who intend to walk its entire length.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOrganic explorer : eco-friendly places to eat, stay and explore in New Zealand / [Leonie Johnsen]. “The first guide book to organic food and eco-friendly places to eat, stay and explore throughout New Zealand. Included in the book are over 350 listings of: * Organic food cafes, restaurants, gate sales, places to shop nationwide. * Comprehensive list of Farmers’ Markets throught the country. * Eco-friendly places to stay including straw bale, mud brick and natural timber B&Bs, homestays, selff-contained cottages as well as luxury eco-lodges. * Wellness retreats, yoga retreats, day spas and health packages. * Authentic and intimate Maori tourism experiences with a contemporary perspective. * Nature-based activities and adventures.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA traveller’s history of New Zealand and the South Pacific islands / John H. Chambers.
“A Traveller’s History of New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands gives the curious tourist not only a modern day portrait of New Zealand and the far flung islands, their political systems and economic diversity, but also looks at the early settling of this massive area which covers about a fifth of the whole surface of the earth. When European navigators first sailed into the region, they were astonished at the exotic shared culture and language of the natives, separated in many cases by terrifying stretches of open ocean. The story of the peopling of the South Pacific Islands and New Zealand is one of the world’s great epics.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWalks to waterfalls : 100 New Zealand waterfalls / Russell Kirkpatrick.
“Highlights a hundred of the best and most accessible waterfalls in New Zealand, including those close to urban areas. Walks for all ages and states of fitness are included and access is described in detail with the routes graded according to ease of use. Ideal to take on journeys and to use when planning holidays.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hungry heart : journeys with William Colenso / Peter Wells. “I love doubters: of a truly honest doubter I have great hope.” Printer, botanist and missionary, William Colenso was a nineteenth-century maverick, a true original. He protested at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, arguing that Maori did not fully understand its implications. He became a troubled conscience during the white-hot period of colonisation, maintaining his dissident voice throughout his career. Peter Wells refreshes our vision of this awkward, highly talented man, who lost his family after the church expelled him for fathering a child by a Maori woman. Rejected by church, family and friends, Colenso made botany his home and lovingly described the plants of New Zealand. At the same time he wrote a series of remarkable pamphlets that open up our past. ‘I write for future generations,’ he wrote in 1881. The time has come to welcome Colenso back.” – (adapted from cover)

The New Zealand good beach guide : North Island / [Tim Rainger].
“Includes detailed information on over 600 North Island beaches. Features maps and detailed descriptions of local conditions, including wind and swell rose diagrams, plus details of amenities, campgrounds, clubs and useful websites. This comprehensive reference, is for all beach-goers, travellers, fishers and surfers.” – (adapted from cover)

Slice of Heaven and Heavenly Creatures

This months recent picks celebrate the iconic NZ cartoon Footrot Flats. There are also some beautiful new books featuring National parks, scenery and native trees and a travellers guide to birds of New Zealand. The last item is the new book on the Parker – Hulme murder and trial.

Syndetics book coverThe art of Footrot Flats / by Murray Ball. “The Art of Footrot Flats showcases the magnificent body of work of New Zealand’s greatest cartoonist, Murray Ball. This book, however, is not simply a cartoon book. It is, as the title suggests, an art book. The Art of Footrot Flats will be different and very, very special. The cartoons will still be there, but more importantly this book will focus on the art of the strip.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNational parks of New Zealand / photography by Rob Suisted ; text by Alison Dench. “Leading New Zealand photographer Rob Suisted delivers a magnificent portrait of New Zealand’s national parks. Within these treasured parks is diverse wildlife and stunning scenery representing all kinds of unique landscapes from golden sands to snowy mountains, rainforests and rugged coastlines. With five of the parks sitting in World Heritage Areas, this is a celebration of scenic Aotearoa at its best. Alison Dench emphasises the great pride and spiritual connection New Zealanders hold for their land with an introduction to each park.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBirds of New Zealand / Julian Fitter, Don Merton ; foreword by Helen Clark. “This beautiful photographic guide is the ideal companion for travelling bird watchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Featuring all 350 species of birds you can possibly see in New Zealand, it is the only guide that anyone travelling to this fascinating region of the world will need.” (adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverWanaka : earth to heaven at Whare Kea / author, Michal McKay ; photographs Kieran Scott.
Photographs and text describe the environment, geography, seasons and the outdoor activities available in the Wanaka region. Includes recipes from the Whare Kea lodge and chalet and profiles local identities.

Syndetics book coverTrees of New Zealand : stories of beauty and character / Peter Janssen & Mike Hollman. “This is a new kind of tree book, not a guide to species or simply a photographic study, it is a collection of individual portraits of the most remarkable trees in New Zealand. From the 800-year-old pohutukawa that stands at ‘the place of leaping’ at Cape Reinga to the Moriori carved ‘kopi’ (karaka) trees of the Chatham Islands but also trees that have histories that are linked to our own, such as the Gallipoli Pine at Taradale Cemetery, grown as a memorial from the seed of Gallipoli’s Lone Pine Tree.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSo brilliantly clever : Parker, Hulme & the murder that shocked the world / Peter Graham. “In this mesmerising book, lawyer and true crime writer Peter Graham tells the whole story for the first time – giving a brilliant account of the crime and ensuing trial, dramatic revelations about the fate of Juliete Hulme and Pauline Parker after their release from prison, their strange lives today and a penetrating insight into the crime using modern psychology.” (adapted from back cover)


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