News Blog > New Zealand

Recent additions to the NZ Collection

Always eclectic, new additions to the New Zealand Collection this month feature stories from a museum curator, a kiwi sanctuary, photography, poetry, the sad history of post war state care of children and lastly a murder mystery. The new book shelves of the NZ Collection have something to interest everyone.

Syndetics book coverThe unburnt egg : more stories of a museum curator / Brian Gill.
“Museum natural history collections have been called libraries of life. In The Unburnt Egg Brian Gill continues his spellbinding stories from more than thirty years as a curator. Some tales are so bizarre they read like fiction: a population of ship rats decimating the entire wildlife of an island and then collapsing; birds leaving their young to be raised by other birds; frogs and lizards living in trees and flying. Others reveal the painstaking detective work involved in solving mysteries presented by police, biosecurity agencies, government departments and members of the public. Frogs’ legs on sale as chicken, a feather hidden in a bag of sugar, a live boa constrictor on a street in snake-free New Zealand–it’s all in a day’s work.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProject Kiwi : how one man’s passion for the land hatched New Zealand’s first community kiwi sanctuary/ Sue Hoffart.
Project Kiwi is New Zealand’s first community-led kiwi conservation project, on the Coromandel Peninsula.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThrough the eyes of a miner : the photography of Joseph Divis / Simon Nathan ; with assistance from Les Wright and Brendon Wilshire.
“Joseph Divis (1885-1967) photographed life in New Zealand mining towns where he lived and worked between 1909 and 1935. His images provide a unique record of life in some small communities, especially the now-abandoned town of Waiuta, near Reefton.” (Introduction)

Syndetics book coverThe road to hell : state violence against children in postwar New Zealand / Elizabeth Stanley.
“From the 1950s to the 1980s, the New Zealand government took more than 100,000 children from experiences of strife, neglect, poverty or family violence and placed them under state care in residential facilities. In homes like Epuni and Kingslea, Kohitere and Allendale, the state took over as parent. The state failed. Within institutions, children faced abysmal conditions, limited education and social isolation. They endured physical, sexual and psychological violence, as well as secure cells, knock-out sedatives and electro-convulsive therapy. This book tells the story of 105 New Zealanders who experienced this mass institutionalisation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark days at the Oxygen Café / James Norcliffe.
“James Norcliffe is one of New Zealand’s most widely published and anthologised poets. In Dark Days at the Oxygen Cafe, he looks over the shoulders of many characters and creatures, both real and imagined, and takes us deep into uncanny valleys. Poems about Seneca and James Dean sit alongside poems about a Turken dictator and an owl man. We share in a portentous UFO sighting, a small celebration for Laika the space dog, and Peter the Great being offered an Air New Zealand lolly. These scenes from myth, history, pop culture and personal experience make for a wryly funny, deeply felt collection that contemplates the quirks of shared and personal histories.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNothing for it but to sing : poems / Michael Harlow.
“Michael Harlow’s poems are small detonations that release deeply complex stories of psychological separations and attractions, of memory and desire. Frequently they slip into the alluring spaces just at the edges of language, dream and gesture, as they carefully lower, like measuring gauges, into the ineffable: intimations of mortality, the slippery nature of identity, longing, fear … This is a beautifully honed new collection.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMister Hamilton / John Dickson.
Mister Hamilton, John Dickson’s first collection in eighteen years, is an appealing, questioning mix of elements. Over a base of South Island bedrock (granite, schist, greywacke), Dickson has peopled this quietly fiery collection with day-to-day working voices and narratives, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes charged with a political consciousness and lyrical intensity. Shot-through with veins of jazz, rock and blues, quizzical religiosity and a streak of the absurd, this book takes a fresh look at the streets and lawns and people of urban and suburban ‘Pig Island’ and offers some thoughtful, wisely pitched and immensely likeable poems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe black widow : how one woman got justice for her murdered brother / by Lee-Anne Cartier.
“The Black Widow almost got away with murder. But then her sister-in-law became suspicious… The infamous Black Widow case shocked the nation. An average-looking suburban housewife carefully staged her husband’s ‘suicide’. At first it looked like she might get away with murder, but then her sister-in-law, Lee-Anne Cartier, became suspicious and started gathering evidence and presenting it to the police. Helen Milner, who became known as the Black Widow, was eventually convicted of murder and is now serving out her sentence in Arohata Prison. This book tells how Lee-Anne persevered and put together many strands of information to crack the case wide open.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fiction Newsletter for July

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter. This month we feature New Zealand writers in our ‘Other Genres’ category, as there are some talented new writers emerging. We have highlighted some wonderful novels from all our categories of recent picks, to ensure many hours of great reading during the long nights of mid-winter.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Deciding on the novels to highlight in this month’s newsletter has been difficult due to the extraordinary number of brilliant writers recently received into the fiction collection. The following titles are just a taste of some great reading from the recent selection.

Syndetics book cover Zero K : a novel / Don DeLillo.
“Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Loney / Andrew Michael Hurley.
“When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine. But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites… Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The bricks that built the houses / Kate Tempest.
“Becky, Harry, and Leon are leaving London in a fourth-hand Ford with a suitcase full of stolen money, in a mess of tangled loyalties and impulses. But can they truly leave the city that’s in their bones? This novel reaches back through time, through tensely quiet dining rooms and crassly loud clubs–to the first time Becky and Harry meet. It sprawls through their lives and those they touch, of their families and friends and faces on the street, revealing intimacies and the moments that make them. And it captures the contemporary struggle of urban life, of young people seeking jobs or juggling jobs, harboring ambitions and making compromises.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Chosen for this newsletter are the only three stand-alone stories, from this month selection of new Graphic Novels, as the others were all the first volumes of new series.

Syndetics book cover My degeneration : a journey through Parkinson’s / Peter Dunlap-Shohl.
“How does one deal with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease at the age of forty-three? My Degeneration, by former Anchorage Daily News staff cartoonist Peter Dunlap-Shohl, answers the question with humor and passion, recounting the author’s attempt to come to grips with the “malicious whimsy” of this chronic, progressive, and disabling disease.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Beef with tomato / Dean Haspiel.
“A native New York bruiser is fed up with life in the dregs of a drug-addled Alphabet City where his neighbors are shut-ins and his bicycle is always getting stolen. He escapes from Manhattan to make a fresh start in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, only to face a new strain of street logic, where most everything he encounters is not as it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Becoming unbecoming / Una.
“A devastating personal account of gender violence told in comic book form, set against the backdrop of the 1970s Yorkshire Ripper man-hunt. It’s 1977 and Una is 12. A serial murderer is at large in West Yorkshire and the police, despite spending more than two million man-hours hunting the killer and interviewing the man himself no less than nine times, are struggling to solve the case. As this national news story unfolds around her, Una finds herself on the receiving end of a series of violent acts for which she feels she is to blame. Unbecoming explores gender violence, blame, shame, and social responsibility.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

This month’ new Mysteries includes the first novel by Chinese writer Song Ying, titled Apricot’s revenge: a crime novel, is set in China. It promises an ingenious plot, providing captivating reading, and is highly recommended.

Syndetics book cover Little Sister / David Hewson
“Kim and Mia Timmers were ten years old when they were accused of murdering the rest of their family and the lead singer of the world famous band, The Cupids. The sisters, who have been in a Marken institution for ten years, are now due for release. Pieter Vos, DI in the Amsterdam police, is given cause to re-open the case when the girls disappear along with a nurse who was supposed to escort them to a half-way house. It soon becomes evident that there is more than meets the eye at Marken, and senior staff at the institution are beginning to panic as they fear certain secrets might come to light. When the dead body of the nurse washes up on the beach at Marken, it becomes clear that someone is posing as the third sister, Little Jo, who died ten years ago.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover In the cold dark ground / Stuart MacBride.
“Sergeant Logan McRae is in trouble. His missing-persons investigation has just turned up a body in the woods, naked, hands tied behind its back, and a bin bag duct-taped over its head. The Major Investigation Team charges up from Aberdeen, under the beady eye of Logan’s ex-boss Detective Chief Inspector Steel. And, as usual, she wants him to do her job for her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Apricot’s revenge : a crime novel / Song Ying ; translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin.
“A business tycoon in China is found dead; he apparently suffered a heart attack while swimming. But soon it becomes clear that he was murdered. Three immediate beneficiaries of his death become the suspects: the vice president of the company, Zhou, who is in line to take over his position; his young widow, Zhu, who stands to inherit a huge amount of wealth; and his arch business rival, Hong. Nie Feng, a young investigative reporter for a magazine, interviewed the victim just a few days before he died. Through his own research, Nie Feng discovers a new suspect who is not on the police’s radar.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

As readers of this genre expect they will be transported to new worlds, populated by a wide range of diverse characters, and placed in the most amazing situations. Each novel in this selection illustrates the brilliant imagination shown by each author.

Syndetics book cover Transgalactic / James Gunn.
“When Riley and Asha finally reached the planet Terminal and found the Transcendental Machine, a matter transmission device built by an ancient race, they chose to be “translated.” Now in possession of intellectual and physical powers that set them above human limitations, the machine has transported them to two, separate, unknown planets among a possibility of billions. Riley and Asha know that together they can change the galaxy, so they attempt to do the impossible, find each other.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The map of bones / Francesca Haig
“Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha, physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega, burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies so does the other.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Barren Cove : a novel / Ariel S. Winter.
“The robot Sapien is a relic of a bygone age, searching for meaning in a world where his outdated allegiances to a time long past have left him isolated and hopeless. Seeking peace and quiet, he retires to a beach house at Barren Cove, a stately Victorian manor even more antiquated than he. He becomes increasingly fascinated with the family whose lives are entwined with the home, angry and rebellious Clark: flamboyant Kent: fragile, beautiful Mary; and most of all, Beachstone, the mysterious man whose history may hold all the answers Sapien has been searching for.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

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Other genres

The New Zealand writers featuring this month in our ‘Other Genre’ category reflect a wide range of theme. From historical to contemporary national issues, romance to time travel, all open some new and thought provoking views on our society.

Syndetics book cover The blackbird sings at dusk / Linda Olsson.
“One winter evening, Elias, a young artist, watches a woman move into his apartment building. After closing her door, however, she is not seen again. A misdirected letter finally gives Elias the opportunity to make contact. But inside her dark apartment, Elisabeth refuses to respond to his knock. Her only company is the Woman in Green, an unbidden vision from her childhood dreams. Elias, meanwhile, is not to be deterred and draws his friend Otto, an elderly widower, into his attempts to entice Elisabeth into the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Something else / David Parkyn.
“In a city threatened by drought, in a country wracked by unusual weather patterns, in an empty building about to be demolished, a fugitive from art contemplates a blank canvas, a jar of old brushes and a fresh page in his journal. As he surveys the grounds on which he’s lived and worked ‘a mutinous crew’ conspires to take him on a voyage of salvage and recovery, into inner city Auckland of the ‘sixties to revisit the deaths in which he believes his early obsession is implicated. A voyage to illuminate a looming personal and global disaster, to navigate the boundaries of art and politics, obsession and friendship and the shifting shores of modern art movements.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Syndetics book cover The last time we spoke / Fiona Sussman.
“One mild summer evening in rural New Zealand the lives of Carla Reid, a middle-aged farmer’s wife, and Ben Toroa, an illiterate teen, brutally collide. Neither will be the same again, their futures forever linked. In the bleak aftermath of this home invasion, this novel traces both Carla and Ben’s journey as they each try to make sense of their new reality. Carla’s long road from rage and resentment interleaves with Ben’s time in prison as he hardens into manhood. Set again these parallel stories is also the voice of a Maori ancestor who looks down from Beyond, transporting the story to a wider historical stage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New ‘Other Genres’ this month featuring New Zealand Fiction

This month we are featuring New Zealand fiction in our ‘Other Genres’ category. In this selection there is an exciting, diverse, range on novels, and some great writing. New work from two much acclaimed veteran writers Owen Marshall and Damien Wilkins are also included.

Syndetics book coverMy father’s ears / Karen Goa.
“When an Italian immigrant’s harsh but intriguing past catches up with him, his skeptical daughter Sophie sets out to discover the truth about her father, his affair with a Romanian trapeze artist and a mysterious New Zealander claiming to be his son. This twisting tale of secrets and social dilemmas is set against a remarkable and moving history of Italian immigration.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHold my teeth while I teach you to dance / Mike Johnson.
“Investigative journalist Jason Argonaut is not content to rest on his laurels and dream of past glories. No, he has to take too great an interest in his fascinating new neighbours, play the Grandfather Detective, and find himself in possession of the world best kept secret, or is it? A delicious mix of murder, mayhem and intrigue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from fishpond.co.nzReturn to Lucifer Creek/ Gary Joll.
“Barry Morton is hunting illegally on Lilybank, a large property in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. He seeks a unique trophy, a pure white bull Tahr. Upon returning to his well-concealed secret camp he discovers a young woman bathing in the hot pool, a pool he believed was known only to members of his family. He is then forced to save his own life by killing two individuals wearing grey camo who clearly were intent on killing him. Barry quickly realizes this group of apparent terrorists, is killing all persons unlucky enough to encounter them. Within hours of his lethal encounter with these Grey Ghosts Barry suspects they may have killed members of the climbing party to which Helen, his unexpected camp companion, belongs. If they are to survive, Barry and Helen must play a deadly game of hide-and-seek; becoming the hunters not the hunted.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAbsence / Joanna King.
“Four sisters meet for a holiday on the spectacularly beautiful Cinque Terre Coast of Italy. One of the sisters disappears. Under the stress, the hidden emotional and sexual rivalries between the others are laid bare. For the youngest, the disappearance of her sister is a profound threat. This is the person with whom she has had the truest bond since the collapse of the family twenty years ago. Is the disappearance accidental or intentional? Have the sisters shockingly misunderstood one of their own? How radically will the missing sister’s fate alter their lives? Husbands and lovers, future hopes and the family’s past, all come under intense scrutiny in the vortex of events” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from fishpond.co.nzCold hard murder / Trish McCormack.
“Two people struggle on a ledge high above the surge pool at Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks. One falls to their death, beginning a sequence of violence as Department of Conservation ranger Matt Grey announces plans for a commercial tourism venture bitterly opposed by the local community. More people die, and it seems their murders are motivated by something more personal than a threat to the integrity of the national park. But the trail is as cold and twisted as some of the park’s most labyrinthine caves. Philippa Barnes is asked to do some unofficial sleuthing, which is not welcomed by the police. She delves into the lives of some strong-willed individuals, many of whom have secrets, uncovering a dark story that resonates with events in her own life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe death ray debacle / David McGill.
“In June 1935 Takapuna inventor Victor Penny was attacked by foreign agents seeking what the newspapers dubbed a ‘death ray’. The government secretly shifted him to Somes Island in Wellington harbour to develop the weapon. The novel of this true story is told by Temporary Acting Detective Dan Delaney, seconded to Special Branch, forerunner of the Security Intelligence Service.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLove as a stranger / Owen Marshall.
“Temporarily in Auckland while her husband is undergoing treatment, Sarah enjoys a walk in the coolness of the Symonds Street Cemetery. As she pauses at the grave of Emily Keeling, murdered in 1886 by a rejected suitor, a stranger named Hartley strikes up a conversation. Before long he arranges to meet Sarah for coffee. So their friendship begins, and soon blossoms into an affair, rich in mutual understanding and sexual excitement. But love may become obsession, which brings with it disquieting demands, even menace. When love is not madness, it is not love.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRachel’s legacy / Julie Thomas.
“The sequel to The Keeper of Secrets, following the fortunes of the Horowitz family from pre-war Berlin to the present. When Dr Kobi Voight is given a set of old letters by his mother he has no inkling that they will lead him around the world and deep into the tragic past of his family. Within the letters, written in Hebrew and filled with delicate illustrations, lie the reflections of a young Jewish woman, forced to give up her baby daughter while fighting with the Resistance in Berlin. Who is the author, known only as ‘Ruby’, and what became of her child? And how does a priceless work of art, stolen by the Nazis, form part of the unfolding mystery?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDad art / Damien Wilkins.
“It’s Wellington, now. Acoustic Engineer Michael Stirling’s old life is gone. He’s on the dating scene, learning te reo Maori, living in an upmarket apartment complex, and visiting his father who has dementia. Wearing his online dating disguise, Michael meets Chrissie, the widowed mother of a young son. Then his beloved adult daughter arrives from Auckland with a new attachment, an artist whose project will push them all towards key moments of risk and revelation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwister / Jane Woodham.
“March 2013. Two months before parliament is to vote on legalising gay marriage, a spate of vicious attacks on gay men erupts in Dunedin. Then a twister rips through, uncovering the body of schoolgirl, Tracey Wenlock. Former Londoner, Detective Senior Sergeant Leo Judd, is to lead the investigation, the first such enquiry since his own daughter, Beth, went missing nine years earlier. As Judd carefully uncovers the truth surrounding Tracey Wenlock’s death, the trauma associated with his own daughter’s disappearance resurfaces.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genres’ for January 2016, this month featuring New Zealand Fiction

New Zealand writers feature in this month’s selection from the new ‘Other Genres’ category. There are several debut novelists, and the fiction themes range from historical romances to psychological thrillers, from werewolves to substance abuse. Also included is the latest novel from the well-known writer Albert Wendt, titled Breaking connections.

firstnamesonlyFirst names only : a New Zealand novel / Elaine Blick.
“Janice at 18 is ambitious and has set her sights on a top degree in languages. When she finds she is pregnant Janice’s world comes crashing down, for this is 1960s New Zealand, when to be pregnant and single is a disgrace. Janice has no choice but to enter Sunnyvale, a home for unmarried mothers in Auckland. Once the baby is born the maternal tug is powerful and she longs to keep him. Can Janice bear to give up her child with the knowledge that she may never see him again?” (Adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverNew beginnings at Lilyfields / Lottie Bloom.
“Lilyfields cottage has been lying empty since its previous occupant, Rosa, got married. It’s just the haven Orla Nolan is looking for. She needs to recuperate after an accident has dashed her dreams of acting in a movie that’s being filmed in a neighbouring bay. Orla is feeling lonely and dejected, but before long she is confronted by two handsome suitors. She’s spoilt for choice, except they are father and son, and while one is a touch too old and too settled for her liking, might the other be too young and too wild? Meanwhile Rosa’s former boyfriend has turned up and appears to be finding it hard to let go of his lost love. As Orla struggles to find a new role for herself at Lilyfields, will its magic deliver true love?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBackwards Into the Future / Bronwyn Elsmore
“Everyone knows you can’t go back. Everyone except Mary apparently, because here she is, back in her old hometown. That’s because of two women, Kui and Ana. One of them is pushing her, the other is holding back, and between the two there’s much to be resolved. The plum tree and the manuka have gone, but a lemon tree thrives. The mystery of the Marakihau may never be solved; but if Ana returns, their friendship and some things from the past can be recovered. Can’t they?” (Adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe bordello girl / Hilary Murray.
“Auckland bordello owner Kitty Malloy understands men. But even she is taken aback when Silas Crawford asks her help with his young, naive wife. Twenty-three year old Thea Crawford has come to realise getting married was a terrible mistake and yearns to be free of her middle-aged over-bearing husband and his constant demands. Darius is a playboy and adventurer. A favored customer at the bordello, when Thea is blackmailed into becoming one of Kitty’s girls he sweeps her off her feet. But should she listen to the others when they tell her of his reputation? Or are his feelings for her real?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

seerswolfThe seer’s wolf / Barbara Petrie.
“It is 1952 and strange events are taking place in Loam, a small settlement in rural Canterbury, New Zealand. Ralph Randal, his wife Irena and their three daughters have immigrated to the area from England, but as they settle in, the curiosity of Clover, a neighbouring farm girl, is aroused. An air of mystery surrounds the English family, and Ralph Randal appears to dote excessively on his lovely eighteen-year-old daughter, Satina. What is really happening to cause an unsettling shadow of gloom to enshroud the community?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe exodus file / Reg Puckey.
“An American scientist discovers an asteroid made of magnetite will pass close enough to Earth to shift not just the magnetic north pole but the physical north pole as well, right into the heart of the USA. Mark Lucas chooses to brief the President about America’s ice-age fate before telling his scientific colleagues, a decision that threatens to cost him his life, his conscience and his integrity, as a national security ‘cone of silence’ descends on his discovery. At what point does political power become megalomania? If the end of the world was coming, who would you tell?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverThe gentlemen’s club / Jen Shieff.
“Headstrong and independent, Rita Saunders is a successful hairdresser by day and a busy brothel madam by night. The only thing missing from her life is the love of a good woman. Istvan Ziegler is a Hungarian immigrant who has come to New Zealand to work on the brand new harbour bridge project. He is full of hope and dreams of a better life. Sixteen-year-old Judith Curran has come to Auckland for an abortion. With no money or family support, she finds herself at the mercy of strangers and simply has to hope they have her best interests at heart. Becoming bound into a desperate situation involving a group of orphan girls, Rita, Judith and Istvan find fortitude they never knew they possessed. But do they have enough of it to expose the menacing orphanage director and the slice of the heartless and seedy 1950s’ underworld he inhabits?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBreaking connections : a novel / by Albert Wendt.
“A dynamic group has emerged in Auckland whose members refer to themselves as the Tribe. Mainly Polynesian, they grow up together, rise from poverty and become successful professionals, bound by love and fierce loyalty. At the centre, is Aaron, who lives at the edge of danger, shady dealings and self-destruction. When Daniel, receives a call in Hawaii telling him that Aaron has been killed, he returns to New Zealand and steps into the most dangerous crisis the Tribe has faced. They must confront the truth about who Aaron is and what they, as the Tribe, have become, and also face the infidelity and greed that threaten the cohesion of the Tribe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Pounamu prophecy : a sweeping story of love, betrayal and hope / Cindy Williams.
“Since she watched her village burn to the ground, Mere’s life has been anything but dull. Now as an older woman she has come to stay with Helene and James to finish writing her life story, a tale of injustice, revenge and reconciliation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to grow an addict : a novel / J. A. Wright.
“Randall Grange has been tricked into admitting herself into a treatment center and she doesn’t know why. She’s not a party hound like the others in her therapy group but then again, she knows she can’t live without pills or booze. Her parents introduced her to alcohol and tranquilizers at a young age, ensuring that her teenage years would be full of bad choices, and by the time she’s twenty-three years old, she’s a full-blown drug addict, well acquainted with the miraculous power chemicals have to cure just about any problem she could possibly have and she’s in more trouble than she’s ever known was possible.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

December Community & Languages Newsletter

Welcome to this month’s book and DVD selection featuring history, cooking and crafts, foreign literature, awarded films, and more! A good range of topics to offer you lots of ideas, instant inspiration and entertainment. Have fun!

Library News

New Zealand

This month the New Zealand Collection takes a walk down memory lane reflecting on the New Zealand of childhoods. We also take a look into the Rugby World and the success of the All Blacks.

Syndetics book cover Taking my mother to the opera / Diane Brown.
“Many readers will recognise the New Zealand so vividly portrayed here, as Brown marshals deeply personal events and childhood memories in a delightfully astute, understated personal memoir.” (Abridged back cover)
Syndetics book cover A life on film / Geoff Murphy.
“‘I’m taking this bloody car to Invercargill!’ It was the line that had cinema audiences cheering. Goodbye Pork Pie became an instant classic, and announced the arrival of a major new talent in director Geoff Murphy. With his next two films, Utu and The Quiet Earth, he cemented his reputation as a pioneer of New Zealand cinema. He’d come a long way from his days as a struggling school teacher, and then a member of a madcap band of merry pranksters known as Blerta, founded by his great friend and collaborator Bruno Lawrence. But it was the same sense of adventure – with a healthy dose of Kiwi ingenuity – that defined every stage of his career. In this candid and funny memoir, Geoff Murphy looks back on a life in (and on) film – from do-it-yourself shoots in the 1960s to epic work on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Black obsession : the All Blacks’ quest for World Cup success / Gregor Paul.
“This thought-provoking book is a search for answers to the vexing phenomenon of why the world’s undisputed greatest rugby team can’t win the World Cup. It is an in-depth investigation that explores how societal change, combined with the arrival of professionalism, has impacted on the ability of the All Blacks to perform on the biggest stage. The end result is a compelling and authoritative read that gives the most detailed and comprehensive answer to a question everyone has asked but no one has ever satisfactorily answered.” (Abridged Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The antipodeans : a novel / Greg McGee.
“Beginning with the return to Venice of an old and sick man determined to confront his past, and accompanied by his daughter who is escaping hers, The Antipodeans spans three generations of a New Zealand family and their interaction with three families of Northern Italy. From Venice to the South Island of New Zealand, from the assassination of a Gestapo commander in the last days of Italian resistance in WWII to contemporary real estate shenanigans in Auckland, from political assassination in the darkest days of the Red Brigade to the vaulting cosmology of particle physics.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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DVDs

The highlights of new arrival DVDs include the long-awaited Woman in Gold and A Royal Night Out. Check out our new DVDs here and reserve the items you like.

cover image Woman in gold.
“Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann, starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt’s famous painting Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg, she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image A royal night out.
A Royal Night Out is a film about one perfect, glorious evening in the lives of two real-life princesses. They are Elizabeth and Margaret Windsor and the night is 8 May 1945, V-E Night. The whole of London is on the streets to celebrate the official end of World War II in Europe. It is known the young princesses, aged 19 and 14, slipped out of the palace to join the communal euphoria and went dancing at the Ritz. They apparently returned to Buckingham Palace just after midnight. Directed by acclaimed UK director Julian Jarrold, A Royal Night Out is an affectionate ‘what-if’ story about the adventures Elizabeth and Margaret might have had on the joyous night that brought the whole of London together.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Indian summers.
“Set against the sweeping grandeur of the Himalayas and tea plantations of Northern India, this epic drama tells the rich and explosive story of the decline of the British Empire and the birth of modern India, from both sides of the experience.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image Dior and I.
“A thrilling behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’s highly anticipated first Haute Couture collection as Christian Dior’s new Artistic Director. Beautifully melding the everyday, pressure-filled components of fashion with an elegant reverence for the history of Dior, Tcheng’s colorful homage is nothing short of magical.” (Syndetics summary)
cover image The salt of the earth : a journey with Sebastião Salgado.
“For the last 40 years, the photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He has witnessed some of the major events of our recent history; international conflicts, starvation and exodus.” (Syndetics summary)

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Community Languages

Explore some delightful additions to our Community Languages collection including history, romance and suspense. Enjoy!

Syndetics book cover Rue des boutiques obscures / Patrick Modiano.
“Paul Modiano is a French writer who was born on July 30, 1945, in Boulogne-Billancourt. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014 for his lifetime body of work. Modiano’s works explore the traumas of the Nazi occupation of France and the puzzle of identity. His preoccupation with the theme of identity can be seen throughout many of his works including his 2005 memoir entitled Un Pedigree. His mother and father began their clandestine relationship during occupied France. Growing up, his father was absent for most of his life and his mother was away frequently while on tour acting. He was alone much of the time and went to school because of government aid. His younger brother died of a disease at age 10 and this added to his “lost identity” feelings while growing up. Although he is well known in France, only about 12 of his works have been translated into English.” (Bowker Author Biography)
Syndetics book cover Etoile errante / J.M.G. Le Clézio.
“This is the story of two teenage girls on the threshold and in the aftermath of World War II: Esther, a French Jew who flees for Jerusalem with her mother, Elizabeth, just before the German occupation; and Nejma, a young Arab orphaned and unable to return to the ancient city of her birth, Akka, after the Israeli declaration of statehood.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Contigo en la distancia / Carla Guelfenbein.
“Spanish Description: Los laberintos del amor y la mentira, y el talento desigual como desafío de una pareja son los grandes temas de esta novela de Carla Guelfenbein. A Vera Sigall y Horacio Infante los une un amor de juventud y su pasión por la literatura. También un lazo misterioso que dos jóvenes, Emilia y Daniel, intentan desentrañar. Sin embargo, este no es el único enigma en sus vidas. Una mañana, Vera Sigall cae por las escaleras de su casa y queda en coma. Al principio, la noción de que su caída no fue un accidente aparece como una sospecha para Daniel. Pero con los días y las semanas, la duda irá creciendo hasta volverse una certeza. Emilia y Daniel se encontrarán en la búsqueda de la verdad acerca del accidente de la mítica escritora pero, sobre todo, en la necesidad de entender sus propios destinos.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Platos exprés : 175 deliciosas recetas listas en 30 minutos o menos / Liz Franklin ; [traducción, Eva María Cantenys Félez].
“Meal times are an opportunity to unwind and share quality time with your family–talking and laughing while enjoying savory food. This book shows you how to do just that while minimizing preparation and fuss. The cookbook is divided into six easy chapters featuring recipes that can be made in just 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 minutes. Forget prepared supermarket convenience meals or take-out. Instead, discover how to create scrumptious meals from fresh ingredients–quick. These recipes are loaded with homemade taste, are significantly cheaper than frozen dinners, and can be made in only a matter of minutes.” (Syndetics summary)

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Cooking

This collection of cookbooks will inspire you to create wholesome, healthy meals easily and without stress.

Syndetics book cover Salads in a Jar / Courtney Roulston.
“In our busy lives, we are always looking for nutritious, delicious, satisfying meals that are fast and simple to prepare. Salads in a Jar will show you how you can take it to another level, layering jars with salads to create lunches or breakfasts on the go….the salads are portable, the packaging is environmentally friendly and the recipes are delicious. Because the salads can last for several days in the fridge, you can always have yummy breakfasts and lunches ready to go.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover From Venice to Istanbul / Rick Stein.
“From the mythical heart of Greece to the fruits of the Black Sea coast; from Croatian and Albanian flavors to the spices and aromas of Turkey and beyond–the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean is a vibrant melting pot brimming with character. This book includes more than 100 spectacular recipes discovered by Rick during his travels. this collection of inspiring recipes evokes the magic of the Eastern Mediterranean at home.” (Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Janella’s Super Natural Foods / Janella Purcell.
“With more than 150 fantastic recipes for healthy and delicious meals, desserts, snacks, drinks, and dressings,…Janella’s philosophy of using “food as medicine” is simple and easy to follow. Many of the recipes have been influenced by Janella’s travels to Italy, Japan, India, the Middle East, and South East Asia. Clearly marked with relevant codes–gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, raw, soy free, nut free, or grain free–each recipe also contains a few alternative ingredient suggestions to please all of the friends and family seated around your table. ” (Syndetics summary)

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Craft

There’s nothing more satisfying than making Christmas cards and gifts for your family and friends and you will find lots of new library books, packed with magical ideas and inspiration to help you make this season special.

Syndetics book cover Half yard Christmas : easy sewing projects using left-over pieces of fabric / Debbie Shore.
“Are you craving a crafty, creative Christmas? Let Debbie Shore show you how to create all the accessories you’ll need in the latest addition to her best-selling Half Yard series. Featuring six themed chapters – rustic, traditional, contemporary, monochrome, Scandinavian and kids – there’s something for everyone: you can select your favourite Christmas style or mix and match throughout your home. With over 30 simple, stylish projects requiring only half yards of fabric, this book will have you feeling festive in no time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Handmade interiors / project editor, Laura Palosuo.
Handmade Interiors is the most comprehensive guide to soft furnishings and home sewing projects on the market. Handmade Interiors leads you through sewing projects such as how to sew curtains, a cushion cover or a Roman blind using step-by-step instructions and images. Compiled by experts in home design who offer advice on fabrics and variations to tailor to your specific home decoration needs. The easy to follow format makes this the perfect guide for novices and experts alike, covering the whole process of creating professional looking furnishings, from measuring, all the way through to installing your finished project.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Rubber band bracelets : 35 colorful projects you’ll love to make / Lucy Hopping.
“Everyone’s crazy for rubber-band jewelry! Discover how to make 3 fantastic designs for yourself and your friends. All you need to make the basic bracelets are colourful rubber bands, a loom that you can make yourself, a hook, and a clip or split ring–it’s that simple! The patterns in this book show you how to make a whole host of different items that you can customize by choosing your own colourways. Every one of these projects, from a pretty diamond bracelet to cute ladybug and bee bracelets, will inspire you to get crafting. All the projects have clear step-by-step illustrated instructions, so you’ll be an expert in no time!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Neck effects : 30 scarves, wraps, and cowls to knit for now.
“Nurture your neck! Neck Effects offers knitters a creative collection of 30 fresh, fashion-forward neckwear designs featuring Cascade Yarns’ Heritage line of luxurious, easy-care superwash merino blends. From cozy cables to delicate lace to stunning Fair Isle, knitters of every skill level will find projects that are destined to become modern classics–and that will make great gifts for anyone with a love of knits and a sense of style!” (Syndetics summary)

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New Zealand in German Samoa

On 29 August 1914, New Zealand troops arrived in Samoa and seized it from German control. This turned out to be a reasonably simple expedition but at the time it was regarded as potentially risky, with unknown consequences.

Samoa had been under German rule since 1900, but the presence of Germany in Samoa predates this. In 1855 Germany expanded its trading into the Pacific, initiating large-scale production of coconut, cacao and hevea rubber in Samoa (then known as the Navigator Islands). America and the United Kingdom also had business interests in the Pacific and opposed the German activity, which lead to the Second Samoan Civil War in 1899. Following this war, the Samoan islands were divided between the three opposing powers, with Germany being awarded what is today known as Western Samoa. It became regarded as the ‘jewel’ of German colonialism.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, Samoa was of moderate strategic importance to Germany. Using the radio transmitter located in the hills above Apia, German troops were able to send Morse code signals to Berlin, as well as communicate with the 90 warships in Germany’s naval fleet. Britain wanted this threat neutralised and New Zealand agreed to seize Samoa from Germany.

officers
Officers attached to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Samoa. Tattersall, Alfred James, 1866-1951 :Photographs of Samoa. Ref: PAColl-3062-3-18. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23195986

New Zealand troops departed from Wellington on the morning of Saturday 15 August in two ships, Monowai and Moeraki. These two ships had been requisitioned from the Union Steam Ship Company as transports, and were therefore slow and unarmed. These two unlikely war ships left the New Zealand convoy extremely vulnerable as they travelled to Samoa, especially as the location of the German East Asia Squadron was unknown to the Allies throughout their two week journey.

moeraki
S S Moeraki leaving Wellington. Dickie, John, 1869-1942 :Collection of postcards, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/1-002258-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22460165

When the New Zealand convoy reached French New Caledonia, they were joined by the Royal Australian Navy’s battlecruiser HMAS Australia, the light cruiser HMAS Melbourne and the French armoured cruiser Montcalm. While the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 is acknowledged as the birth of the Anzac legend, the first Australian–New Zealand military operation of the First World War was actually the capture of German Samoa in August 1914.

landing
Tattersall, Alfred James, 1866-1951. New Zealand troops landing in Samoa during World War I. Making New Zealand :Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-0366-1/4-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22716395

Upon reaching Samoa, it became known to the New Zealand convoy that the German defences there were in fact quite weak; they had only 20 troops and special constables armed with 50 aging rifles. The Samoa Advance Party of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force landed at Apia on 29 August with no opposition. It was later discovered that the German administration had received orders from Berlin not to oppose an Allied invasion.

camp
Part of camp, Malifa, Western Samoa. Hackworth, Philip Vernon, d 1960 :Photograph album. Ref: PA1-q-107-36-2. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22806414

A fortnight later, on 14 September, the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau arrived off Apia and the New Zealand garrison braced itself for large-calibre gunfire. Luckily, the cruisers left once their skippers realised that Samoa was no longer in German hands. Samoa was then declared to be under a New Zealand-run British military occupation. The British flag was raised outside the government building in Apia and Samoa became the second German territory, after Togoland in Africa, to fall to the Allies in the First World War.

troops
Star Boating Club :Photograph of members of the club who went to Samoa with Expeditionary Force, 1914.. Ref: PAColl-5216. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22348195

If you would like to learn more about New Zealand in German Samoa, we have some materials available:

Syndetics book coverFighting for empire: New Zealand and the Great War of 1914-1918 / Christopher Pugsley.
“One hundred thousand New Zealanders sailed to war between 1914 and 1918, and at the end of four years of conflict the country had suffered 60,000 casualties, including 18,000 dead. Dr Chris Pugsley’s account of the First World War (first published as a section in Scars on the Heart: 200 Years of NZ at War, Bateman, 1996), is a tale of learning about war the hard way, by bitter and costly experience, drawing on photographs, letters and diaries to examine the impact of war through the eyes of those involved. This lively mix of text, photographs and soldiers’ own accounts covers all aspects of the war: from NZ’s seizing German Samoa five days after war was declared, ANZAC Cove and Gallipoli, patriotism at home, Mounted Rifles in Sinai and Palestine, the role of our nurses, the Western Front, and ‘Sea Dogs and Flying Aces – how our sailors and airmen fought the war’.” (Syndetics summary)

THE SAMOA (N.Z.) EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
We have this book in our New Zealand Rare books collection. Published in 1924, it is in a fragile condition but may be viewed by request at the 2nd floor enquiries desk.

photoa 2photoa 1.jpga

Information sourced from NZ History and Wikipedia
Images sourced from Timeframes

A walk down memory lane – NZ Collection Recent Picks

This month the New Zealand Collection takes a walk down memory lane with two writers reflecting on the New Zealand of their childhoods. We also get a look into the lives of conservation stalwart Alan Mark and filmmaker Geoff Murphy. Design and art feature in books on vintage paua jewellery and the Wellington based WOW phenomenon. An historical whodunit set in Taranaki at a time of uneasy race relations in the 1880’s and a blog written by a dying father for his unborn daughter bring this New Zealand Collection recent arrivals almost to an end but in light of the upcoming weekend of Rugby world cup finals the last two picks are both All Black focused.

Syndetics book coverTaking my mother to the opera / Diane Brown.
“Many readers will recognise the New Zealand so vividly portrayed here, as Brown marshals deeply personal events and childhood memories in a delightfully astute, understated personal memoir.” (Abridged back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe dreaming land / Martin Edmond.
“In the evocative prose that makes him one of our finest writers, Martin Edmond recalls his experiences of growing up in rural New Zealand in the 1950s and 60s. The son of schoolteachers, Edmond’s early life was shaped by his father’s developing career and the moves it dictated: from Ohakune, to Greytown, to Huntly, to Heretaunga. The Dreaming Land shows us the making of a thinker and a writer. Edmond documents the people, locations, and events that made a lasting impression on him, and maps the development of his mental landscape, a landscape marked by curiosity, empathy and the capacity for acute observation.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA life on film / Geoff Murphy.
“‘I’m taking this bloody car to Invercargill!’ It was the line that had cinema audiences cheering. Goodbye Pork Pie became an instant classic, and announced the arrival of a major new talent in director Geoff Murphy. With his next two films, Utu and The Quiet Earth, he cemented his reputation as a pioneer of New Zealand cinema. He’d come a long way from his days as a struggling school teacher, and then a member of a madcap band of merry pranksters known as Blerta, founded by his great friend and collaborator Bruno Lawrence. But it was the same sense of adventure – with a healthy dose of Kiwi ingenuity – that defined every stage of his career. In this candid and funny memoir, Geoff Murphy looks back on a life in (and on) film – from do-it-yourself shoots in the 1960s to epic work on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStanding my ground : a voice for nature conservation / Alan F. Mark
“For more than five decades, Alan Mark has been a voice for conservation in New Zealand. From his call in the 1960s for the establishment of tussock-grassland reserves in the South Island high country to his involvement in the 2011–13 campaign to save the Denniston Plateau from mining, he has been a passionate and effective advocate for the preservation of areas of ecological importance. In Standing My Ground, Alan describes the challenges and achievements, the frustrations and successes that have made up his remarkable life, now in its ninth decade. As well as providing an important record of New Zealand’s conservation battles and documenting the life of an outstanding New Zealander, Standing My Ground is an inspiring reminder of the power of individuals to make a difference.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVintage paua shell jewellery : art souvenir, tourist kitsch, Kiwi icon / Elly van de Wijdeven.
“All vintage jewellery is collectible and none more so than that made from paua shell. No longer regarded as the tourist kitsch of yesteryear, the book explores this fascinating history and shares the many stories of how and why it came to be produced and by whom, and also who bought it and for what reason, whether as a souvenir of New Zealand or to commemorate a special place or event. The accompanying narrative traces its roots from the Classic pre-European Maori period, through the years of its main production in New Zealand from the 1920s to the 1980s, before the market was flooded by cheap, mass-produced imports, to its present status as Kiwi icon.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWorld of WearableArt : 30 designers tell their stories / text by Naomi Arnold.
“First book from the World of WearableArt with a serious text that focuses on the designers and their stories. Unprecedented interest in WOW, now in its 27th year, with an annual audience of over 45,000 attending the Awards Show in Wellington. Very appealing as an inspirational book for artists, designers, students and craftspeople.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe many deaths of Mary Dobie : murder, politics and revenge in nineteenth-century New Zealand / David Hastings.
“‘Shocking outrage’, the Evening Post in Wellington when they learned in November 1880 that a young woman called Mary Dobie had been found lying under a flax bush near Ōpunake on the Taranaki coast with her throat cut so deep her head was almost severed. In the midst of tensions between Māori and Pākehā, the murder ignited questions: Pākehā feared it was an act of political terrorism in response to the state’s determination to take the land of the tribes in the region. Māori thought it would be the cue for the state to use force against them, especially the pacifist settlement at Parihaka. Was it rape or robbery, was the killer Māori or Pākehā? In this book, David Hastings takes us back to that lonely road on the Taranaki coast in nineteenth-century New Zealand.” (Adapted from Publisher information)

Syndetics book coverMessage to my girl : a dying father’s powerful legacy of hope / Dr Jared Noel with David W. Williams.
“Doctor Jared Noel knew he was dying for almost six years, from the age of 25. But when it looked as though he would not live to see the birth of his child, he began a Givealittle crowd-funding campaign to raise money for a course of chemo treatment that would keep him alive long enough to meet his unborn child. This remarkable campaign, covered by nationwide media, raised an incredible $170,000 in two days. Jared not only lived to see Elise born but also enjoyed her first nine months. Jared’s blog, initially written to alleviate boredom during rounds of chemotherapy, attracted hundreds of thousands of readers. This is Jared’s story, but it is also a profound meditation on life and death, and everything in between.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLegends in black : New Zealand rugby greats on why we win / Tom Johnson with Andy Martin, Geoff Watson and Margot Butcher.
“In the world of rugby, the All Blacks have an unsurpassed legacy of success. We are the best of the best. Legends in Black comprises frank, no-holds-barred interviews with New Zealand rugby greats, each sharing their thoughts on every aspect of what it means to be an All Black: first selection, the haka, international and provincial rugby, professionalism, team culture, camaraderie, technical advances, coaching and leadership. A one-of-a-kind account of New Zealand rugby, Legends in Black draws on unprecedented access to some of the biggest names in the game – revealing the secrets to why we win.” (Abridged Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack obsession : the All Blacks’ quest for World Cup success / Gregor Paul.
“This thought-provoking book is a search for answers to the vexing phenomenon of why the world’s undisputed greatest rugby team can’t win the World Cup. It is an in-depth investigation that explores how societal change, combined with the arrival of professionalism, has impacted on the ability of the All Blacks to perform on the biggest stage. The end result is a compelling and authoritative read that gives the most detailed and comprehensive answer to a question everyone has asked but no one has ever satisfactorily answered.” (Abridged Syndetics summary)

New ‘Other Genres’ fiction for October featuring New Zealand writers

An amazing selection of new fiction from New Zealand writers, that reveals their skill and talent, over a wide range of different genres. We promise hours of entertaining and very satisfying reading.

Syndetics book coverA crooked rib / Judy Corbalis.
“A compelling novel based on the disastrous and scandalous marriage of New Zealand’s Governor Sir George Grey and his lively young wife, Eliza Lucy. Trapped in an increasingly loveless union, Sir George and his wife, Eliza Lucy, each sought affection elsewhere. Lady Grey’s indiscretion caused her to be cast off by her husband and vilified throughout colonial and domestic Victorian high society. Meanwhile the nature of Sir George’s liaison with his young Maori protégé was to remain only the subject of speculation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverR.H.I. : two novellas / Tim Corballis.
“A researcher sits in the archive of the British Psychoanalytic Society in London, examining fragile pieces of paper, small notebooks, and diaries. A writer in Berlin finds himself haunted by the city’s socialist-era buildings, and by their designer. Each begins to sketch the historical figure at the heart of his fixation. Joan Riviere was an early English psychoanalyst and Sigmund Freud’s earliest translator. Hermann Henselmann was a German architect, famous for many of the post-war buildings of the German Democratic Republic. The two novellas about their lives form an incomplete history of Europe’s 20th century-its wars, its politics and thought.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrust no one : a thriller / Paul Cleave.
“A famous crime writer struggles to differentiate between his own reality and the frightening plot lines he’s created for the page. Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter–a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of forty-nine, Jerry’s crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lost one : the Romanov legacy / by Penelope Haines.
“She is an orphan, independent, unattached and free of any personal ties. So why is Purdie Davis, an unexceptional nurse from New Zealand, receiving unsolicited gifts? They are nothing ordinary but unusual, valuable antiques that must have a story behind them. Purdie doesn’t know their source, and has no idea of their significance. Is she wrong to find this attention menacing? A romantic saga spanning three generations, The Lost One begins as Kyril Komarov flees Moscow, escaping the Russian Revolution. The story crosses the globe as Purdie learns about her family and of the treasure entrusted to their protection at the dawn of the twentieth century, a treasure that now could put Purdie’s own life in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJames Cook’s lost world / Graeme Lay.
“On his third and tragic voyage of discovery Captain James Cook traverses the world yet again, increasingly and uncharacteristically brutal toward his crew, and on a fateful course with destiny.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe antipodeans : a novel / Greg McGee.
“Beginning with the return to Venice of an old and sick man determined to confront his past, and accompanied by his daughter who is escaping hers, The Antipodeans spans three generations of a New Zealand family and their interaction with three families of Northern Italy. From Venice to the South Island of New Zealand, from the assassination of a Gestapo commander in the last days of Italian resistance in WWII to contemporary real estate shenanigans in Auckland, from political assassination in the darkest days of the Red Brigade to the vaulting cosmology of particle physics.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe battle of Messines Road / J.K. & W.J. Moloney.
The Battle of Messines Road is a commentary on the changing perception of war over time amongst New Zealanders, and is an invitation to remember what is slipping away from public consciousness, to explain to today’s generation (in this case exemplified by young Zac) the reason why medal-bedecked old men huddle around war memorials to the sound of the Last Post each year.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRoad from Rosehall / Mike Munro.
“When rural labourer George Munro, the author’s great-great grandfather, departs the family croft in the Scottish Highlands in 1851 and begins an emigrant’s journey, he joins an outflow of Scots who are seeking better lives in Britain’s colonies. With countless weeks of confinement in a sailing ship, vast and perilous oceans, the risk of falling victim to disease or skulduggery, and the uncertainty of what he will find in the far-off land where he plans to settle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe party line / Sue Orr.
“Set in a vividly drawn farming community in 1970s New Zealand. The Baxters do not know their place. On the first of June every year, sharemilkers load their trucks with their families, pets and possessions and crawl along the highways towards new farms, new lives. They’re inching towards that ultimate dream, buying their own land. Fenward’s always been lucky with its sharemilkers: grateful, grafting folk who understand what’s expected of them, until now, when grief-stricken Ian Baxter and his precocious daughter, Gabrielle, arrive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrifecta / Ian Wedde.
“Martin Klepka was one of the refugees of Nazism who famously brought Modernist architecture and ‘real coffee’ to New Zealand. Many years after his early death from a heart attack, his children are struggling in their different ways with the difficult legacy of their charismatic, overbearing father. Sandy, who was disliked by his father, is a cultural historian in the twilight of his career, disgraced, divorced and reduced to a .2 position at Auckland University. Veronica, who bored her father, is struggling with a failing art deco Napier tour company and an alcoholic husband. And Mick, Martin Klepka’s favourite, a gambling, methamphetamine and sex addict, is still living alone in the Red House, his father’s plagiarized masterpiece.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel announced

Syndetics book coverPaul Cleave has won this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award for his crime novel titled Five Minutes Alone.
This is his eighth crime novel, the first was published in 2006 and was titled The Cleaner. This is the second time he has won this award, winning previously in 2011, with his novel titled Blood Men published in 2010.
His novels have been translated into fifteen languages, and many have been shortlist for international crime writing awards.

Not One More Acre: A Conversation with Ans Westra at the Central Library

Ans Westra Poster6smallb

This October marks the 40th anniversary of the 1975 Māori Land March – when Dame Whina Cooper lead marchers to Parliament to protest the loss of Māori lands. “Not One More Acre of Māori Land” became the catch-cry of the marchers, who left Te Hāpua in the far north on 14 September as a group numbering no more than 50, and eventually reached Wellington on 13 October as a powerful hikoi numbering at over 5000.

Iconic photographer Ans Westra captured this event and on Tuesday 6 October Wellington Central Library will be hosting a talk with this renowned and well-loved photographer, who will describe her experience of attending and photographing the historic march. From Thursday 1st October there will also be an exhibition of contact sheet prints of Ans Westra’s photographs of the arrival of the march in Wellington on 13 October 1975.

A Conversation with Ans Westra
Tuesday 6 October at 12.30pm
2nd floor, Central Library

Syndetics book coverWashday at the pa / photographs by Ans Westra ; with text by Mark Amery.
Washday at the pa, by New Zealand premier photographers Ans Westra, was first published as a photo-story booklet in 1964 by the Department of Education for use in Primary Schools, but all 38,000 copies were withdrawn following a campaign by the Maori Women’s Welfare League that it would have a ‘detrimental effect’ on Maori people – and that the living conditions portrayed within the book were atypical. A second edition of the booklet was published the same years with some images omitted. This edition is a selection of these two editions together with photographs of the washday family taken in 1988, and includes essays by arts critic, journalist and broadcaster Mark Amery detailing the controversy and background of Washday at the pa.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNga tau ki muri = Our future / Ans Westra.
“This timely and visionary new book includes 137 Westra photographs of the New Zealand landscape, with text contributions from Hone Tuwhare, Russel Norman, Brian Turner, David Eggleton and David Lange, who wrote a short piece for Ans as part of an unrealised book project in 1987. Well known for her iconic black and white documentation of Maori culture, Ans Westra is also known for her colour works, which show concern for New Zealand’s destiny, “an island exploited by various waves of settlement”. Shot with Ans’ trusty Rolleiflex camera, the sometimes damning images in Our Future have been made over the last 20 years. “The purpose of the book is to give a directive to the country, an awareness of things changed and lost within its short history. If we don’t plan for the long term and keep taking stop-gap measures, we leave very little behind. Instead of becoming like the rest of the world, this beautiful place should become a shining example of hope for survival in a newly balanced environment.” –Ans Westra.” (Syndetics summary)

Whina [videorecording] : mother of the nation.
“The autobiography of Maori land activist Dame Whina Cooper filmed two years before she died. Born in an earth-floor whare she became a teacher, gum digger, rugby coach, midwife, a tribal leader, president of Maori Women’s Welfare League and controversial leader of the Maori Land March. Who organized her first public protest at the age of 18.” (Library catalogue)

Syndetics book coverHīkoi : forty years of Māori protest / Aroha Harris.
“What have Maori been protesting about? What has been achieved? This book provides an overview of the contemporary Maori protest ‘movement’, a summary of the rationale behind the actions, and a wonderful collection of photographs of the action u the protests, the marches and the toil behind the scenes. And it provides a glimpse of the fruits of that protest u the Waitangi Tribunal and the opportunity to prepare, present and negotiate Treaty settlements; Maori language made an official language; Maori-medium education; Maori health providers; iwi radio and, in 2004, Maori television.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHandboek : Ans Westra photographs / [exhibition curator and coordinator, Luit Bieringa ; texts, Cushla Parekowhai [et. al]].

Ans Westra [videorecording] : private journeys/public signposts / director, Luit Bieringa ; producer, Jan Bieringa.
New Zealand photographer, Ans Westra, talks about her career.


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