Aotearoa newsletter for October

September is gone and Spring is truly upon us now with blossoms galore and nesting birds all around. What will October bring? Well as far as the Aotearoa newsletter is concerned, lost of very interesting new books that will keep you occupied for the next four weeks. They deal with New Zealand records, New Zealand crimes, Māori histories, Kiwi fiction and other books about history and sports in general. We’d also like to draw your attention to a resource online called PapersPast which “contains more than two million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1945 and includes 77 publications from all regions of New Zealand”. Enter your street address or your name to see if your house or name appears back in time!

Library News

New Zealand Non-Fiction

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)

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Māori

This month there’s a strong theme of reo – self-tuition in grammar and greetings for formal occasions as well as Katerina Mataira’s collection of stories in te reo, for teens. An interesting publication from Huia, showcases Māori scholars writing on the history of Aotearoa New Zealand, there’s Paula Morris’s New Zealand Post fiction award winner, Rangatira and 100 sports heroes.

Syndetics book coverHuia histories of Māori : ngā Tāhuhu Kōrero / edited by Danny Keenan.
“This comprehensive history of Aotearoa New Zealand is written entirely by Māori scholars actively researching and writing in their respective fields. Huia Histories of Māori takes a fresh look at what Māori history is and how it differs markedly from those histories of Māori formerly portrayed, providing both fresh views on events in the past as well as new insights into customary Māori constructions of ‘history’” – (adapted from Back cover summary)

Syndetics book coverTe wahapū : launch yourself into te reo Māori / Ian Cormack.
“Te Whahapū is the second book in this comprehensive, enjoyable and easily understandable self-tuition course for Māori language… The books offer a reference text, workbook and audio resource all in one. They are structured in units, each opening with a dialogue and followed by explanations of words, experessions and language patterns.” – (adapted from Back cover summary)

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History

There’s something for everyone this September. We have a right mash-up of history picks this month: the mystery of the WWII kissing sailor, Kiwi convicts, Queen Victoria, Mexico, the Arctic, and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe kissing sailor : the mystery behind the photo that ended World War II / Lawrence Verria & George Galdorisi ; foreword by David Hartman.
“It’s an iconic image, a sailor kissing a nurse in New York City’s Times Square. Photographed on August 14, 1945, by legendary photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt and published in Life, it captures a historic moment, the end of WWII. It’s a safe bet that most of the book’s potential readers have seen the photograph, but who are the people in it? That’s the mystery Verria and Galdorisi attempt to solve in this fascinating piece of detective work. Over the years, there have been numerous theories, and numerous people have come forward saying they are the sailor or the nurse. Verria and Galdorisi offer what they hope is undeniable proof of the unnamed couple’s true identities. They make a persuasive case, assessing the validity of some of the claimants’ stories, using various investigative techniques, including some very clever photographic comparisons, to zoom in on two specific persons who seem to fit the bill. Ultimately, you either accept the authors’ conclusions or you don’t, but you can’t deny that the book provides an intriguing and unique perspective on one of the twentieth century’s most memorable moments.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

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.Matthew Wright is one of New Zealand’s most published historians and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of University College, London. ‘Matthew Wright is one of our most prolific social historians, an assiduous researcher and an engaging writer.’” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

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New Zealand Fiction

From Short Stories to Science Fiction and Fantasy, this selection of new fiction show cases the diversification and skill of New Zealand writers.

cover imageGeist / Philippa Ballantine.
“The first in a new series. Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off malevolent hauntings by the geists. Sorcha Faris , a powerful member of the Order of the Deacons, is dispatched to an isolated village to aid a Priory plagued by violent Geist activity.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA man melting : short stories / Craig Cliff.
“This collection of stories moves from the serious and realistic to the humorous and outlandish, each story copying an element from the previous piece in a kind of evolutionary chain. “A Man Melting” was awarded the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Sport

This month’s selection includes books on card games, golfing tips, fishing, rugby, football and more. Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverGolf’s Moment of Truth : How to play under pressure and conquer the choke point / Robin Sieger.
“Whether amateur or Tour professional, every golfer will experience that crucial moment when victory hinges on just one shot. Make it, they win; blow it and they will re-live the memory on the golf course for years to come. They have arrived at their personal ‘moment of truth’. The question is: can they do it? The follow-up to his successful Silent Mind Golf, and second in a major new four-book series, this new title sees Robin Sieger explore the concept of ‘choking’ and apply his easy-to-grasp mental conditioning techniques to help golfers at all levels perform under pressure.” (Global Books)

Syndetics book coverUltimate Book of Card Games : The comprehensive guide to more than 350 card games / by Scott McNeely ; illustrations by Arthur Mount.
“Classic and comprehensive, this guide to over 350 games is sure to appeal to all ages. From Bridge to Poker and Solitaire to Hearts, card games are a beloved source of entertainment and competition (and they are recession proof!). This authoritative book is ideal for every household, college dorm, family cabin, or neighborhood bar that has a pack of cards……” (Syndetics summary)

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