Rare species of New Zealand: Books from Te Pātaka

If the discovery of an ancient New Zealand dolphin species intrigues you, you might be interested in reading books about the unique and wonderful species of Aotearoa. Read stories about the fairy tern, Māui dolphin, yellow-eyed penguin, kakī, greater short-tailed bat, and tāiko; some of which are New Zealand’s most endangered species. These books come with beautiful photos, interesting stories, and scientific discoveries to take you on a journey, exploring the unique creatures of the wilderness.

Rare wildlife of New Zealand / Ballance, Alison
“This book contains 100 New Zealand endangered species of all kinds: plants, birds, insects, fungi, mammals. Organised by habitat forests, gardens, islands, wetlands, high country, and sea and shore, it gives an important snapshot of the critical state of the wildlife in our country. Beautifully photographed with accessible and informative text. At the same time, it contains many surprises: among our most endangered species are kiwi, tuatara, flax, grasshoppers, hebes, crabs, and dolphins.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Whio : saving New Zealand’s blue duck / Young, David
“The blue duck, or whio, is one of New Zealand’s ancient treasures, a beautiful torrent duck that once lived on clear, fast-flowing rivers throughout most of the country. Sadly the blue duck now belongs to the ‘second tier’ of endangered species (including kaka, kea, parakeets and North Island brown kiwi) whose numbers have dropped alarmingly in the last 15 years. A dedicated group of scientists, field workers and volunteers have set about saving the blue duck.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The handbook of New Zealand mammals
“This is the only definitive reference on all the land-breeding mammals recorded in the New Zealand region (including the New Zealand sector of Antarctica). It lists 65 species, including native and exotic, wild and feral, living and extinct, residents, vagrants and failed introductions. It describes their history, biology and ecology, and brings together comprehensive and detailed information gathered from widely scattered or previously unpublished sources.” (Adapted from Amazon.com)

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The story of pioneering Conservationist & Author David Towns

We recently interviewed trailblazing conservation biologist Dr. David Towns, who authored the newly released book Ahuahu: a conservation journey in Aotearoa New Zealand. Situated largely on the stunning nature reserves of the Mercury Islands, located off the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, Towns spent 40 years working on innovative conservation projects to eradicate mammalian pests on all seven islands. These team efforts have resulted in abundant wildlife havens, teeming with native species that now represent the closest pre-civilization examples of island ecosystems in Aotearoa.

Towns’s new book Ahuahu gives a behind-the-scenes peek into the triumphs, setbacks and ground-breaking bicultural teamwork that have allowed these islands to thrive, creating a spectacular example of Aotearoa’s world renown conservation work. The book features stunning photography of the picturesque landscapes and wildlife that make up the Mercury Islands, and documents how conservationists, iwi and volunteers alike banded together to restore these islands to their natural state.

Watch our Q&A interview with Dave below, as he walks us through the remarkable journey of the islands, his career and his hopes for Aotearoa’s conservation future.

We extend our warm appreciation to Dave for the interview and for providing the photographs used in the video. Reserve a copy of ‘Ahuahu’ from the Library today!

Ahuahu : a conservation journey in Aotearoa New Zealand / Towns, D. R.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is renowned among biologists worldwide for spectacular ecological restoration work over the last 50 years, through advances in pest eradication and native species translocation. This book documents the development of these world-leading technologies. It uses examples from throughout the country, but has a special focus on one island group – the Mercury Islands off Coromandel, of which Ahuahu (Great Mercury Island) is the largest. The story is told through the eyes of pioneer conservation biologist David Towns, who was there from the start. It is a story of triumphs and setbacks, of opportunity and innovation, of teamwork and emerging bicultural collaboration. Today, all seven islands of the Mercury group are free of mammalian pests, providing a haven to native plants and animals. This book is the story of how that was made possible.” (Catalogue)

Vanishing Ice: Our interview with author Lynley Hargreaves

Lynley Hargreaves is a science writer who lives with her glaciologist partner and two children at Te Tai Poutini on the West Coast of the South Island.

After gaining a mathematical physics degree and working for a United States physics magazine, she completed a journalism diploma. She now works in communications at Forest & Bird.  Lynley has spent much of her life exploring New Zealand’s mountains. Her debut book  Vanishing Ice: Stories of New Zealand’s Glaciers took many years to research and write .

Vanishing Ice brings into sharp relief the dangers our glaciers face as the  world warms and our glaciers  disappear at an unprecedented rate.

As Vanishing Ice reveals this unfolding disaster, it tells the stories of our glaciers through the lens of human interaction, the book carefully moves through time from first Māori discoverers to colonial explorers, mountaineers, and modern glaciologists. To do so the book investigates the way science, nature and culture interact and sometimes collide.

As well as being an important work, the volume is also very beautiful; containing numerous stunning photographs of our glacial landscapes.

Vanishing Ice joins an ever-growing canon of important and poignant modern books about Aotearoa’s natural world.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Lynley for taking the time to answer our questions, and for providing such an illuminating insight into her world and work.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM and was conducted by Tanya Ashcroft.


Vanishing Ice : Stories of New Zealand’s glaciers / Hargreaves, Lynley
Vanishing Ice brings into sharp relief the dangers our glaciers face as the  world warms and our glaciers  disappear at an unprecedented rate. As the book reveals this unfolding disaster,  it  tells the stories of our glaciers through the lens of human interaction, the book carefully moves through time  from first Māori discoverers to colonial explorers, mountaineers, and modern glaciologists. To do so  the book investigates the way science, nature  and culture interact and sometimes collide.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)