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Cuthbert-cover_smallSeabirds beyond the Mountain Crest
The history, natural history and conservation of Hutton’s shearwater

Richard Cuthbert

Seabirds Beyond the Mountain Crest tells the fascinating story of New Zealand’s endemic Hutton’s shearwater, a species that breeds only at two remote locations, high in the Kaikoura Mountains. Amateur ornithologist Geoff Harrow is the person most closely associated with the story of Hutton’s shearwater, for it was Geoff who discovered the two remaining nesting sites in the 1960s. For five decades he visited the mountains whenever he could to observe and record the birds, and to encourage the Department of Conservation and its predecessors to take steps to conserve this endangered species.

As a result, scientist Richard Cuthbert was to spend three years living with 200,000 Hutton’s shearwaters and their neighbours, studying their behaviour, observing their interactions, measuring and recording facts and figures to build a detailed picture of why and how these birds had survived. The discoveries over time of Richard and his co-workers turned received wisdom on its head and revealed a whole new predator story.

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A Strange Beautiful Excitement:
Katherine Mansfield's WellingtonRedmer-Yska-cover

Redmer Yska

How does a city make a writer? Described by Fiona Kidman as a ‘ravishing, immersing read’, A Strange Beautiful Excitement is a ‘wild ride’ through the Wellington of Katherine Mansfield’s childhood. 
From the grubby, wind-blasted streets of Thorndon to the hushed green valley of Karori, author Redmer Yska, himself raised in Karori, retraces Mansfield’s old ground: the sights, sounds and smells of the rickety colonial capital, as experienced by the budding writer.

“It’s not enough to say I immensely enjoyed A Strange Beautiful Excitement ... it’s simply splendid." – Dame Fiona Kidman

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Liz-Breslin-cover-smallAlzheimer's and a Spoon

Liz Breslin

when life gives you spoons, demand a refund, an inquiry
when life gives you spoons, scoop the innards, carve a heart
when life gives you spoons, collect a set


Alzheimer’s and a Spoon takes its readers on a tangled trip. Public stories – a conversation at the Castle of the Insane, online quizzes to determine if you’re mostly meercat or Hufflepuff. #stainlessteelkudos. Personal tales, of Liz’s babcia, a devout Catholic and a soldier in the Warsaw Uprising, who spent her last years with Alzheimer’s disease. There is much to remember that she so badly wanted to forget. What do you do when life gives you spoons?
A highly original first collection from this exciting voice.

'To find this kind of sheer brio and linguistic air in New Zealand writing, one inevitably goes back to Janet Frame.'
– Vincent O’Sullivan

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Jenny-Coleman-coverPolly Plum: a firm and earnest woman's advocate

Jenny Coleman

Polly Plum is a biography of one of New Zealand’s earliest feminists, Mary Ann Colclough, whose publicly voiced opinions saw her described in the nineteenth century as ‘our own little stray strap of a modern female fanatic’.

In this fine biography, Jenny Coleman argues that Mary Ann Colclough’s contribution to the women’s movement in nineteenth-century New Zealand is at least equal to that of Kate Sheppard. A good two decades ahead of the organised women’s movement, ‘Polly Plum’ began politicising women by writing about the realities of their daily lives, what needed to change and how.

Coleman here reclaims Mary Ann Colclough’s place in New Zealand’s feminist history by bringing her life and contributions to a wider audience.

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David Howard coverThe Ones Who Keep Quiet

David Howard


The ones who keep quiet for the longest are the dead, yet there are echoes of them everywhere. A turn of the head brings a glimpse of a Victorian banker retrieving his top hat from the gutter. A walk across a bridge lets you pass the ghosts of a Catholic saint, a Marxist martyr, and a boy with a tin drum. The dead are there to be heard; they are also listening to you.

The Ones Who Keep Quiet showcases David Howard’s ability to give our world a metaphysical mulling, which he achieves with memorable lyricism and an edgy attention to questions of identity and time, silence and isolation. Kathleen Grattan Poetry Award judge Emma Neale noted this new collection’s extraordinary range, from mordant puns and verse drama to unexpected polyphonic juxtapositions, ‘as if the poems have been internally pleated’.

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Simpson Brasch Journals vol 2 cover image smallCharles Brasch Journals 1945–1957

Selected with an introduction and notes by Peter Simpson

This volume of Charles Brasch’s journals covers the years from late 1945 to the end of 1957, when the poet and editor was aged 36 to 48. It begins with his return to New Zealand after World War II to establish a literary quarterly to be published by the Caxton Press. The journals cover the first decade or so of his distinguished editorship of Landfall, a role that brought Brasch into contact with New Zealand’s leading artists and intelligentsia.

His frank and often detailed descriptions of these people – including Frank Sargeson, A.R.D. Fairburn, Keith Sinclair, Eric McCormick, James Bertram, J.C. Beaglehole, Maria Dronke, Fred and Evelyn Page, Alistair Campbell, Bill Oliver, Toss and Edith Woollaston, Denis Glover, Allen Curnow, Leo Bensemann, Lawrence Baigent, Ngaio Marsh, Colin McCahon, James K. Baxter, Janet Frame, Ruth Dallas and many others – are among the highlights of the book.

Unmarried and longing for intimacy, Brasch also writes with great candour about his relationships with Rose Archdall, Rodney Kennedy and Harry Scott, revealing a side of himself that has not been known about before.

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Manifesto Aotearoa cover image smallManifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems

Edited by Philip Temple and Emma Neale

A poem is a vote. It chooses freedom of imagination, freedom of critical thought, freedom of speech. A collection of political poems in its very essence argues for the power of the democratic voice. Here New Zealand poets from diverse cultures, young and old, new and seasoned, from the Bay of Islands to Bluff, rally for justice on everything from a degraded environment to systemically embedded poverty; from the long, painful legacy of colonialism to explosive issues of sexual consent.

Communally these writers show that political poems can be the most vivid and eloquent calls for empathy, for action and revolution, even for a simple calling to account. American poet Mark Leidner tweeted in mid-2016 that ‘A vote is a prayer with no poetry’. Here, then, are 101 secular prayers to take to the ballot box in an election year. But we think this book will continue to express the nation’s hopes every political cycle: the hope for equality and justice.

Two small but potent words. 101 potent poems.
Stand up, write back!

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Susannah-Grant-coverWindows on a Women's World: The Dominican Sisters of Aotearoa New Zealand

Susannah Grant

The first 10 Dominican sisters arrived in Dunedin in 1871. The congregation expanded rapidly, establishing schools throughout Otago and Southland, and eventually reaching as far north as Auckland. For most of their first century in New Zealand the Dominican sisters were teaching nuns, living in large enclosed convents cut off  from the outside world. In the mid-1960s the Second Vatican Council ushered in a period of radical change.  The sisters moved out of their convents and into small homes in their local neighbourhoods; out of their schools and into new roles in education, social justice, pastoral care and spirituality. Today they are an ageing congregation that is diminishing in size.

Susannah Grant was given full access to the congregation’s rich archives in order to write this book, from the point of view of an ‘outsider’. She has also completed a large number of oral histories with the sisters. In this moving and beautifully written book she chronicles the astonishing transformation of the New Zealand Dominican sisters from a strictly enclosed body of religious teachers to a congregation of religious women who are integrated in the wider community and engaged in a range of active ministries, while still remaining deeply committed to shared Dominican ideals.

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Ings Disobedient Teaching cover imageDisobedient Teaching: Surviving and creating change in education

Welby Ings

This book is about disobedience. Positive disobedience. Disobedience as a kind of professional behaviour. It shows how teachers can survive and even influence an education system that does staggering damage to potential. More importantly it is an arm around the shoulder of disobedient teachers who transform people’s lives, not by climbing promotion ladders but by operating at the grassroots.

Disobedient Teaching tells stories from the chalk face. Some are funny and some are heartbreaking, but they all happen in New Zealand schools.
This book says you can reform things in a system that has become obsessed with assessment and tick-box reporting. It shows how the essence of what makes a great teacher is the ability to change educational practices that have been shaped by anxiety, ritual and convention.

Disobedient Teaching argues the transformative power of teachers who think and act.

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