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Frances-Hodgkins-coverUNDREAMED OF... 50 years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship

Priscilla Pitts and Andrea Hotere

In 1966 Michael Illingworth, whose oil painting Adam and Eve appears on the front cover of this book, was awarded the inaugural Frances Hodgkins Fellowship.
For the first time in New Zealand a practising artist was given a studio and paid a salary to make art for a whole year. Such support, as Frances Hodgkins herself wrote from her own experience, was capable of ‘yielding up riches – undreamed of’. Poet and critic David Eggleton has described the fellowship as ‘an emblem of cultural endeavour which … holds a legendary status in the public imagination’.

This sumptuous book brings together the art and the stories of half a century of Frances Hodgkins fellows. Arts commentator Priscilla Pitts writes about their work, while journalist Andrea Hotere interviews the artists about their lives and sources of inspiration. The result is a vibrant celebration of a wealth of talent fostered through New Zealand’s foremost visual arts residency, showing how the artistic wealth created has flowed back into the culture of the small country that nurtured it.

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Elspeth-Sandys-coverCasting off: a memoir

Elspeth Sandys

At the end of the first volume of Elspeth Sandys’ absorbing memoir, What Lies Beneath, an adult Elspeth has solved the riddle of her birth parents and begun to piece together the events of her early life and find her place in the world. Casting Off begins on the eve of Elspeth’s first marriage. She and her husband will soon depart New Zealand for England, joining a throng of Kiwis who chose to uproot themselves from their native land.

New attachments will be formed: new loves – of people; of places – will take the place of the old. But the home country will continue to exercise a pull. Backgrounding the personal story in this deeply satisfying memoir is the story of the Thatcher years and the creeping virus of neo-liberalism, the sexual revolution of the sixties, the beguiling world of books – reading and writing – and theatre. Elspeth Sandys’ refreshing honesty and her skill as a writer of fiction and drama propel the reader through an absorbing life story that is equally a commentary on the meaning of memoir and the peculiarities of memory.
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walter_cover_smallArchaeology of the Solomon Islands

Richard Walter and Peter Sheppard

Archaeology of the Solomon Islands presents the outcome of 20 years’ research in the Solomon Islands undertaken jointly by Richard Walter and Peter Sheppard, both leaders in the field of Pacific archaeology. This synthesis of Solomon Island archaeology draws together all the research that has taken place in the field over the past 50 years. It takes a multidisciplinary theoretical and methodological approach and considers the work of archaeologists, environmental scientists, anthropologists and historians. At the same time this volume highlights the results of the authors’ own considerable field research.

This fascinating and very readable book is written for an archaeological audience but is also designed to be accessible to all readers interested in Pacific archaeology, anthropology and history. Featuring more than a hundred maps and figures, Archaeology of the Solomon Islands represents a ground-breaking contribution to Pacific archaeology.

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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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