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Otago University Press

Otago University Press turned fifty in 2008, making it the oldest of New Zealand's university presses. But it is also one of the newest, publishing full-time only since 1993. Otago now publishes about 20 titles every year, and has a vibrant backlist with nearly 200 titles.

Otago books appeal to readers seeking intelligent information about New Zealand and its neighbours. We publish a wide range of titles on New Zealand and the Pacific, from scholarly to general books. Special emphasis is given to history, literature and the arts, and to natural and
social sciences. Books about the South Island and Otago University feature strongly.The Press also publishes New Zealand's longest-running literary journal, Landfall; poetry, including titles from Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen; and educational titles, including the Kiwi Phonics series.

Maori and Pacific

Maori and Pacific history and art form an integral part of the Otago University Press list. Cornerstone titles include James Beattie's Traditional Lifeways of the Southern Maori, which arose from 12 months' of field interviews with South Island Maori conducted during the 1920s and Rauru: Tene Waitere, Maori carving, colonial history, a large-format art book on renowned colonial-era Maori carver Tene Waitere. Other distinguished Maori/Pacific titles include Vastly Ingenious which brings together an impressive array of scholars discoursing on the archaeology of Pacific material culture, and Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, which deftly explores the intersections of imperialism, knowledge and research. Art titles include Hauaga on the artist John Pule, and Pasifika Styles, a book which investigates a groundbreaking experiment in the display of contemporary Pacific art at Cambridge.

Natural History

Described as a 'modern masterpiece', The Natural History of Southern New Zealand is one of a number of stunning
natural history titles produced by Otago, which also includes
Our Islands, Our Selves, the first history of conservation in New Zealand. The Press also produces the award-winning 'Wild' series from authors Neville Peat and Brian Patrick. Wild Dunedin, the first of this series and winner of the Natural History section of the 1996 Montana Book Awards, was reprinted with a fresh, new paperback cover at the end of 2002. Copiously illustrated with striking photographs, Wild Rivers, Wild Fiordland and Wild Central are also in the series.

The CatlinsLocal Guides

Discover New Zealand with Otago's information-packed Local Guides series. These heritage and natural history guides offer an historical overview of the regions they cover and are packed with details about what to see and do. Each book is illustrated with maps and stunning photographs, making them an ideal souvenir for visitors, and useful reference for locals. Authors have intimate knowledge of the place they write about, from Neville Peat's expansive knowledge of the south to Gavin McLean's Oamaru childhood. Titles explore Stewart Island, The Catlins, Arrowtown, Dunedin, Wanaka, Queenstown, Oamaru and Wellington.

Literature and the Humanities

Literature is well represented at the Press with insightful discussions on the works of Frame, Hyde and more. Titles such as Gothic NZ: The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture and The Ship of Dreams: Masculinity in contemporary Pakeha and Maori fiction of Aotearoa/New Zealand investigate broader themes present in the New Zealand psyche.

Social Sciences

Public health, social justice and government form the backbone of the Social Sciences list at Otago. Many are used as textbooks in classrooms, such as the definitive volumes Adventures in Democracy: A History of the Vote in New Zealand and Past Judgement: Social Policy in New Zealand History, while Dangerous Enthusiasms: E-Government, Computer Failure and Information System Development is currently a textbook at Harvard University.

Creative Writing

The Press also publishes poetry. Established writers like Ruth Dallas and Cilla McQueen, Dan Davin and Ted Middleton all form part of a growing list of creative writers appearing under the Otago imprint. Poet Laureate and three-time winner of the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry Cilla McQueen has five offerings published by Otago University Press including a C.D and a collection drawn from five volumes of her published work, Axis, which features a selection of McQueen’s poems from the past twenty years. Other award-winning poets at Otago include Southlander Kay McKenzie Cooke and Christchurch’s Joanna Preston.


Landfall, published twice a year, offers a mix of vital new work by this country's best writers and artists. Featuring new fiction and poetry, biographical and critical essays and cultural commentary, it is New Zealand's longest running journal of arts and letters and has retained its preeminence for over sixty years.


Otago History Series

From Irish migration to the Waterfront crisis, rugby to mental health treatment, the Otago History Series makes a vital contribution to a growing understanding of New Zealand's rich history. Authors include noted historians Barbara Brookes, Tom Brooking, Greg Ryan, John Stenhouse and Alexander Trapeznik.