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Outstanding achievement or pitiful war? Janet Hunt

Making a New Land: Environmental Histories of New Zealand
Eric Pawson and Tom Brooking (eds)
Otago University Press, $40.00,
ISBN 9781877578526

Making a New Land: Environmental Histories of New Zealand is a revised, expanded and renamed edition of Environmental Histories of New Zealand (Oxford University Press, 2002). The new title is both more inviting and in keeping with an updated cover that clearly signals what is within: it is in attractive earthen tones and features William Sutton’s painting, Hills and Plains, Waikari 1956, in which the neatly segmented fields of the North Canterbury plains occupy the centre, framed at the top by tan-hued foothills and the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps and, at the bottom, by grey, featureless blocks of farm buildings. The dark shapes of macrocarpa windbreaks are conspicuous in the foreground and in the far distance. The view is devoid of indigenous vegetation, or animal or human life. It is a landscape that has been well and truly remade.

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Posted in History, Natural History, Review and Sociology

Browsing, squawking and squabbling, Janet Hunt

Moa: The Life and Death of New Zealand’s Legendary Bird Quinn Berentson Craig Potton Publishing, $50.00, ISBN 9781877517846 It’s only 10 years since Richard Wolfe’s paperback Moa: The Dramatic Story of the Discovery of a Giant Bird (2003) hit the

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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction and Review

The frozen continent, Janet Hunt

Science on Ice: Discovering the Secrets of Antarctica Veronica Meduna Auckland University Press, $60.00, ISBN 9781869405830 “Visiting this frozen landscape,” writes Veronica Meduna, “is to gain a fresh perspective on our world, almost like going to another planet and looking

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Posted in Non-fiction, Review and Science

Feathers and fins, Janet Hunt

Kakapo: Rescued from the Brink of Extinction Alison Ballance Craig Potton Publishing, $49.99, ISBN 9781877517273 The Tasman: Biography of an Ocean Neville Peat Penguin Books, $62.00, ISBN 9780143011385   Time was when “non-fiction” meant staid, largely black-and-white books on a

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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction and Review

Felling a forest giant, Janet Hunt

Kauri Keith Stewart Viking, $60.00, ISBN 9780670045525 Keith Stewart’s Kauri is the latest in a succession of publications about this iconic tree, following books by esteemed natural history writers A H Reed, J G Erne Adams, Gordon Ell and others

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Posted in Natural History, Non-fiction and Review

No ordinary son, Janet Hunt and Michael Morrissey

Biographer Janet Hunt and writer Michael Morrissey attend Hone Tuwhare’s tangi.   In death, seen obliquely as he lay on the satin bed of his coffin, he was not himself. Oh, it was Tuwhare all right: there was the familiar

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Posted in Comment

Telling it like it is, Brent Southgate

I am an Insect Simon Pollard Reed, $19.95, ISBN 1869487400 The Life-size Guide to New Zealand Wildflowers Andrew Crowe Penguin, $24.95, ISBN 0143018477 Pick Up a Pack: a guide to tramping and camping the New Zealand way Keith Olsen Reed,

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Posted in Biography, Children, Literature, Natural History, Non-fiction and Review

No ordinary poet, Cilla McQueen

Hone Tuwhare. A Biography Janet Hunt Godwit, $49.95, ISBN l 86962 035 6 Tuwhare’s is a Maori voice. A master and lover of his second language, English, he revels in its ample dimensions, exploits its flexibility and universality, questions its conventions

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Posted in Biography, Literature and Non-fiction
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