Blog Archives

All aboard, Don Aimer

Trainland: How Railways Made New Zealand Neill Atkinson Random House, $39.99, ISBN 9781869419059 I’ve always loved trains. A job in Timaru once in the days of steam had me driving regularly to Oamaru. North of the Waitaki River the main…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Good dog! Norman Bilbrough

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy Lynley Dodd Mallinson Rendel, $30.00,  ISBN 9781877423147 Beginner writers often think that writing a picture book must be easy. But a story – any story – needs drafts and more drafts before it is ready…
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Posted in Children, Literature, Review

Ngati Peking, Charles Ferrall

Being Maori-Chinese: Mixed Identities Manying Ip Auckland University Press, $45.00,  ISBN 9781869403997 Many of the nearly 5,000 people who claim Maori-Chinese ancestry in Aotearoa New Zealand have a similar genealogy or whakapapa. During the 1920s and 1930s a Chinese man…
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Posted in Māori, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology

Obituary — Gerry Evans

Gerry Evans (1937-2008) One-time seaman, wharfie and union leader, writer Gerry Evans of Wellington jokingly asked that his ashes be scattered in Karori Library. Born in Wales, he went to sea as a 16-year-old, and didn’t begin writing until 1994,…
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Posted in Obituaries

No easy heroics, James Norcliffe

Shadow of the Mountain  Anna Mackenzie Longacre Press, $18.99, ISBN 9781877460005 Smashed  Mandy Hager Random House, $18.99, ISBN 9781869419424 Gool  Maurice Gee Puffin, $19.95, ISBN 9780143304005   Each of these kidult novels tells a compelling story in a tightly written yet…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Young adults

The Dr Johnson of New Zealand literature, Michael Hulse

Book Self C K Stead Auckland University Press, $38.99,  ISBN 9781869404123 It isn’t in the spirit of the age that a Goethe will still attract his Eckermann, or a Dr Johnson his Boswell. A companion free of all other commitments,…
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Posted in Literature, Non-fiction, Review

Mermaids, miners and mystics, Anne Else

Saltskin Louise Moulin Black Swan, $27.99, ISBN 9781869419608 Ribbons of Grace Maxine Alterio Penguin Books, $35.00, ISBN 9780143006442 Acts of Love Susan Pearce Victoria University Press, $29.99, ISBN 9780864735652 Three first (or at any rate, first published) novels, all by…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Championing the local, Margot Schwass

Margot Schwass pays tribute to Ruth Dallas who died earlier this year. Silent bush, rain-soaked paddocks, solitary farmhouses hunkered down beneath black macrocarpas …. The landscapes so intensely reflected in the work of the late Ruth Dallas are very recognisably…
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Posted in Comment

A damn good shake up, Beryl Fletcher

Caging Skies Christine Leunens Vintage, $27.99, ISBN 9781869419578 Remember Me Derek Hansen HarperCollins, $34.99, ISBN 9780732287160 Miss Me a Lot Of Louise Wareham Leonard Victoria University Press, $30.00, ISBN 9780864735553 In New Zealand Books Autumn 2008, Elizabeth Caffin writes that…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Not getting it, Christina Barton

The Big Picture: A History of New Zealand Art from 1642 Hamish Keith Godwit, $49.99, ISBN 9781869621322 I have thought for a long time that a series on the history of art in New Zealand would make for good television…
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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review
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