Monday, August 21, 2017

All about the book: from the Booksellers New Zealand Conference 2017

Plaudits to Booksellers New Zealand ( for hosting a stimulating conference at Rydges Auckland over the weekend.

The business day on Saturday enabled publishers to meet with many of the leading independent booksellers from across the country and to catch up with colleagues and peers, while Sunday offered up a smorgasbord of conference content.

On Saturday evening the Book Industry Awards celebrated the high achievers from bookselling and publishing, in a fun and emotional dinner memorably MC'ed by Selina Tusitala Marsh. Click on this link for an awards round-up.
Selina Marsh gets the Awards dinner singing
Among the winners were the much-admired Gecko Press (Publisher of the Year), Time Out Bookstore (Nielsen Bookshop of the Year) and Ruth and the late John McIntyre of The Children's Bookshop Kilbirine (Lifetime Achievement Award).

While many good bookstores are doing well, rising high street rents are hurting many, while the GST-free status that offshore online retailers continues to hurt the NZ industry.

Do keep supporting your local booksellers — in these days of remote, unreliable communications, the role of the bookshop as a centre of community and ideas has never been more important.

Industry legends Paul Greenberg (sales rep to many publishers including Oratia) and Bruce Caddy (UBS Otago)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Publishers Association of New Zealand appoints new council

The Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) elected a new council at the its AGM on 14 July, with a press release today announcing appointments to the public.

I'm honoured and pleased to have been appointed President, heading the council in its work to further the interests of book publishers in New Zealand.

Melanee Winder, Managing Director of Hachette NZ, becomes Vice-President, with Melanie Laville-Moore, NZ Director for Allen & Unwin, the Immediate Past President.

Fellow councillors are Alex Collins (Lift Education), Debra Millar (Penguin Random House NZ), Sandra Noakes (HarperCollins NZ), Tom Rennie (Bridget Williams Books) and Tracy Strudley (Global Education Systems).

At the AGM, Melanie Laville-Moore paid tribute to departing councillors Sam Elworthy (Auckland University Press) and Julia Marshall (Gecko Press) for their major contributions over an extended period.

For more information visit 

- Peter Dowling, Publisher

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Major tribal histories and carving book make a welcome return

Today we are proud to be bringing back to print three major works of Māori history and art under the Oratia Books brand. 

Horouta: The History of the Horouta Canoe, Gisborne and East Coast is a monumental, deluxe work that relates centuries of history for the peoples of the East Coast region, with many detailed maps and whakapapa (genealogical charts). 

Takitimu: A History of Ngati Kahungunu also spans centuries of pre-European settlement and post-Contact interaction for Ngati Kahungunu, the main iwi (tribe) of the Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa regions (and the third most populous iwi in the country). 

Te Toi Whakairo: The Art of Maori Carving is an abundantly illustrated overview of this quintessential art form, written by distinguished academic Sir Hirini Moko Mead. This informative volume remains one of the key reference books on woodcarving. 

All three works are part of a promotion of Māori books in selected bookstores, alongside the June publication Ngā Atua: Māori Gods (click here for more) and Scotty Te Manahau Morrison's superb Te Reo translation of Paul Tapsell's Pūkaki (to be published on 12 September).

Mauri ora!

Publication Date: 20 July 2017
Horouta: ISBN: 978-0-947506-20-9 |  RRP $120
Jacketed hardback, 280 x 210 mm, 496 pages
Takitimu: ISBN: 978-0-947506-21-6 |  RRP $80
Jacketed hardback, 240 x 150 mm, 312 pages
Te Toi Whakairo: ISBN: 978-0-947506-37-7 |  RRP $49.99
Paperback with flaps, 242 x 182 mm, 276 pages

Monday, June 26, 2017

Walking through The Tunnel in our Backyard

Today we were lucky to join the crowds for a public walkthrough of the new Waterview Tunnel, opening soon in the Auckland suburbs of Waterview and Mount Albert. 
This amazing piece of engineering completes the Western Ring Route Motorway through Auckland's west in a 5-kilometre-long stretch of road, half of it underground. 

The tunnel was part of the inspiration for Malcolm Paterson's The Tunnel in our Backyard, and it is mentioned at the start of the book. 

The kids in the book mention the giant digging machine, nicknamed Alice, that created the tunnel - before going on to explore the natural lava tunnels under Mt Albert and its vicinity.

The Tunnel in our Backyard was launched a year ago in a lava tunnel in Mount Eden.  

Keeping this connection in mind, it seemed appropriate to take the book on the stroll into the Waterview Tunnel. The road connection is due to open very soon.
Entering the new man-made tunnel at Waterview - in a part of Auckland full of natural lava tunnels

For more about the book, click here
A busy road ahead for the Waterview Tunnel

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New picture book vividly celebrates Māori gods

Publishing today, Ngā Atua: Māori Gods is a gorgeous hardback edition of artwork and simple explanations of the major Māori gods.

Author Robyn Kahukiwa is widely recognised as one of the leading artists of her generation, and a pioneer among Māori women in her multiple activities in painting, writing and publishing.

In Ngā Atua, Robyn introduces the pantheon of Māori gods, and explains the arena of life for which each deity is responsible.

“I created for this work for my mokopuna, Kahu, to encourage him and others to relate to their whakapapa and know that we of Maori descent have a genealogy that comes from ngā atua,” Robyn comments.

Tāne, Hine-te-iwaiwa, Tangaroa, Mahuika and Māui are some of the spiritual beings who leap off the pages of this four-colour book.

Publication Date: 22 June 2017  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-26-1 |  RRP $24.99
Hardback, 270 x 210 mm, 32 pages colour

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Putting the map back into Māori Maps

We're happy to share the news of improvements to the Māori Maps website, a charitable venture supported by Oratia.  

After completing a redevelopment of in January to enable it to be viewed effectively on mobile devices, the team has just reinstated the full map search function to the site.

Now features a navigable map of all of Aotearoa, and has a tab on the menu bar that allows you to go to this overall map at any point. Click here to view.

Thanks to the users who requested that we reproduce this core function from the old site into the new, responsive site - and to the team at Zest IT for implementation.

Here's the post from Māori Maps on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Beehive launch cuts the cake on important new book

Wellington's Beehive was the venue for yesterday evening's unveiling of the fourth edition of the definitive guide to the practice and procedure of the New Zealand House of Representatives.

Politicians and parliamentary experts, both present and past, were in attendance for the launch of Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand — authored by former Clerk of the House of Representatives David McGee, and fully revised by Mary Harris (who was the Clerk until 2015) and David Wilson (the present office holder).
Clerks past and present, from left: Mary Harris, David Wilson and David McGee at last night's event
(Photo courtesy Office of the Clerk)
Speaking to the assembled guests, David Wilson praised the large team from the Office of the House of Representatives that had helped to bring this large book to completition, notably assistant editors Pavan Sharma and David Bagnall.

He noted that 12 years had passed since the previous edition, necessitating numerous revisions to content and structure of the book, including measures to make the work more accessible to readers.

Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand is available for the first time as an ebook, as well as an 896-page printed edition.
A splendid cake in a shape of the book, baked by Andie Lindsay, executive
assistant to the Clerk of the House of Representatives 
David Wilson cuts the cake to mark the launch of the fourth edition

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand to be launched this evening

Parliamentary Practice in New Zealand, the fourth edition of the definitive guide to the workings of the New Zealand parliament, will be launched this evening at the Beehive, Wellington.

Politicians, leading civil servants, the legal fraternity and the bookselling community will all be represented at the launch in the Banquet Hall. A full report will be on this blog after the event.

The book will be on sale from tomorrow, 24 May, in all good bookstores.

Publication Date: 24 May 2017  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-24-7 |  RRP $75.00

Paperback, 245 x 155 mm, 896 pages black & white
Ebook:  ISBN 978-0-947506-27-8 |  RRP $45.00

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Back in the bookstores: A Wild Wind from the North

Hongi Hika’s invasion of the Rotorua area in 1823 is one of the most dramatic and daring assaults ever in New Zealand. Yet like much of our early history, the details are unknown to many New Zealanders.

Don Stafford
(photo © Kerrie Grant)
The late Don Stafford committed himself to redress that imbalance – arguing throughout his distinguished career that events like the Musket Wars deserve to be studied no less than the Napoleonic Wars of the same period.

The distinguished historican dedicated his life and work to the Rotorua district, writing over 20 books on Rotorua and its history, including the monumental Te Arawa (published in a new edition last year by Oratia). 

In A Wild Wind from the North: Hongi Hika's 1823 invasion of Rotorua, Stafford tells how Hongi’s Ngāpuhi forces roamed the North Island from the late 1810s seeking utu (revenge) for past slights. 

Te Arawa, inland and with their island stronghold of Mokoia on Lake Rotorua, felt impregnable. 

They did not count on Hongi’s epic portage of canoes to the lake shores, from which an attack on Mokoia became inevitable.

A Wild Wind from the North not only tells the story with Stafford’s flair and, but is also richly illustrated, including modern photos of the locations depicted. 

This new printing in a handsome hardback keeps true to Don's commitment to the great stories of our past. Click here for more info. 

A Wild Wind from the North
Publication Date: 18 May 2017  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-23-0 |  RRP $39.99
Hardback, 180 x 140 mm, 160 pages b&w (including 8 pages colour)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Great reception for Matthew Wright's new book as Anzac Day approaches

The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front has made a strong showing in the media and bookstores since publication on 6 April.

This past Saturday 22nd, Messines Bookshop in Featherston hosted a launch at which author Matthew Wright spoke.
Matthew Wright signing a copy for Viv Napier, Mayor of South Wairarapa 
A good crowd turned out to this young bookshop that specialises in military history.

Also on the weekend, the New Zealand Listener came out with a major extract from the book. Here's how Matthew's writing about the Passchendaele campaign is billed on the Noted website:

In Flanders fields
New Zealand’s most lethal military campaign was on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918. On the campaign’s worst day, a century ago this year, 845 Kiwis died trying to take a small Belgian village. by Matthew Wright
The new issue of the New Zealand Listener featuring Matthew's work 
Get your copy of the Listener to read more.

Historian Gavin McLean gave the book a very positive review in the Otago Daily Times books section on the weekend - describing it as 'a fine introduction to a war that still shapes our world'.

Matthew had earlier talked about the book with Terry Toner on Radio Southland's book show.

And for information about The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front, click

Thursday, April 20, 2017

New edition for Sir Peter Blake's life story

Oratia Books today welcomes back to print The Story of Sir Peter Blake - Tessa Duder's retelling of the life of the great sailor, leader and environmentalist.

First published in 2012 and reprinted twice since then, this illustrated paperback is aimed at teenage readers, telling of his exploits, the leadership qualities he embodied and the sailing world he loved.

The full cover of the new edition out today
Boxes feature explanations of background sailing skills, the America's Cup and other key points - Duder is not only an award-winning author but is also a keen sailor.

Eight pages of colour photos accompany plentiful black & white photos, diagrams and maps.

Tessa Duder is one of New Zealand's most celebrated children's authors, and has written more than 40 books in genres from junior fiction to adult history.

The new Oratia edition of this accessible biography is available at all good booksellers. And click here for more information about the book.

The Story of Sir Peter Blake  |  Tessa Duder  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-31-5  |  $24.99
235 x 153 mm portrait, paperback, 144 pages (including 8 pages colour)

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