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Aotearoa NZ's independent voice of fishing, hunting & outdoors

Book reviews: July 2021

4 min read

Pick of the month

Hunting Life: Moments of Truth
Peter Ryan
Bateman Books
Reviewed by Tony Orman

Peter Ryan has hunted for more than four continents; among them, Africa and South America and many of his experiences were related in two earlier stylish books Wild South and Hunting NZ. He writes in a sensitive manner with a deep respect for the wild animals and birds he likes to hunt in contrast to the crass ‘gung-ho’ style of too many hunting books by others.

His two earlier books were highly regarded and this one continues that high standard. A delightful enhancement to the author’s absorbing tales and photography are excellent illustrations by several artists from around the world.

This is a great hunting book that captures beyond the shot, the essence and the greater experience of sporting hunting and just being there.

And a word of praise for Bateman Books’ quality production. All round, a worthy addition for every keen hunter’s and shooter’s bookshelf.

More good reads

I te Timatanga In the Beginning
Retold and illustrated by Peter Gossage
Reviewed by Esha Chanda

If you’re looking to introducing kids to Māori legends and myths, this is a good place to start.

I te Timatanga In the Beginning recounts the struggle of the children of Ranginui and Papatūānuku as they try to part their parents and bring light to the world.

The new 20th-anniversary edition of this Māori creation myth features a stunning new cover design and bilingual text – perfect to familiarise children with both the language and the stories.

An easy read, the bold design and brief text will keep the little ones entertained and will make for a great bedtime reading. Perhaps wrapped in a blanket, under the starry night, and with a hot mug of cocoa? 

Flit the Fantail and the Matariki Map
Kate Quin
Scholastic NZ
Reviewed by Esha Chanda

An easy-to-read story about problem-solving, with native New Zealand flora and fauna, some insight into Matariki, counting in te reo, and featuring some of the cutest characters, this is a book that kids are sure to like.

Join Flit and his friends, Keri the kiwi and wise old Ruru, as they explore the night skies to work out how to capture a sparkling star. When the friends get lost, they follow the twinkling clues in the sky to find their way back home.

Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, kids will love to read this book time and time again. A Māori edition is also available: Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka me te Mahere Matariki.

Historic Homesteads of Hawke’s Bay
Angus Gordon
Mary Egan Publishing
Reviewed by Tony Orman

Hawke’s Bay has a rich history of early European farming. Often, gracious homesteads were built on the initial settlement of sheep stations and farms and trees planted so that today, homesteads often have settings of giant trees such as enormous oaks, gums, or Norfolk pines.

Hawke’s Bay was prominent in the establishment of the country’s early pastoral farming development. Trout fishers and hunters often gain access through farms and from my Hawke’s Bay days, I noted several that I did.

Author Angus Gordon has lived all his life – on and off – at Clifton Station, on the Hawke’s Bay coast, near Cape Kidnappers. As a former resident of the area, many names were familiar to me: Matapiro, Ashcott, Akitio, Glenross, Guavas, Tutira, Rissington, and quite a few others.

A well-researched and presented book, a credit to the author and publisher. However, it does lack an index – much-needed in a book of this nature.

World Folk Tales
Retold by Elizabeth Kirkby-McLeod
Giltedge Publishing
Reviewed by Esha Chanda

If myths, legends, and fables make for prime bedtime reading, then make sure you have a copy of World Folk Tales on your bookshelf.

With stories originating from New Zealand, Australia, India, US, Greece, Scotland, Ireland, China, and more, the book provides a springboard to help children learn about the different cultures in the world and is sure to keep the younger family members occupied.

The 14 stories, some prose and some poetry, are all spread over two pages and are complemented by illustrations from Brent Larsen.

Published by a family-owned company, the book is a passion project for the sisters who helm the company, and with this book, they’ve set out to create their version of one of the beloved books they’ve grown up with.


This month, we’re giving away a copy each of I te Timatanga In the Beginning, Flit the Fantail and the Matariki Map, and World Folk Tales.

To enter: Head to and fill in the form.

Deadline: 23 July 2021

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