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Book reviews: June 2024

3 min read
Book reviews: June 2024

Pick of the month

Book reviews: June 2024

Environmental Defenders: Fighting for our natural world
Raewyn Peart
Bateman Books
$79.99

Through a series of captivating stories, Environmental Defenders tells the tale of how the law has been mobilised to protect some of New Zealand’s most precious places.

The book features many of the major environmental battles of the past half century and provides an insider’s account of how a small group of lawyers and scientists, under the banner of the Environmental Defence Society (EDS), came together to secure a series of wins on behalf of the environment.

Author Raewyn Peart started working for the Environmental Defence Society in 2001 and has been driving the society’s policy work ever since. Her book traces the organisation’s beginnings in the early 1970s and highlights some of the key issues taken on by EDS and its members throughout its 50 years of existence.

Through extensive interviews with people involved in the profiled cases as well as the EDS archives, the author brings to life the struggles and triumphs of those who stand on the front lines of environmental conservation.

More good reads

Book reviews: June 2024

New Zealand’s Endangered Dolphins
Maria Gill
White Cloud Books
$27.99

From award-winning writer Maria Gill, and illustrator Marco Ivanic, comes a new book on New Zealand dolphins – the pahu (Hector’s) and popoto (Māui). While a hundred years ago, dolphins were plentiful, spotted across the coasts of both islands, up rivers, and along estuaries, they’re now endangered. The book is an enlightening exploration of one of New Zealand’s most treasured and threatened marine species, combining scientific information with engaging storytelling to raise awareness about the plight of these remarkable creatures.

Through a combination of vibrant illustrations, compelling photographs, and accessible text, Gill provides a comprehensive overview of these dolphins’ lives, the threats they face, and the conservation efforts underway to protect them. Each chapter takes young readers through the different characteristics of the dolphins, their behaviours and habitats, what threatens them, and what we can do to protect them. Richly illustrated, the book is an inspiring call to action that is sure to educate and inspire its readers.

Book reviews: June 2024

The Team That Hit the Rocks
Peter Jerram
Bateman Books
$39.99
Reviewed by Ton
y Orman

The inter-island ferry Wahine disaster in April 1968 was New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster with 53 perishing. One of the survivors was former Marlborough veterinarian Peter Jerram, a veterinarian and keen fly fisher.
He was a member of a Lincoln University cricket team travelling north and at a team reunion, the chat re-lived the harrowing experience of responding to the call of abandon ship. All of the team survived. At the reunion of the team, Peter Jerram promised to write a book on the disaster and gathered recollections from his 14 teammates.

The book is in two parts, the first detailing the actual disaster and the second part an analysis of the sinking and ship officers’ decision-making that may have contributed to the sinking and loss of life. The author writes well and the second part is far from tedious as such a subject might have been. The author finds serious fault with the Court of Inquiry into the tragedy. It’s an intriguing read and highly recommended.

Book reviews: June 2024

Creative First Aid
Caitlin Marshall and Lizzie Rose
Murdoch Books
$45

Mental health and wellbeing have become important conversations and Creative First Aid is a thought-provoking and useful guide around self-care, offering 50 inspiring prescriptions anyone can try. It’s also got a playful uplifting side and strives to encourage creativity and tools to help bring joy and delight to your life.

A practical guide to taking matters into your own hands, there are easy-to-follow tips around new activities to try, shared stories, and a host of useful tools to call upon in times of stress or sadness. 

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