Monday, April 18, 2016

Taking a closer look at grammar

It's good to see editors' collective Coles & Lopez promoting attention to English grammar and usage.

Check out for India Lopez' take on apostrophes, commas and more ...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Anzac Experience out today

Christopher Pugsley's remarkable account of the Anzac soldier is in bookstores today.

The Anzac Experience: New Zealand, Australia and Empire in the First World War ranges from the experience of imperial soldiers in the South African war to themes like Gallipoli, discipline and morale, and the influence Australian, Canadian and New Zealand forces had on each other as they evolved into the 'Diggers' by the end of the First World War.

For more details check our Books page.

ISBN: 978-0-947506-00-1
RRP: $45.00
Specs: Paperback, 240 x 170mm portrait, 356 pages, black & white, 60 photos

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Oratia Books: reaching globally from the Waitakeres - PANZ News

Oratia Books is the feature in the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) News this week:

Oratia media teamBetween them the Oratia Media publishing team have seven languages – Japanese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and te reo Māori as well as English – so it is no wonder their publishing is reaching both New Zealand and world markets.
Oratia Books has a place to stand in the hills of the area’s West Coast Road on their own acre and a quarter with home and office surrounded by native forest. Their publishing reflects West Auckland too – three recent titles and a fourth in production are all firmly grounded in the Waitakeres. Voices from the Surf, 80 years of Karekare surf lifesaving history, events and recollections edited by Sir Bob Harvey was a highlight for the company last Christmas.
However, the Oratia tūrangawaewae had unlikely beginnings....


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Oratia Media rebrands and expands

The Oratia Books logo
Independent publishing company Oratia Media is today launching a new corporate identity as part of an expansion of its business and publishing programme.

All of the company’s publishing and media activities are now unified under the Oratia brand, with the Libro International publishing imprint being wound into an enlarged programme called Oratia Books.

“The change reflects a natural evolution of our business, which we set up in 2000 as a media and editorial services company with an international focus,” commented Founder and Publisher Peter Dowling.

“Today our core business is publishing books with a strong New Zealand and Māori orientation, and the Oratia name captures that along with our grounding in the beautiful Waitakere Ranges.”

The new brand retains the nikau tree symbol designed in 2000 by co-founder Alessandra Zecchini, with a new logo suite created by Cheryl Smith of Macarn Design featuring the strapline ‘Quality books, media and publishing services’.
As part of the rebranding, Oratia is moving to a new website,,             
which offers better interactivity on mobile devices and by month’s end will include an e-commerce facility.

    Peter Dowling
A reshuffle of core roles sees Dowling become Publisher; co-founder Alessandra Zecchini as Media Director; long-serving books editor Carolyn Lagahetau as Editorial Director; and former New Holland Publishers head Belinda Cooke on board as Sales & Marketing Consultant.

All email contacts are also moving to the domain. Distribution remains with long-term logistics partners Publishers Distribution Ltd, with sales representation by Paul Greenberg (North Island) and Peter Gray (South Island).
“We have a really energised team that in 2016 will be producing at least ten new
Oratia Books, along with a similar number of commissioned projects for clients,” Dowling said.

The company is showing its commitment to the resurgent New Zealand books market with a five-year publishing programme and a new catalogue to be released in early April, commented Belinda Cooke.

“It’s great to see positivity in the New Zealand market and we intend to put our money where our mouth is and deliver quality books, media and publishing services for clients, customers, readers and writers everywhere,” Cooke said.

– ENDS –

For further information, contact Belinda Cooke,, 021 481 044

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dawn McMillan on Radio NZ's Nine to Noon

Kathryn Ryan did a lovely interview yesterday with Dawn McMillan on Radio New Zealand National's Nine to Noon show.

Dawn talked about humour, writing for kids and her latest collaboration with illustrator Ross Kinnaird -  Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears. 

Click on this link to listen:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mister Spears reviewed and Radio NZ interview scheduled

Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird's Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears got a great review in yesterday's New Zealand Herald:

Upcoming: mark the date for Dawn's interview with Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand National's Nine to Noon show, Tuesday 9 February at 11.20 am.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Voices from the Surf profiled on Radio NZ National

Voices from the Surf: 80 Years of the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club was profiled on Radio New Zealand National on 27 December, in an interview with editor Sir Bob Harvey and club stalwart Matt Wade. Click below to listen:

Voices from the Surf is available from good booksellers around New Zealand.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Belinda Cooke to manage marketing for Oratia Media

Media Release18 December 2015

Respected publishing and communications consultant Belinda Cooke has joined independent publisher Oratia Media in a part-time capacity as Sales & Marketing Consultant.Belinda was Managing Director of New Holland Publishers (NZ) for 16 years before opening her own consultancy in January 2015.Earlier this year Belinda led a wide-ranging market survey for Oratia, which set the platform for a relaunch of the business in early 2016.She will oversee the marketing of the rebranded Oratia publishing programme, dealing directly with booksellers and the media, as the business pursues a growth strategy.Belinda will continue to run her consultancy alongside her Oratia role, offering marketing and 
communications services to publishers and other clients in the arts, food, wine and health arenas.Oratia Media Managing Director Peter Dowling welcomed Belinda’s contribution: “We’ve known Belinda for many years and have the greatest respect for her professional abilities.“It’s exciting that we are now working together and I’m sure we’ll benefit greatly from her expertise across the publishing industry.”Belinda Cooke commented: “I’ve always admired Oratia’s focused and culturally significant 
publishing programme, and it became clear during the market survey I conducted earlier in
 the year that this is a widely held view in the industry. So I feel privileged to be able to work with Peter and his team to increase the exposure of their books and services.”

About Oratia MediaFounded in 2000, Oratia Media publishes quality books with a focus on Māori, children’s, history and general non-fiction. The boutique company, based in Oratia in the Waitakere 
also supplies publishing and media services to organisations and individuals. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Reporting back from the amazing Guadalajara Book Fair

Our publisher Peter Dowling has just returned from Mexico, where he attended one of the world's major book events.
The Guadalajara International Book Fair is the leading showcase for the world's publishing in Spanish, with almost 2000 publishers and 800,000 members of the public passing through the doors of Expo Guadalajara over nine days. See Peter's report for the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ), and the Facebook posting by the New Zealand Embassy in Mexico.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Voices from the Surf launches this Sunday

Voices from the Surf
80 Years of the Karekare Surf Lifesaving Club, 1935–2015
Edited by Sir Bob Harvey

Landmark book & DVD to be launched on Sunday

Surf lifesavers have been patrolling the dangerous waters of Karekare beach for 80 years, saving over 2000 people from death by drowning in that time.

Their contribution is now commemorated in a major book and DVD, which will be launched this Sunday 13 December at Karekare, and goes on public sale on Tuesday 15th.  

Voices from the Surf collects stories from generations of lifeguards – tales of brave rescues, competition success, club camaraderie, and reflections on Karekare’s spiritual landscape.

Honorary patron and lifelong club member Sir Bob Harvey, who edited the work, commented: This book tells real stories about times when seconds count and volunteer lifeguards will do everything to save a life.

“These are ordinary New Zealanders who for 80 thrill-packed and often dangerous years have made the difference between life and death. It’s an extraordinary tale!”

Plentiful colour photographs and memorabilia illustrate the well-written accounts in this large-format book, with oral histories and film records on the accompanying DVD.

Sir Bob Harvey, the former Mayor of Waitakere City, is the the author and editor of numerous books including the Untamed Coast, Rolling Thunder: The Spirit of Karekare, and the history of New Zealand Surf Lifesaving, Between the Flags. He received a knighthood in 2013.

Oratia Media, publisher of Libro International books, is publishing Voices from the Surf for the Lifesaving Club.

In bookstores: 15 December 2015  |  ISBN: 978-0-473-33052-1  |  RRP $49.99

Paperback with DVD, 260 x 305 mm, 208 pages (120 pages colour)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Newsworthy in Brazil

Erivan Gomes, director of Brazil's Cortez Editora, has sent through this item from the Estado do São Paulo newspaper talking about Brazilian publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Apparently the journalist was there at the time of my meeting with Erivan on 14 October to discuss rights exchanges for children's books - so I get a mention in the last paragraph marked as the 'editor da Nova Zelândia'. Nice!

The article reflects that despite international interest in Brazilians, there's a lack of translations. Unfortunately translation support from the Brazilian government has been patchy for many overseas publishers - we didn't get any backing for our 2014 edition of Snowy the Doganaut.

But we'll keep talking with Erivan and Cortez, who are producing some beautiful books.

Peter Dowling, Publisher

Monday, October 19, 2015

Frankfurt Book Fair 2015: Getting together and getting better

Smaller and better: that's my feeling after four days at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, the major event on the world publishing calendar.

The Frankfurter Buchmesse organisers condensed the layout of the fair this year, bringing English-language publishers from the distant and cavernous Hall 8 to reside across three levels in Hall 6. With the New Zealand stand well positioned on the ground floor, it was a lot easier to connect for meetings in the other halls and to feel part of this great global village of books.

Compliments again to Anne de Lautour and the Publishers Association of New Zealand for the very cool and visible design of the collective stand on which Oratia Media took its place alongside 14 other Kiwi publishers – and to our stand staff Christiane Arheilger and Heike Reifgens. There’s a supportive spirit of collegiality and fun all week (rated as the week’s best by many fair regulars).

With PANZ Director Anne de Lautour on the NZ stand
Meetings here are conducted at half-hour intervals, which on the busiest days this year meant over 15 official encounters with publishers, agents, distributors and service providers at our stands and theirs – before dinners and gatherings into the night. Along with reviewing current business relationships, presenting new books, seeking rights deals and pitching new series and book ideas, I started communicating our soon-to-be-public rebranding and development plans.
At the New Zealand party: Michael Duckworth (University of Hawaii Press) and Scott Beatty (Trajectory)
Smaller and better also describes how the book industry is looking now. Sure, bookstores have closed, publishers have pulled out of some markets and tightened their lists, and ebooks have generally not delivered on their promise. But a leaner publishing industry has got smarter and is seeing a consumer move back to print, and for independents there’s market share to be grabbed and easier international connections to be made.
For our authors, exposure to the international publishing community will hopefully lead to seeing their books overseas and in translation. With our Chinese agent Fanny Yu of CA-Link I toasted the sale of mainland Chinese rights to Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird’s I Need a New Bum!, and I got a good response to their new book Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears. Our new international picture book series Indigenous Voices, which includes a great new story from Tim Tipene, is exciting a lot of interest also. And the September release of Hirini Moko Mead’s classic Te Toi Whakairo: The Art of Maori Carving is also promising good sales offshore.

With Fanny Yu of our Chinese agency CA-Link
I was also delighted to present some fine NZ books from outside our own programme, including Neil Coleman’s hard-hitting YA novel Roskill, David Bell’s YA fantasy novel The Dog Hunters (first in a very promising series), David Lupton and Leonel Alvarado’s beautiful The Divine Remains, and the sumptuous Coast, Country, Neighbourhood, City, which profiles the work of design studio Isthmus.

Our section of the NZ stand
So much of world publishing is dominated by big US, UK, French and German corporations. Alongside good meetings with colleagues from all those markets, this year Frankfurt brought me great exchanges with publishers from publishers as far flung as Belarus, Chile, El Salvador, Ireland ... Big is beautiful but so is small.

Peter Dowling is managing director of Oratia Media ( and publisher of its books division Libro International (, and is international councillor of the Publishers Association of New Zealand.
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