Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Fifty years of the Spirit of Adventure captured through the eyes of those who sailed

A Spirit Companion

Celebrating the first 50 years of the Spirit of Adventure Trust

Roger McDonald

Sweeping stories of the sea and personal growth from those who have sailed the iconic Spirit of Adventure

‘All a trainee needed to feel — could not help feeling — was that their feet were on the decks of something pretty big, and change was happening all around them just by the motion that happened when the wind blew.’


In A Spirit Companion, distinguished writer Roger McDonald relays stories from some of the tens of thousands whose lives have been touched by ‘the Spirit’. Through their eyes we share the unique experiences fostered over 50 years aboard Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of New Zealand Te Waka Herenga Tangata ō Aotearoa.

The voices speak in these pages — teenagers who had never sailed and were now atop a mast; Lou Fisher, who set up the Spirit of Adventure Trust, and son Stephen who has guided it for 46 years; crew and captains who piloted the Spirit ships; volunteers who give back, many after completing their own ten-day training voyage. 

As Roger writes, his book embraces ‘
a mix of past and present episodes, about seventy in total, based on recorded interviews, a few dips into the archive, and a dash of sailing experience. It’s not a history. It’s reportage. It’s not chronological …’

This highly original volume, illustrated with line drawings, forms part of the 50-year celebrations of the Spirit of Adventure Trust in November and December this year. 

The author

Roger McDonald is an acclaimed Australian novelist and non-fiction writer. Among his ten novels are The Ballad of Desmond Kale, winner of the Miles Franklin Award, Mr Darwin’s Shooter and A Sea-Chase. Linked to the Spirit of Adventure Trust by family, Roger divides his time between Waiheke Island and rural New South Wales, and is a keen sailor.

Publication: 14 November 2023 | ISBN: 978-1-99-0042 | RRP $60.00

 Hardback, 220 x 170 mm portrait, 344 pages, 2 colour

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Telling the story of migration in latest addition to The NZ Series

New Zealand Migration

Philippa Werry

New book in NZ Series explores the history of our diverse migrant nation, from the first settlers to the latest arrivals

Despite all New Zealanders being either migrants or descendants of migrants, until now there has been no single book on the topic.

New Zealand Migration fills that gap for general readers, while also aligning with the new history curriculum. 

In concise chapters, Philippa Werry explores topics ranging from the first Polynesian navigators to European colonisers, Chinese immigrants during the gold rush to ten-pound Poms, Pacific Island communities to the impact of Covid-19 on immigration. 

Providing readers with a glimpse into the lives of migrants, the book is richly illustrated with fact boxes and images from the archives of libraries and museums, as well as local photographers.

Where did migrants come from and what brought them here? What challenges did they face on their way and once they settled in New Zealand? This book answers all these questions and more. 


‘I hope New Zealand Migration will contribute to greater understanding of our shared past, present and future,’ Philippa says. 


This is the seventh book in The NZ Series, which simply introduces a range of themes for general and school readers. 

Teacher resources for the series are available on the Oratia website, and the resource of New Zealand Migration will be available for the start of the school year in late January 2024.

The author

Philippa Werry has won various awards for her fiction and non-fiction books, most recently scooping the Young Adult Fiction Award at the 2023 NZCYA Awards for her novel Iris and Me. She is well known for books on New Zealand history, and Oratia published her picture book The Water Bottle in 2022She lives in Wellington (philippawerry.co.nz). 

Publication: 14 November 2023  |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004239-3 | RRP $29.99

Paperback, 240 x 160 mm portrait, 100 pages, colour

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Classic of New Zealand and Pacific writing returns in new edition

Vikings of the Sunrise

Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Buck)
Foreword by Paora Tapsell

One of the greatest accounts ever of Pacific settlement returns to print this week, with a new foreword, in our New Zealand Classics series.

Truly a masterpiece of Pacific studies, Vikings of the Sunrise  marks an attempt by the great Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Buck) to convey to a general reader ‘the settlement of Polynesia by a stone-age people who deserve to rank among the world’s great navigators.’ 

By every measure, this attempt succeeds — for the knowledge it conveys, its interweaving of legend and modern anthropology, its deep personal engagement, and the majesty of its prose. 

And it is also that rare thing, a study of Polynesia by a Polynesian, as anthropologist Paora (Paul) Tapsell notes in his new foreword: 


As a first-hand description of the Pacific of the late 1920s and early 1930s, it is essential reading, a popular work yet one compiled by a highly trained academic and sophisticated writer. 

The book ranges across the Pacific Ocean, considering the voyagers’ origins, their ships and motives for seeking new lands. 

It evaluates different routes, retells myths of migration including the Māui series, recounts the author’s visits to far-flung islands and atolls, and overall establishes the ‘vikings’ of the Pacific among the greatest-ever ocean navigators. 

First published in the US in 1938 (and 1958 in New Zealand), Vikings of the Sunrise is reproduced with photos and maps compiled by the author, as part of Oratia’s New Zealand Classics series. 

The author

Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Buck; Ngāti Mutunga, 1877–1951) led a busy and distinguished life — variously as an MP, leader of the Young Māori party, doctor, medical officer for Māori health, anthropologist and director of the Bishop Museum, Hawai’i. He was knighted in 1946 for services to science and literature. Recognised as one of this country’s greatest sons, his best-known books are Vikings of the Sunrise and The Coming of the Maori.

Publication: 18 October 2023 | ISBN: 978-1-99-004249-2 | RRP $49.99

 Paperback, 210 x 140 mm portrait, 392 pages, b&w with photo sections  

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

New children’s book empowers visually impaired character and celebrates diversity

Lucky Me 

Lawrence Schimel 
Illustrated by Juan Camilo Mayorga 

Publishing for World Sight Day and Blind Low Vision Week, Lucky Me tells the story of a boy who feels very lucky to have a brother like Mateo — who is visually impaired.

Bruno thinks his friend Sanjay is lucky: he has a pet iguana and his own room. Mateo is lucky too: he has a dog who helps him get around and he can read with his fingers in the dark.

Bruno doesn’t have his own room and he doesn’t have a pet. But he soon realises that he’s very lucky too, for his own special reasons.

Lucky Me tells a thoughtful story about the different abilities and strengths that make us unique. 

A disability means that Bruno’s brother does some things differently, but it does not hold him back. On the contrary – he can do amazing things that others can’t!

In the end, Bruno shows we all have something to feel lucky about. 

Written by Lawrence Schimel, the award-winning author of Bedtime, Not Playtime! and Early One Morning, the story is beautifully illustrated by Juan Camilo Mayorga.

Lucky Me was first published by the outstanding independent publisher Rey Naranjo in Colombia. 

Oratia is pleased to publish this English edition in association with Orca Books, Canada, as part of our Five Oceans collection, bringing important international books to Aotearoa.

The author

Lawrence Schimel is an American author and translator who writes in English and Spanish and has published over 120 books in a wide range of genres. He lives in Madrid, Spain, where he founded the Spanish chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers.

The illustrator

Juan Camilo Mayorga is a graphic designer and illustrator with a special interest in children's books. He lives near Bogotá, Colombia, and his works have been published locally and internationally. 

Publication: 12 October 2023 | ISBN: 978-1-99-004250-8 | RRP $25.99

 Hardback, 229 x 229 mm square, 32 pages, colour  

Friday, September 29, 2023

Seasonal fun awaits with the latest New Bum books

My Bum is SO SPOOKY! and My Bum is SO CHRISTMASSY!

Dawn McMillan

Illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

With trick or treating and Christmas shopping just around the corner, the hero of the New Bum! books is going all seasonal!


And when bestselling team Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird get in on the act, fun takes over from Halloween frights and being polite to the rellies over Christmas lunch. 

In My Bum is SO SPOOKY!, a special pumpkin uniform gives Red Pants Boy what it takes to scare some lollies out of the neighbours. Then he and his vampire-costumed cousins round off the night with a ghostly surprise (no spoiler!). 

Meanwhile something isn’t right at Christmas. Our boy’s bum is too plain, and he imagines all the ways he could decorate it — with Christmas stockings, a tree, or snowflakes that glow in the night? 

Then he thinks again. Is having a decorated bum the most important thing at Christmas time? Santa may just have the answer in My Bum is SO CHRISTMASSY!


These seasonal specials hit the bookstores simultaneously in New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK from this Monday 2 October. 

And in New Zealand they are available only via booksellers, as demand has exceeded our print runs already so there are none left at our distributors. Happy Halloween everyone!

The author

Dawn McMillan is the much-loved author of numerous children’s books including the previous books in the New Bum! series, Doctor Grundy’s Undies and the latest in her nature series, There’s a Moa in the Moonlight. She lives in Waiomu, north of Thames. 

The illustrator

Ross Kinnaird is an illustrator and designer whose books have been published around the world, many of them in collaboration with Dawn. He lives close to the water on Auckland’s North Shore. 

Publication: 2 October 2023  |  RRP $19.99

ISBN: (Spooky) 978-1-99-004243-0  (Christmassy) 978-1-99-004227-0

 Paperback, 230 x 215 mm portrait, 32 pages, colour

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Kei te reo Māori inaianei te paetukutuku o Oratia – Oratia web pages now in te reo Māori

I te kainamutanga o Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, e harikoa ana a Oratia Media ki te tuku i tā mātou paetukutuku i te reo Māori me te reo Ingarihi hoki.

With Māori Language Week about to start, Oratia Media is pleased to make our website available in te reo Māori as well as English. 


Mā te pāwhiri i ngā pātene reo Ingarihi, reo Māori rānei i te pito mauī whakarunga o ngā whārangi matua o www.oratia.co.nze taea ai e ngā manuhiri te tīpako i te reo e hiahiatia ana.

By clicking on buttons for English or Māori at the top left of the main pages on www.oratia.co.nz, visitors to the site can choose their preferred language. 


Mā te whai paetukutuku reorua e whakaatu i tō mātou manawanuitanga ki te whanaketanga me te whakamahinga o te reo Māori i ia rā i ia rā, ā, he whakamihi anō hoki i ngā reo whaimana o Aotearoa. 

Having a bilingual website reflects our commitment to the development and use of te reo Māori everyday, and recognises the official languages of Aotearoa New Zealand. 


E mihi ana ki te kaiwhakawhiti reo rēhita, a Kanapu Rangitauira, i āna whakamāoritanga tino pai rawa atu. 


Our thanks to registered translator and regular contributor, Kanapu Rangitauira, for his excellent translation. 

Ka mahi tonu a Oratia Books kia nui haere ai tā mātou rārangi pukapuka reo Māori, reorua hoki, pērā i ngā whakaputanga o tēnei marama: Te Reo Kapekape: Māori Wit and Humour, nā Hona Black, me Te Pukapuka ka Kore e Pānuihia, nā Tim Tipene rāua ko Nicoletta Benella, ā, nā Kanapu i whakamāori. 


Oratia Books will continue to increase our list of Māori language resources and bilingual books, as evidenced by this month’s publications: Te Reo Kapekape: Māori Wit and Humour, by Hona Black, and The Book that Wouldn’t Read/Te Pukapuka ka kore e Pānuihia, by Tim Tipene and Nicoletta Benella, translated by Kanapu. 

Kia kaha te reo Māori!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Leading author pens innovative book to inspire reluctant readers in English and te reo Māori

The Book that Wouldn't Read / Te Pukapuka ka Kore e Pānuihia

Tim Tipene

Illustrated by Nicoletta Benella

Translated by Kanapu Rangitauira

Setting out to attract the sort of reluctant reader he used to be, author and youth counsellor Tim Tipene happened upon a neat idea: a book that takes over and effectively reads itself!

In The Book that Wouldn’t Read — and the Māori edition Te Pukapuka ka Kore e Pānuihia — a boy who doesn’t like reading just has to investigate when he finds that book on the library shelf.

Sentences move around the page, words change colour and disappear, and crazy fonts and characters get him jumping around, even burping (despite being hushed by teacher and classmates).

Illustrator Nicoletta Benella opens up the worlds that come alive when you get into a book, with layout designed to appeal to reluctant or dyslexic readers.

Publishing in English (hardback) and Māori (paperback) editions ahead of Māori Language Week, this is a book just waiting to be read! 


A teacher resource is available on the Oratia website.

The author

Tim Tipene (Ngāti Kurī, Ngāti Whātua) is a pioneering youth counsellor and the award-winning author of over 18 children’s books, including Kura Toa Warrior School and Rona Moon. Tim lives in Rānui, West Auckland. See https://www.timtipene.com/

The illustrator

Nicoletta Benella is an illustrator, graphic designer and artisan originally from north-eastern Italy, where she worked as a designer for the fashion house Benetton. She lives with her family in Hatfields Beach, Auckland. 

The translator

Kanapu Rangitauira (Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Te Whakatōhea) is a registered translator and teacher of te reo Māori who has translated a number of works for Oratia Books, He lives with his family in Rotoiti, Rotorua. 

Publication: 1 September 2023  

 ISBNs: 978-1-99-004231-7 (English)  978-1-99-004247-8 (Māori)  

RRP $25.99 (English) hardback, $22.99 (Māori) paperback

270 x 210 mm portrait, 32 pages, colour

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Bilingual book brings to life the humour of te reo Māori

Te Reo Kapekape: Māori Wit and Humour

Hona Black

Publishing on 1 September, a new book by scholar Hona Black lifts the curtain on all the humour, wit, innuendo and play that distinguishes everyday te reo Māori.

Te Reo Kapekape (literally, ‘the language of poking fun’) will make readers cry with laughter, engage in lively banter, and perhaps blush a little. 

From calling a silly person a ‘roro hipi / sheep’s brain’, to telling them to get stuffed or suggesting they live amongst the dinosaurs (‘Ētahi mokoweri!’), this book has a witty saying or comeback for any situation.

Using a cast of characters and dramatised dialogue, Hona explains more than 130 phrases and gives examples and suggestions for use – whether to tease, crack a joke or just add some spice to the language. 

The text is printed in te reo on the left-hand pages and English on the right, making it accessible to language learners, fluent speakers or general readers interested in Māori culture and language. 


With this new publication, Hona aims to reposition te reo kapekape as a language of every day again, in the hope that it is heard and that Māori can once again laugh through their own language.’ 

Te Reo Kapekape extends Oratia's language reference series, which includes Hona's first book, He Iti te Kupu: Māori Metaphors and Similes.


Publishing in time for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, Te Reo Kapekape offers plenty of ideas to have fun and spice up your language, while supporting the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

The author

Hona Black (Tūhoe, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) lectures on teaching for Māori medium schools at Te Pūtahi a Toi: School of Māori Knowledge at Massey University, Palmerston North. He has worked as the Senior Māori Adviser on Massey’s Wellington campus, and been Head of Te Reo Māori at Hato Pāora College in Feilding. Hona lives in Porirua with his partner and their baby son.

Publication: 1 September 2023  |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004237-9 | RRP $39.99

Paperback, 210 x 148 mm portrait, 308 pages, b&w

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