Monday, February 15, 2021

Same Same but Different - New Zealand's LGBTQI+ readers and writers festival


Oratia Books attended the Same Same but Different Festival last weekend, where speakers shared experiences from intersecting spaces in their lives such as being queer, being a writer, being a scientist, and positioned from an underlying theme of At Home. All were amazing ambassadors for the creative talent in the LGBTQI+ community. Oratia Books is committed to continued patronage of this very fabulous festival. Visit this Same Same Facebook page for recordings of all the sessions. 

Crime and Punishment, from left: Hilary Lapsley and Lois Cox who write as Jennifer Palgrave, M. Darusha Wehm, host Jen Shieff, Aroha Awarau. Session link:

Queer Bodies from left: Elyssia Ra’nee Wilson-Heti, Jackson Nieuwland, Jesse Bering, host George Parker, Henrietta (Etta) Bollinger. The group were subsequently joined by Ria Hiroki. Session link:

Photos by Carolyn Legahetau

Monday, February 8, 2021

New book by Hona Black will be a valuable reference for writing and speaking te reo Māori

Years of research into kupu whakarite (metaphors and similes) have borne fruit for young Massey University scholar, Hona Black. 

In He Iti te Kupu, he brings together nearly 500 figures of speech into a ready resource for speakers and students of te reo — and anyone who wishes to deepen their language use in New Zealand.

Hona wrote this, his first book, in te reo. That text is printed on the left-hand pages of the book, with his translation into English on the facing right-hand pages.

That lets all readers access the use, meaning and context of the main metaphors and similes in Māori. 

The contents are arranged in chapters such as Ngā manu o uta, o tai – Birds of the land and sea, and Te Moana – The ocean. 


He Iti te Kupu extends Oratia’s popular programme of language reference books, including Māori Place Names and Te Reo Māori: The Basics Explained.

As the new book’s title suggests, ‘Iti te kupu, nui te kōrero’ — ‘Words are small, yet their meanings are substantial’.

Click here for Hona's Facebook post announcing his pukapuka. 

Ka nui ngā mihi ki a koe e Hona mō tō mahi whakamīharo, ki a Darryn Joseph hoki mō tana tautoko i te kaupapa nei. 

The author

Hona Black (Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) lectures on the post-graduate diploma in teaching for Māori medium schools at Te Pūtahi a Toi: School of Māori Knowledge at Massey University in 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. 

Publication: early February 2021  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-91-9 | RRP $39.99

Paperback, 210 x 148 mm portrait, 232 pages, b&w


Monday, January 18, 2021

Oratia makes commitment to diversity and inclusion through new policy

Oratia Media is starting off 2021 by making a firm commitment to representing diversity in its publishing, personnel and vision.

That is embodied in this policy statement.


Diversity Policy


To be a diverse and inclusive publisher with no barriers to entry for anyone regardless of their background or identity.


Oratia will respect:

·      the central role of the Treaty of Waitangi, respecting Māori as tangata whenua

·      the role of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa

·      the diverse cultures of Aotearoa New Zealand

·      the principle of equal access and opportunity for people of all cultures, ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and religions

This initiative follows our participation in a series of Diversity and Publishing workshops organised by the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) between September and December 2020. 

Diversity specialist Anton Blank of Oranui led those workshops and helped participants to develop policy and tools that will help book publishers to give equal access and value to all sectors of society in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Anton Blank of Oranui, which focuses on generating debate about diversity and giving people skills to deal with a diverse range of population groups

Along with Anton, and Alex Collins and Mish Wickremesekera of Lift Education, Carolyn Lagahetau and Peter Dowling of Oratia sit on PANZ's diversity subcommittee. 

Together they have developed policy and training for PANZ, and this is now extending to members.

We are firmly committed to books and workplaces that represent people of all backgrounds, and aim to carry that through into our future publishing, starting from respect for the Treaty of Waitangi. 


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Season's greetings from Oratia

A very Merry Christmas and Happy 2021 to all!

Meri Kirihimete me Ngā Mihi o te Tau 2021 ki a koutou katoa!

Wishing all our valued readers, customers, booksellers, authors, illustrators, editors, designers, sales reps, printers, suppliers, friends and colleagues a restorative and happy break over the coming two weeks. 

The Oratia office will be closed from midday Wednesday 24 December until Tuesday 5 January. We look forward to what 2021 brings. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Book Giveaway on Kidspot New Zealand!

There is a wonderful book giveaway on Facebook right now: WIN 1 of 3 Dawn McMillan packs for your kids this Christmas. They will love you for it!

Dawn McMillan’s bestselling I Need a New Bum! has made her one of Aotearoa’s most popular children’s authors. But there are plenty of other delightful picture books in her library, including these new ones!
Check out what’s in these prize packs from
📖 Sir Singlet – an hilarious tale of a knight who’d rather design underwear than fight the enemy 👉
📖 There’s a Tui in our Teapot / He Tūī kei rō Tīpāta – Tui and his avian friends get up to all kinds of hijinks in the family kitchen 👉
📖 There’s a Weta on my Sweater / He Wētā kei runga i tōku Paraka – chaos ensues when weta and friends want to come along to school with the kids 👉
TO ENTER go to this link and follow instructions.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Time to move on for South Island sales rep Jeremy Bliss

Colleagues and friends gathered in Christchurch last week for the retirement party of Jeremy Bliss, one of the true sales personalities of the industry, who has been Oratia's South Island sales representative for the past four years. 

Guests at the event on Friday 4 December calculated that the group represented some 925 years of service to bookselling and publishing. 

Jeremy Bliss (centre) with long-term colleagues and fellow Oratia Books reps Dennis Morgan (left) and Gary Shannon (right)

Jeremy himself started his book career in the Oxford University Press warehouse 43 years ago, before taking to the road as a sales rep for them. 

Stints with Beckett Books and Hodder Moa Stoughton (as sales manager) followed and in recent years he’s handled South Island sales for Oratia, Blue Duck, Halcyon, Neil Hyndman, Thames and Hudson and others. 

Jeremy (centre, with cap) surrounded by colleagues, family and friends

There was many a memory and escapade shared at the lively event, for which guests had travelled from as far afield as Nelson, Motueka and Auckland (notably our sales & marketing consultant Belinda Cooke).

Our sincere thanks to Jeremy for his able representation of the Oratia Books list in the South Island, and best wishes for retirement. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Whāriki features in NZIER Summer Reading List for Prime Minister

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) has celebrated the launch of its 2020 Prime Minister's Summer Reading List with an event at Unity Books, Wellington, yesterday evening. 

One of the eight books listed is Merata Kawharu and Paul Tapsell's thought-provoking Whāriki: The growth of Māori community entrepreneurship, published by Oratia Books in November last year.

The NZIER puts together the list to recommend books that can be enjoyed by the Prime Minister, her advisors, and any readers interested in economics and public policy.

Based on a five-year research project that blended on-the-ground interviews with scholarly analysis, Whāriki explores how kin-based business ventures created by Māori have promoted social, economic and environmental wellbeing.   

Its core is eight case studies — some arising from iwi-driven ideas, some ideas from marae-based whanau — that explore the successes, the failures, the learnings and the futures of these opportunities for Māori. 

Dr Merata Kawharu
Dr Paul Tapsell

Whāriki: The growth of Māori community entrepreneurship
  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-63-6 |  RRP $39.99
Paperback with flaps, 234 x 153 mm portrait, 200 pages

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Tessa Duder wins Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement

Our warmest congratulations to author Tessa Duder, who has won this year's Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement ­– Fiction.

Tessa Duder

Tessa Duder CNZM OBE writes for children and young adults and is also an author of short stories, plays and non-fiction. Her well-known Alex novels (adapted for film and television) are critically acclaimed and have been published internationally and republished again recently.

Oratia is proud to have published two of Tessa's works: the biography The Story of Sir Peter Blake in 2012, and the short-story collection Out on the Water in 2014.

Among Tessa's numerous distinctions are an OBE and the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal. She won the 2003 Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellowship, was awarded an Artists to Antarctica Fellowship in 2007 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Waikato in 2008.

In 2010, the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for young adult writers was established to recognise her outstanding contribution to children’s literature, both in her publishing output and her work to promote children’s books and publishing.

She was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to literature in 2020.

She is a past president of the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc), a former Trustee and deputy chair of the Spirit of Adventure Trust and a Trustee of the Storylines Children's Literature Trust of New Zealand.

Click here to read more about the Prime Minister's Awards.

Peter Dowling

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Kiwi critters star in new picture book from Dawn McMillan, Stephanie Thatcher and Ngaere Roberts

There’s a Weta on my Sweater

He Wētā kei runga i tōku Paraka

Dawn McMillan

Illustrated by Stephanie Thatcher

Māori text by Ngaere Roberts


Second book in bilingual nature story series brings fun and games when weta and friends come to school

After the success of her first title in a new nature-driven series, There’s a Tui in our Teapot , bestselling author Dawn McMillan turns her attention to critters in There’s a Weta on my Sweater — to be published in November.

Illustrator Stephanie Thatcher has had a load of fun bringing the gang of Kiwi critters and kids to life, and esteemed translator Ngaere Roberts has rendered it all into lively te Reo.


In the story, weta and friend (including beetle, frog, centipede, stick insect and huhu) come to school with the kids for Show and Tell. 

In the classroom weta marches along while his friends show what they can do — singing, dancing and scaring the teacher! 


But they don’t want to stay in the classroom! Where will they go? Will Koro be able to help his mokopuna keep the critters safe?


There’s not only vivid illustration, hilarious text and a fine Māori translation — but also a fun spread at the end that shares facts about weta, spider, frog and friends and links to find out more

Oratia Books will donate a percentage of sales from the book to the Entomological Society of New Zealand to help conserve and study native insects.


The authors

Dawn McMillan is an internationally recognised writer of children’s books who lives north of Thames. Among her many popular works are I Need a New Bum! and There’s a Tui in our TeapotStephanie Thatcher is an author, picture book illustrator and graphic designer who lives in Huia, West Auckland. Ngaere Roberts is a teacher and well-regarded speaker of Te Reo Māori who lives in Helensville.

Dawn McMillan in her writing studio 

Stephanie Thatcher
Ngaere Roberts

Publication: 4 November 2020  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-76-6 |  RRP $25.99

Hardback, 270 x 210 mm, 32 pages colour

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Bestselling New Zealand Duo Secures Simultaneous Worldwide Release for Latest Laugh-Out-Loud Picture Book


New Zealand author-illustrator duo Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird will see the latest in their bestselling series of hilarious ‘bum’ children’s picture books release simultaneously in North America, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand at the start of 2021.


New York-based Dover Publications and London-based Scholastic UK jumped at the opportunity to purchase rights for My Bum is SO NOISY!  from originating publisher Oratia Books, after previous titles I Need a New Bum and I’ve Broken by Bum achieved bestseller status internationally.


Packed with laugh-out-loud rhymes and zany illustrations, their latest creation follows our hero on comical adventures caused by his bum and the astounding and uncontrollable noises it makes, building to a crescendo of hilarity. 


The first print run for My Bum is SO NOISY! will be over 120,000 copies globally.


“Now more than ever, we could all do with a laugh – and Dawn and Ross’ books bring laughter in abundance,” says Fiz Osborne, Editorial Director, Illustrated Books for Scholastic UK. “We can’t wait to share My Bum is SO NOISY! with readers next year.”


Dawn McMillan conjures up the storylines of the Bum books from her coastal home outside Thames, and Ross Kinnaird brings them to life from his waterside studio on Auckland’s North Shore. 

Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird

"It's been wonderful to see the series reach so many readers worldwide, and we hope that My Bum is SO NOISY!will bring more fun and laughter to kids and adults alike," they say. 


Oratia publisher Peter Dowling reports that CITIC Press also plans to publish the new book in China in early 2021.


“We’re thrilled to be part of Dawn and Ross’ international success, which proves the appeal of Kiwi creativity worldwide,” he says.

Publication: early 2021  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-81-0 | RRP $19.99

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



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