Monday, December 16, 2013

I Need a New Bum! continues its bestselling run

Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird continue to reach hundreds of Kiwi kids with I Need a New Bum!, which is at number 2 on Whitcoulls Top 5 NZ Picture Books. (Click n.2)

Congrats to this great author-illustrator team and thanks to Whitcoulls for doing such a great job selling our book. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Libro International signs Italian and Chinese agency deals

Following the recent Frankfurt Book Fair and ongoing marketing in Europe and Asia, I’m pleased to announce we have signed agency agreements for Libro International books in Italy and China.

In Italy we have appointed the respected Milan-based agency Agenzia Servizi Editoriali to represent all of our children’s titles and selected non-fiction rights for the Italian language. ASE works with both Italian and international publishers to promote quality books in a range of languages; in addition to selling our rights, we’ll also be working with ASE for select rights acquisitions from publishers in Italy.

Meanwhile in China we’ve agreed a fixed-term deal with Chengdu Rightol Agency for representation of eight books in the Chinese market. This established agency based in Chengdu will seek Chinese rights deals for children’s titles along with a couple of standout books from the past year, New Zealand Tattoo and Favourite Māori Legends.

Through these collaborations we hope to have some of our authors appearing in Italian and Chinese editions before too long. 

Peter Dowling
Libro International

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Māori Maps at the National Library

Māori Maps is one of the innovative organisations featured in an exhibition that opened yesterday at the National Library of NZ /Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa. If you're in Wellington check out the Leading Edge exhibition -

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ngā Kupu Ora honours Pā Henare Tate

Thank you to Massey University for hosting a memorable ceremony last Thursday to celebrate the winners of the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards.

An audience of over 180 people attended the evening in Te Raukura Wharewaka on Wellington’s waterfront, honouring five authors in the categories of biography, fiction, non-fiction, Māori language and the special award.

I was proud to be there as part of the group to tautoko Pā Henare Tate, who accepted the Non-Fiction/Te Kōrero Pono awards for his He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama: A Little Spring in the World of Light.

The judges described Pā’s work as “a compelling and passionate description of the role that tikanga and kaupapa play in the construction of a Māori Christian theological framework.”

Other winners included esteemed fiction writer Witi Ihimaera for White Lies, and Bradford Haami for his work Ka Mau te Wehi.
Massey has taken an important initiative with these awards, now in their fifth year, and which aim to foster Māori literary excellence, authorship and scholarship.

Pā Henare Tate with supporters; Sister Magdalen Sheahan (centre) was a key editor on the book. 
Staff members of Massey University/Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa in full flight 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dawn McMillan in store with Holy Socks

Dawn McMillan is appearing bookstores in Auckland and Waikato this month to promote her new book Holy Socks, illustrated by Philip Webb. Here is Dawn introducing the story of Holy Socks the cat to some keen young readers at The Resource Room, Point Chevalier, last Saturday.

Monday, November 4, 2013

RIP Vapi Kupenga

Our aroha to the family of Vapi Kupenga, a great supporter of New Zealand books and writers, who passed away last week. Vapi was a keen promoter of our Māori writers on her Radio Waatea show, and also contributed the Te Reo translation of the Oratia Media site. Haere ra, Vapi, you will be much missed.

- Hear Selwyn Muru's memories of this rangatira of Ngāti Porou

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Holy Socks is here!

Holy Socks

Dawn McMillan & Philip Webb

Christmas classic from the author of 2012 best-seller I need a new Bum!

‘One Christmas Eve, some years ago, a ginger kitten wandered along a street on the far side of town. He was hungry, and cold and wet.’
Bertie McGinty finds the kitten and christens him Holy Socks. Soon the pair is inseparable. Even after Bertie’s death, Holy Socks sticks by his master and takes up home in the church near his grave. 

Captivated by Holy Socks as she sits in church, young Christie calls out, ‘Can I keep the cat?’ Father John, by way of answer, tells everyone the story of Holy Socks.

This heart-warming tale from Thames-based Dawn McMillan, with beautiful illustrations by Wellington artist Philip Webb, is set to be an instant Christmas classic.

Dawn is available for interviews and will be appearing in the following bookshops:

2 November – Bookshop and Resource Room, Pt. Chevalier, 10 a.m.
         – Next Page Please!, Takapuna, 2 p.m.
7 November – Kids Book Fair, Takapuna
16 November – Carsons Bookshop, Thames, 3 p.m.
23 November – Browns Bay Library, 10:30 a.m.
28 November – Books for Kids, Hamilton, 10 a.m.

Release Date:  24 October 2013  | ISBN: 978-1-877514-59-3 | RRP $19.99
Paperback, 230 x 215 mm, 32 pages colour

To arrange an interview with Dawn, images or a review copy, contact:
Isabell Zitzelsberger, Marketing Specialist 
022 156 7470 or
Libro International, a division of Oratia Media   |

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pā Henare Tate receives Māori Book Award

With great pleasure we can announce that Pā Henare Tate’s He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama, published by Libro International last November, has won the Te Kōrero Pono/Non-fiction category in the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards.
The awards, administered by Massey University, will be granted in a ceremony at Te Wharewaka o Poneke function centre in Wellington on 7 November.
Identified in five categories – biography, fiction, non-fiction, te reo Māori and a special award – the winners were selected from books published between August 2012 and July this year.
Chair of the three-member judging panel and Massey University senior lecturer, Dr Spencer Lilley said the awards are held to address the dearth of Māori literature for adults.
“The awards were created as a result of other major book awards consistently failing to acknowledge Māori authors. The Awards also foster Māori literary excellence, authorship and scholarship in te reo Māori,” he said.
Pā Henare’s work, which is subtitled A Little Spring in the World of Light, was described by the judges as a compelling description of the role that Māori tikanga (protocols) and kaupapa (methodologies) play in the construction of a Māori Christian theological framework.
“This scholarly text joins other seminal works on tikanga Māori by Barlow (Tikanga Whakaaro: key concepts in tikanga Māori) and Mead (Tikanga Māori: living by Māori values),” the judges said.
Our hearty congratulations to Pā Henare for this much deserved recognition.
Pā Henare Tate (Ngāti Manawa, Te Rarawa) was formerly a lecturer at the Auckland Catholic Institute of Theology, and the University of Auckland School of Theology. A recognised specialist in Māori spirituality, he now lives lives in Motuti, in northern Hokianga.  
He Puna Iti i Te Ao Mārama: A Little Spring in the World of Light
Pā Henare Tate
240 x 160 mm portrait, PB, 320 pp

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Frankfurt Book Fair 2013: Sticking it out in changing times - Peter Dowling reports

Oratia Media was back for our fourth successive year at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which concluded on the weekend.

There were way fewer publishers on the New Zealand collective stand than during our Guest of Honour year in 2012, but for the 14 of us who came back, the benefits of that programme were tangible. We had a big open stand in a good location, well put together by the Publishers Association of New Zealand team, and I really felt able to build on last year’s profile. 

Our section on the New Zealand collective stand in Hall 8

Among my 50 or so meetings were a good number with German publishers, kicking off with a rousing session of beer and pretzels on the Tuesday evening at the BuchMarkt magazine stand. (See Herr Mayer’s column - Relations with our German counterparts have never been healthier.

The unofficial opening party for the fair with German book trade magazine BuchMarkt

Overall visitor numbers at the fair were down some -2% on 2012, to just over 275,000, however. These are times of change and challenge for the global publishing industry, with big challenges in some of our key overseas markets like Italy.

That notwithstanding, the tone of our meetings was mostly positive, especially with US and Canadian publishers, who have already been through a lot of the digital changes that are now reshaping book markets in the rest of the world. There was good interest in our children’s and Māori authors.

Saturday brought a landmark for us, signing a two-year distribution agreement for Libro International books in North America with Virginia-based International Publishers Marketing. We’re looking forward to working with Jane Graf and her team from April 2014.

Libro International books on display

I had a good few meetings with publishers from this year’s Guest of Honour, Brazil, starting with the wonderful Gisela Zincone of Gryphus Editora – we’ve agreed that our 2014 translation of Gryphus’ children’s classic Branquinho o Dognauta will be entitled Snowy the Doganaut. Some lovely illustrated kids’ books are coming out of Brazil.

There wasn’t quite the buzz expected around Brazil, due in part to their stand’s location deep in Hall 5.1, and also the boycott by major authors including Paulo Coelho. No doubting, though, that this is a growing market and one we’re going to continue to develop.

Brazil was this year’s guest of honour at Frankfurt

The New Zealand party on Friday evening was a hit as usual – see Claudia Heydolph’s report on her New Zealand in Germany site and Facebook:

And as the public flooded in on the Saturday and Sunday, it was time to beat a weary retreat for a last few drinks at the Frankfurter Hof – leaving the Messe to the colourfully attired German cosplay teens. Auf wiedersehn till 2014!

Come the weekend and the cosplay kids were out in force around the fair

Peter Dowling manages independent publisher Oratia Media ( and is publisher of its books programme, Libro International (

Monday, September 16, 2013

Libro International buys rights to Brazilian children’s classic

English edition of Branquinho, O Dognauta to be published in 2014. 

Libro International will publish the first English edition of Branquinho, O Dognauta, a classic of Brazilian children’s literature, in mid-2014.
Independent publisher Gryphus Editora of Rio de Janeiro agreed the rights deal this August with Oratia Media, the publisher of Libro International books.
Diego d’Alberqueque’s story tells of an amazing white dog who comes to Earth in a flying saucer. This alien canine has ears where he should have eyes, and eyes in the back of his head – but he wins the love of a young boy. Here the adventure begins …
First published in 1982, Branquinho, O Dognauta has remained in print and sold tens of thousands of copies in Brazil. Gryphus publisher Gisela Zincone issued the sixth edition in 2011, with illustrations by Felipe Vellozo.
“Diego wrote this book when he was eight,” Zincone said. “Almost 30 years after, the book remains fresh and contemporary. It tells a beautiful story about accepting differences while it makes us think about the impact of science and technology in our lives.”
The book will be on the New Zealand stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair from 9–13 October.
“Last year New Zealand was country of honour at Frankfurt, this year’s it’s Brazil’s turn,” commented Peter Dowling of Oratia Media.“We’ll use this platform to promote Branquinho and develop more projects between New Zealand and Brazilian authors and publishers.”
Dowling, who speaks Brazilian Portuguese, will oversee the translation – with the confirmed English title to be revealed at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Branquinho, O Dognauta           
Diego D’Albuquerque, illustrated by Felipe Vellozo; translated by Peter Dowling
ISBN: 978-1-877514-62-3                  NZ$16.99 / 200 x 200 mm/ PB / 24 pp / colour

For further information, contact:
Isabell Zitzelsberger  022 156 7470
Libro International, a division of Oratia Media   |

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Waka Taua: The Maori War Canoe

Jeff Evans

A Māori war canoe being paddled a full speed is an awesome sight. Thanks to the renaissance in canoe building, more and more traditional waka taua are on the waterways, and feature in major events like the Queen’s Jubilee.
Waka Taua is a well-established introduction to all aspects of the war canoe: its history, recent revival, types and variants, phase of building, parts of the waka, crew responsibilities and paddling techniques. With numerous historical and contemporary photographs and drawings, this easy-to-read book is the perfect reference for these amazing craft.
This valuable book is now back in print and available from Libro International.

Praise for the first edition of Waka Taua:
‘What a valuable and timely book, there being something of a rebirth in canoe building at present’
Northern Advocate
‘It is Evans’ passion for his subject that makes this book special’ – Weekend Herald

The author: Jeff Evans is a well-known writer and photographer, who is an authority on Maori canoes. Jeff is also the author of Polynesian Navigation and the Discovery of New Zealand, Nga Waka o Nehera: The first voyaging canoes and Maori Weapons in Pre-European New Zealand, and editor of Elsdon Best’s Notes on the Art of War. Jeff lives in Te Atatu, Auckland with his family.

ISBN: 978-1-877514-40-1   | RRP $34.99
Paperback, 250 x 185 mm, 76 pages with illustrations

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Te Ara exhibition opens in Vancouver

Launches new trilingual book featuring Musqueam alongside Māori and English

The exhibition Te Ara: Māori Pathways of Leadership, opens today in Vancouver, Canada, in the final stage of its world tour before returning to New Zealand in February 2014.
Featuring photographs by Krzysztof Pfeiffer taken over a five-year period, and curated by Paul Tapsell and Merata Kawharu, Te Ara is a visual survey of leadership in the Māori world – past, present and future. It premiered in Poland in 2010 and has since shown at major museums in the UK and Germany.
The exhibition is being hosted by the Musqueam Indian Band, the First Peoples of the Vancouver area, and is showing at the Musqueam Gallery in the British Columbian capital.
Accompanying the opening was the launch of the third edition of the exhibition book. Te Ara features photographs from the exhibition with extended text by Paul Tapsell reviewing
leadership and challenges for Māori today.
The book is believed to be the first featuring both Canadian and New Zealand indigenous languages, with a landmark Musqueam translation – one of very few texts in the language – alongside Te Reo Māori and English. Copies are available in Canada and New Zealand.
"Our conversation is indigenous to indigenous with the Musqueam, but it is a story to which everyone is invited to come along and listen in," said Tapsell, who is visiting Vancouver.           
Te Ara: Māori Pathways of Leadership will be at the Musqueam Gallery, 4000 Musqueam Avenue, Vancouver, until 28 February 2014.
Professor Paul Tapsell and Associate Professor Merata Kawharu teach in the Māori Studies department at the University of Otago, Dunedin; Krzysztof Pfeiffer is an internationally recognised photographer based in Auckland who has contributed to more than 35 books.

Read more in the Vancouver Sun

Te Ara: Māori Pathways of Leadership
Release Date: 9 August 2013  |  ISBN: 978-1-877514-60-9  |  RRP $21.99
Paperback, 210 x 297 mm landscape, 32 pages, colour

To arrange an interview, images, extracts or a review copy, contact:
Peter Dowling  027 614 8993
Libro International, a division of Oratia Media   |

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Māori Maps shortlisted for World Summit Awards

Te Potiki National Trust has welcomed its nomination as a finalist in the World Summit Awards for the Māori Maps website,

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams yesterday congratulated Te Potiki National Trust and the seven other New Zealand organisations that have made the finals in the global World Summit Awards for creativity and innovation in ICT.

“It is great to see New Zealand projects of this calibre being recognised on the world stage. It is particularly important that we celebrate and encourage the high level of innovation and creativity that we have in this country,” Ms Adams said.

Te Potiki National Trust Chairperson Paora Tapsell said this recognition was reward for the hard work of its largely voluntary team.

Over the past five years, Māori Maps has created a digital database of marae locations, photographs and information to assist Māori descendants, as well as visitors, in connecting with the more than 750 ancestral marae in New Zealand.

“This unexpected honour will help to promote our message about how unique our marae are in the world, and how important they are for the identity and well-being of present and future generations of Māori.”

He thanked the Trust’s volunteers and supporters for their faith in the project.

Key backing for Māori Maps has come from The Tindall Foundation, the University of Otago, the University of Auckland, the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, and several community trusts.

The website, based on Google Maps, lets users navigate by a range of filters to locate marae – and now lists about 98% of the ancestral marae around the country.

The site is designed and hosted by Auckland-based Zest Media, and managed by the Trust’s Online Producer, Mike Hennessy.

Te Potiki National Trust is now adding archival photos and taonga links to the site, and working to complete translation of all content into Te Reo Māori. 

For further information, contact:
 Peter Dowling, Kaihautu; 09 814 8993,

Note: Oratia Media, publisher of Libro International books, is a supporter of Te Potiki National Trust and Peter acts as its kaihautu/chief executive. 

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