Friday, December 22, 2017

Farewell to the much-loved Paul Greenberg

It was with great sadness that we learned this week of the passing of Paul Greenberg after a long illness.

That sadness has been shared throughout the book trade, of which Paul was a respected and beloved member.

Paul had joined the book trade in the late 1960s as a sales representative for A.H. & A.W. Reed, and over the subsequent 50 years worked with and for many of the great publishers and booksellers.

The inimitable Mr Greenberg – known for his charm, professionalism, sartorial elegance and gentlemanly ways – was the consummate sales rep.

With his partner Joan Roulston, Paul had operated Greene Phoenix Marketing over the past two decades, travelling the length and breadth of the country to market local and international books.

They enthusiastically represented Oratia Books in most of the North Island from 2009 until 2017, when health reasons obliged Paul reluctantly to “hang up his slate”.

See this summary of his contribution from Booksellers NZ this week.

Paul, thank you for all you did for us. Things won't be the same without you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

An arts challenge from Creative NZ's Chief Executive

Leading up to Christmas, Creative New Zealand's Chief Executive - Pou Whakahaere Stephen Wainwright has posted a most interesting, personal blog about how gift buyers might consider 'bringing it home'.

Click here to go to Stephen's blog, which sets an "arts challenge" for New Zealanders to explore and support local culture.

He kindly mentions Oratia as one place to go "to ensure that our arts and cultural expression has pride of place." 

Kia ora Stephen, and Merry Christmas/Meri Kirihimete ki a koutou katoa.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Reporting from the Guadalajara International Book Fair 2017

Here is our report from the Guadalajara International Book Fair, one of the world's major book and publishing events. 

Peter led the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) stand at the event, the first time NZ books and writing have been among the official exhibitors at the fair in Mexico's second city. 

The report is from this week's PANZ News, and a photo album can be seen at

Monday, December 11, 2017

Lights, camera, action for The Camera in the Crowd

There was indeed a crowd in Wellington for the Thursday 7 December launch of Christopher Pugsley’s seminal new book, The Camera in the Crowd: Filming New Zealand in Peace and War, 1895 – 1920.

Appropriately, the evening event took place at Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, the home of New Zealand’s film archive and a key partner in this account of the dawn of film in Aotearoa.
Christopher Pugsley speaks at the launch

Author Dr Christopher Pugsley spoke of his long journey to uncover the story of our early filmmakers and cinema impresarios, and his gratitude to the many collaborators and experts who supported him along the way.
Sarah Davy of Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision Group Manager Information Services Sarah Davy spoke of the pride the organisation feels at seeking the film history brilliantly captured in print form, and of the work that is going in to accompanying the book with online film footage and information.
Unity Books were kept busy by guests obtaining their signed copies of the 536-page hardback.

And of course, there were cameras in attendance! A selection of photos follows.

Christopher spoke the next morning on Radio New Zealand’s Saturday Morning show with Kim Hill. The Radio NZ site prefaced the book thus:
Christopher Pugsley is a respected and much published military historian – but what is not as well known is that he has a passion and a deep knowledge of film history. Pugsley's new book, The Camera in the Crowd, is the result of nearly three decades of research – the story of film in New Zealand for its first 25 years, 1895-1920, told largely through the footage that has survived in the archive of Nga Taonga Sound & Vision. It covers the last years of the Victorian era and the first two decades of the 20th century – a period that encompassed great political, technological and cultural changes, including the First World War. It tells of the cameramen, of the film they took - not only at home but also of the Kiwi 'Diggers' in the First World War - and how the public reacted to it.

Click here to hear the interview:

And here are additional links to other coverage:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Monumental history illuminates the dawn of film in New Zealand

More than 20 years in the writing, The Camera in the Crowd: Filming New Zealand in Peace and War, 1895–1920 is a magnum opus — the first book to document fully the beginnings of filmmaking and cinema for and by New Zealanders.

In 536 pages this sumptuous hardback brings to life the first 25 years of film in New Zealand, from the arrival of the first kinetoscope technology through the building of cinemas, filming for tourism promotion, cameramen working in the First World War and the arrival of 'talkies'.

"This is the book that I've hoped that someone would write," comments Sir Peter Jackson in his enthusiastic foreword.
Luxuriously illustrated with over 350 photos, film stills and ephemera, the book mimics those early experiences of film, as the author explains:

"Film is made to be seen on screen and this book reflects this by providing stills from the films discussed. Titles of surviving films are also identified by a small projector in the margin that allows you to access the film online and pause and have a look at what you are reading about.

"Each page also includes a still from the 1914 film Auckland's Expeditionary Force  ... you can enjoy this segment by flipping the pages in the manner of the once very popular flip books."
One of the 268 'flip book' images
Christopher Pugsley is best known for his military histories including Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story, and it was that expertise that led to his working for the then New Zealand Film Archive in the early 1990s. From there grew his passion for film history that has continued with the current Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, which has furnished the images and information for much of the book.

As Sir Peter concludes his foreword:

"You are holding a treasure trove in your hands. It's time to peer through that peephole and see our country of 100 years ago come alive again.

"Thank you, Chris."

Christopher Pugsley is one of New Zealand's most respected historians. Formerly a Lieutenant-Colonel in the New Zealand Army and a lecturer in military studies in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, he has writen numerous works of military history including Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story and The Anzac Experience, and was historical director of the Gallipoli: The Scale of War exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa, the New Zealand National Museum in Wellington. He lives in Waikanae Beach. 

Publication Date: 29 November 2017  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-34-6 |  RRP $80

Paperback, 270 x 215 mm, 536 pages (8 pages colour)

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