Thursday, December 6, 2018

Te Ahi Kā: The Fires of Occupation launches to the world

Te Ahi Kā, Danish photographer Martin Toft’s homage to tangata whenua of the upper Whanganui River, is now on sale after a ceremonial blessing yesterday morning. 

Representatives of Te Whānau o Tieke and Te Whānau o Mangapapapa, led by Tawhero Haitana, travelled from the Whanganui region to Auckland’s North Shore to bless and receive copies of the book, which was published in the UK and craft-printed in Poland. 
Martin's step-daughter Indra-Kaye and partner Callum, travelling from the UK, represented him at the event, which was hosted by the team from Publishers Distribution Ltd and Oratia, which are distributing the book in New Zealand and Australia.

Writing from his home in Jersey, Martin posted:

"Finally Te Ahi Kā has reached the shores of New Zealand and yesterday the books were blessed in a special Māori ceremony in Auckland. Such an honour and privilege to be part of this special journey that began in 1996 when we returned home to the ancestral homeland of Mangapapapa."

In the mid-1990s Martin spent six months living among Ngā Uri O Tamahaki  far up the Whanganui River, learning of their struggles to retain ancestral lands. The whānau cemented the bond by giving him the Māori name Pouma Pokai-whenua. Twenty years later, Toft returned to complete his photo report.

Te Ahi Kā: The Fires of Occupation records that interaction in photos, archival images, interviews and text — summarising the key political, environmental and cultural issues for the iwi.

Images from the book

Produced by Dewi Lewis Publishing and distributed in New Zealand by Oratia, this sumptuous hardback features superb colour and black & white photographs, fold-out pages and alternate female (fern) and male (embers) covers. 

Te Ahi Kā evokes the physical and metaphysical relationship between a river and its ancestors, between Māori and the author. It aims to leave a legacy for future guardians of the Whanganui, and to share the aspirations and desires of this unique community.
Martin Toft
Martin Toft is a photographer, photo book artist and educator who works on commissions and long-term collaborative projects. Born in Denmark in 1970, he has travelled widely and since 2004 has been based in Jersey, where he teaches photography at Hautlieu School. His work has been exhibited and awarded widely around the world.

Publication: 5 December 2018  |  ISBN: 978-1-911306-38-2  |  RRP $65.00
Hardback, female & male editions, 205 x 165 mm portrait, 200 pages colour incl. foldouts


Friday, November 9, 2018

Vanessa Hatley-Owen talks When Dad Came Home to local media

A fine profile of debut author Vanessa Hatley-Owen appeared in the Howick and Pakuranga Times yesterday (also in the Botany and Ormiston Times).

The article explores the genesis of  When Dad Came Home:

Some wounds are not visible. For some returned soldiers the battles continued long after the guns fell silent.
Those were the thoughts that were running in Vanessa Hatley-Owen’s mind as she attended an author talk about the effects of First World War.
For someone who has always been a history buff, it didn’t take long for Vanessa to weave the idea into a children’s picture story book.
So what happens after the soldiers return from war? She postulated and went on to write a gripping book for children at a weekend retreat for writers.

Just how hard it was for men to readjust after life in the trenches hit home to me reading a quote in Oratia's other book that marks the end of the First World War — Christopher Pugsley's tribute to the last major action of the war, Le Quesnoy 1918:

On 3 February 1919 Fred Cody writes from Germany at what is the start of his journey home. 
Been away so long that everything about home is a little blurred, but I suppose a man will settle down in time. 

Some men did settle down in time, as the father in When Dad Came Home finally manages with the love of his family. For others, the war never ended.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bringing Dad home after the war ends

When the First World War ended, not all kids got their fathers back, and among those that did come home were many scarred by mental wounds. 
After the bands stop playing and the street festivities subside, young Rita and Thomas wait to see their Dad again. But the man who eventually comes home doesn’t speak and is frightened by loud noises. 

Struggling to understand, the kids support him as he readjusts to home life, all the while singing his favourite song. 
One day, while they help him fix the deck, Dad starts to join in the song …

When Dad Came Home movingly captures a children’s view of war and the realities of shell shock (what we now know as PTSD). 

Published on Thursday 8 November, in time to mark the centenary of the War’s end on 11 November 1918, this striking debut work is reminder of how the effects went on after the dads came home.

Author Vanessa Hatley-Owen will be on hand to launch the book at Howick Library this Saturday 10 November (see below) — all welcome. 

Vanessa Hatley-Owen (above, left) is a writer who has published with Learning Media and been a New Zealand Society of Authors mentee. A mother of three and teacher support, she lives in Howick, Auckland. 
Rosie Colligan (right) has illustrated for book and commercial clients in New Zealand and internationally, and formerly worked at Weta Digital. She lives in Wellington.

                    Publication: 8 November 2018  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-50-6  |  RRP $19.99                   
Paperback, 230 x 135 mm, 32 pages colour


Friday, November 2, 2018

Le Quesnoy 1918 in this week's Listener and on Sunday Morning

The battle of Le Quesnoy is the subject of an impressive 7-page feature article by our author Christopher Pugsley in the  3 –9 November edition of the New Zealand Listener.

Drawing heavily on text and imagery from Pugsley's new book, Le Quesnoy 1918: New Zealand's last battle, the feature explores the legacy of the New Zealand Division's contribution on the Western Front and the enduring bonds forged with the people of Le Quesnoy (pronounced Le Ken-wah). 

The Listener's blurb about Christopher Pugsley's article
The article is now live on the Noted website.

Author Christopher Pugsley also featured on Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning programme on 4 November, in a gripping interview with Wallace Chapman.

Click here to listen in.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Italian Presidential honour for Oratia's Alessandra Zecchini

Italian President Sergio Mattarella has awarded Alessandra Zecchini, Media Director and co-founder of Oratia Media, the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia for services to Italian culture and foreign relations. 

Italian Ambassador Fabrizio Marcelli (right) awards the Cavaliere honour to Alessandra Zecchini on Sunday 28 October
The state honour — which translates as Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy — is bestowed on Italians and foreigners who have promoted relations between Italy and other countries. It also reflects on the promotion of Italian culture in the world. 

His Excellency Fabrizio Marcelli, Italian Ambassador to New Zealand, awarded the honour on Sunday at the annual Festival Italiano street festival in Newmarket, Auckland.

Born in Milan and raised in the province of Modena, Alessandra Zecchini immigrated to New Zealand in 1997, settled in West Auckland and founded Oratia Media with husband Peter Dowling in 2000.

The insignia for the Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy

As a writer and editor Zecchini has helped direct the company over many years, and contributed to publication of a number of Italian books in New Zealand. She has herself produced numerous articles about Italian food, culture and travel, and authored three recipe books

Zecchini has been widely active in the Italian community. She is a long-standing committee member and former President of the Società Dante Alighieri di Auckland, and a representative on the Com.It.Es Wellington. She has taught Italian language and culture at the Dante Society for over 20 years. 

Since 2006 she has been Director of the annual Festival Italiano Auckland, which is the country’s largest Italian cultural event, and among Auckland’s busiest ethnic festivals. 

She has promoted Italian cuisine widely, and founded the Slow Food Waitakere chapter,  now Slow Food Auckland, the country’s most active group of the Italian-based food network. 

Alessandra Zecchini, Media Director of Oratia Media
“I am greatly honoured to receive this recognition and thank all the wonderful Italian and New Zealand friends and family who have helped to make it all possible,” Zecchini said.

“The honour recognises the strong bonds between our countries, something we saw wonderfully at Sunday’s street festival.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Brought to life: New Zealand's pivotal last battle of the First World War

The New Zealand Division’s capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy was its last and most successful action in the First World War. 

An authoritative new book on the campaign will be launched in Le Quesnoy on 4 November as part of the inauguration of a New Zealand Memorial Museum — 100 years on from those desperate days. 

The book is on sale in New Zealand from 25 October. 

In an action that made the front page of the New York Times, Kiwi troops scaled the town walls by ladder and overwhelmed the defenders, freeing Le Quesnoy from years of German occupation. 

Drawing on his detailed knowledge of the landscape and those involved, distinguished military historian Christopher Pugsley puts together the story with his mastery of drama — while paying tribute to the New Zealanders who died (and whose details are fully recorded here for the first time). 

Richly illustrated with maps, photographs and paintings of the battle by George Butler, Le Quesnoy 1918 is a passionate account of how the Great War ended.

The battle and the book will be the subject of a major feature in the Listener magazine, to be published this Friday. 

Dr Christopher Pugsley is one of New Zealand’s leading historians. A retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the New Zealand Army, he was a lecturer in military studies in New Zealand, Australia and UK until his retirement in 2012. His first book, Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story remains in print in its fifth edition; his most recent work was the monumental The Camera in the Crowd: Filming New Zealand in Peace and War, 1895–1920, published last December with a foreword by Sir Peter Jackson. 

Publication: 25 October 2018  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-49-0  |  RRP $39.99
Paperback, 297 x 210 mm portrait, 168 pages (8 pages colour)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Celebrating Festival Italiano 2018 with the amazing Food Atlas

To mark the Festival Italiano season of 2018 in Auckland, Oratia is giving away a copy of our own Italian creation — the amazing Food Atlas

Authored by Italian writer-illustrator duo Giulia Malerba and Febe Sillani, Food Atlas comes to us via Dalcò Edizioni, an outstanding publisher of food and children’s books that is based in Parma. 

First published in Italy only last year, Food Atlas is a big, sumptuous hardback (RRP$39.99) that shows the food cultures of the world on hand-drawn maps packed with detail and fun. 

New Zealand has its own page, and from the enthusiastic presentation it’s clear that Italians appreciate the fresh and varied cuisine that we have to offer — just as Kiwis visiting the festival day in Newmarket will savour great Italian food and drink. 

Food Atlas has already sold well over 150,000 copies worldwide in 18 languages, and Oratia is delighted to have published the Oceania edition on 3 October (Australia and Fiji also feature). Febe's blog

To enter in the draw for a copy of Food Atlas, go to the Oratia Facebook page.
Food Atlas: Discover All the Delicious Foods of the World  | ISBN: 978-0-947506-51-3 
Hardback, 370 x 270 mm, 72 pages colour | RRP $39.99


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