Friday, December 24, 2021

Hear hear — audiobook of I've Broken My Bum! and other stories out now!

Audio version of three-book combo narrated by author Dawn McMillan available now

In collaboration with Audiobooks NZ, Oratia is pleased to launch an audio version of the new collection of stories from Dawn McMillan. 

Narrated by Dawn herself, the readalong version is a great way to keep the kids entertained, either by itself or as an accompaniment to the book. 

The audiobook is available on these platforms:




Together with the title story, the collection presents Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears and Charlie and his amazing tales. For more about the book, click here.

Bigs up to Theo Gibson and his team at Audiobooks NZ for creating this slice of audio fun.

From Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears

The authors

Dawn McMillan 
is the much-loved author of numerous children’s books including I Need a New Bum! Doctor Grundy’s Undies and the 2020 release Sir Singlet. She lives in Waiomu, north of Thames. 

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: December 2021  |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004218-8

Audiobook available online


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Oratia

A very Merry Christmas and Happy 2022 to all!

Meri Kirihimete me Ngā Mihi o te Tau 2022 ki a koutou katoa! 

Buon Natale e Felice 2022 a tutti!

The Oratia Books team wishes all our valued readers, customers, booksellers, authors, illustrators, editors, designers, sales reps, printers, suppliers, friends and colleagues a restorative and happy break wherever it finds you.

The Oratia office will be closed from midday Friday 24 December until Wednesday 5 January. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The Battlecruiser New Zealand — ‘biography’ of the ship that defined New Zealand's imperial past

The Battlecruiser New Zealand: A Gift to Empire

Matthew Wright

HMS New Zealand is arguably the most famous ship ever to serve the country, even though it was under Royal Navy colours.


It has hitherto featured only in general naval histories, so this classy hardback fills in an often-overlooked chapter in the nation’s story. 


In March 1909 New Zealand’s Premier Joseph Ward offered a ‘first-class battleship’ to the British Navy as a contribution to the Empire (and to guard against the perceived threat of a newly rising Japan). 

Paid for by the people of New Zealand it entered service in time to fight with distinction in the North Sea naval battles of the First World War. 


Born of the collision between New Zealand’s patriotic dreams and European politics, the tale of HMS New Zealand is further wrapped in issues of engineering, naval strategy and public opinion. 

The Battlecruiser New Zealand is a fast-paced account of the ship’s career, brought to life through official documents, eyewitness accounts and new research. Kiwi historian Matthew Wright tells the story as part naval history and part ‘biography’ of the vessel and its sailors.

The result is an elegant hardback, filled with illustrations of the ship during its lifespan — from construction to its triumphant world tour, service in battle and final dismantling for scrap in 1923.

Included is a colour section featuring the ship's construction plans and paintings of its action in the First World War.

Oratia Books is proud to publish this history in a coedition with Seaforth Publishing, UK, one of the world’s premiere  publishers of maritime books. 

The author

Matthew Wright is the author of over 60 books on a wide range of topics for all ages, principally New Zealand history. A highly respected historian, he is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His other books with Oratia are The New Zealand Wars, Freyberg — A Life’s Journey and The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front. He lives in Wellington.

Publication: 16 November 2021  |  RRP $59.99  |  ISBN:  978-1-526784-0-32 
Hardback, 234 x 156 mm, 288 pages, b&w with colour section

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Pā Henare Tate's master work returns to print

A bold attempt to harmonise Christian and traditional Māori beliefs

Oratia Books is delighted to welcome back into print He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama, the seminal work of theology and spirituality by the late Pā Henare Tate. 

Pā Tate was a renowned leader of the Catholic Church and his community in the northern Hokianga, Northland. Formerly a lecturer at the Auckland Catholic Institute of Theology and the University of Auckland, he passed away on his ancestral lands at Motutī in 2017. 

In this book, Pā set out to reconcile the deeply held Christian beliefs of Māori with the indigenous world view that they have inherited and are increasingly rediscovering.


He argues that the traditional Christian message has fallen short of speaking intimately and powerfully to the Māori experience. 


He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama offers one response and contribution to this call by attempting to develop the foundations of an indigenous Māori theology. 


It addresses both the kaupapa (principles) and the tikanga (process or method) whereby such a theology can develop, and then sets out some foundations for it through concepts rooted in Māori culture and history.

He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama won the non-fiction category in the Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards in 2013.

Out of print for several years, the book has been updated by Ted Ratana and Albert Robertson of DoW Holdings, which administers the Dynamics of Whānaungatanga programme that Pā Tate launched in 1992.

The book retains its central place in the delivery of social programmes and workshops across Aotearoa.

The author

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. He obtained a doctorate from The Melbourne College of Divinity, and was a specialist in Māori spirituality. Pā passed away on his turangawaewae in the Hokianga in 2017.

Publication Date: 10 November 2021 |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004203-4 |  RRP $80
Paperback, 240 x 160 mm, 320 pages, b&w

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Extinct NZ animals come back to life in Dawn McMillan's third nature story book

There’s a Moa in the Moonlight / He Moa kei rō Atarau

Dawn McMillan

Illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson

Māori text by Ngaere Roberts


The third in Dawn McMillan's bilingual nature story series is out today, bringing our extinct animals back to life in a young girl’s imagination

‘I thought a child’s view of extinct animals was a fun idea with an important message of conserving endangered species,’ says bestselling author Dawn McMillan. 

From that idea emerged There’s a Moa in the Moonlight, the third in Dawn’s series of nature stories following There’s a Tui in our Teapot (2018) and There’s a Weta on my Sweater (2020).


In the beautifully illustrated book in English and Māori, an inquisitive girl peers out her back window as night falls, only to see a moa in the garden munching all the melons!

Before long moa is joined by a laughing owl hooting in the night, huia eating grubs in the hibiscus tree, a Haast’s eagle soaring in the sky, and a kawekaweau lizard gobbling fallen guava.


What will Mum say when she sees all these animals in her garden?

The spread of fact boxes about the animals (shown above) follows the story, helping kids to learn more about our disappeared fauna.


Concludes Dawn: ‘I enjoyed meeting moa and friends and hope that readers will be pleased to meet them too.’


There's a Moa in the Moonlight is out today in good bookstores across the country, and you can find more info here.

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 Sir Singlet. Her two previous nature series books are There's a Weta on my Sweater and There’s a Tui in our Teapot, the latter also illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson. Nikki is a widely published author and illustrator, internationally known for her Muddle and Mo series and numerous other children's booksNgaere Roberts is a teacher and translator of te reo Māori who lives in Helensville; she delayed her retirement from translation to complete the reo for There's a Moa in the Moonlight.

Dawn McMillan
Nikki Slade Robinson

Publication Date: 2 November 2021 |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-96-4 |  RRP $25.99
Hardback, 270 x 210 mm, 32 pages colour

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

He Iti te Kupu wins Te Reo Māori section of NZSA Awards

Ngā mihi nunui ki Hona Black, kua toa i ngā NZSA New Zealand Literary Heritage Awards mo te pukapuka pai ake i te Reo, i panuihia i te pō o Rāmere kei Ōtautahi.

Hearty congratulations to author Hona Black, whose book He Iti te Kupu: Māori Metaphors and Similes won the Te Reo Māori Books section at the NZSA New Zealand Literary Heritage Awards, announced this past Friday at a ceremony in Christchurch. 


Hona wrote this, his first book, entirely in te reo. He then translated all of the explanations and examples into English. 

The layout reflects that process, with text in Māori on left-hand pages and English on the facing pages — enabling speakers of either language to access the use, meaning and context of nearly 500 metaphors and similes.

He Iti te Kupu is the culmination of extensive research into kupu whakarite (metaphors and similes) by Hona, a lecturer and teacher who is currently completing his doctorate in te reo Māori. 

Associate Professor Darryn Joseph of Massey University edited the manuscript and mentored Hona through the publishing process, and Kanapu Rangitauira proofread the book.

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. 


In the words of awards judge Charisma Rangipunga: 'Hona Black’s bilingual collection of metaphors and similes is a tool not to be underestimated.'

Ka nui ngā mihi ki a koe e Hona mō tēnei paraihe.

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. He currently lives in Wellington.

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

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


Monday, October 25, 2021

A brilliant LP-sized gallery of classic New Zealand album covers

Cover Story

100 Beautiful, Strange and Frankly Incredible New Zealand LP Covers: Volume One

Steve Braunias

Welcome to an incredible picture gallery collection of 100 albums selected not by jury or a sales chart, but an avid collector of albums — and one of the best chroniclers of modern-day New Zealand. 

Award-winning author and journalist Steve Braunias fell into record collecting one fateful Christmas at the Salvation Army Family Store in Henderson, West Auckland (see photo above). He flipped through a box of old vinyl records and the sight of one mad, beautiful New Zealand album cover after another gave him the idea to present them in a book. 

It only took six years! He amassed a collection of over 800 LPs made in New Zealand and Cover Story showcases the best 100.


The records are from a golden age in New Zealand music — from 1957 (when the first LP was made here) to 1987 (the year records stopped being made here). The covers reflect our silliness and our sexiness, our love of a scenic backdrop and our DIY creativity. 

Cover Story features LPs made by Country & Western hayseeds, born-again Christians, hard-drinking piano players and a few genuine legends of New Zealand music: Peter Posa . . . Hello Sailor  . . . The Yandall Sisters . . . Some guy who owned a menswear store in Whanganui . . . 


They all answer the question: what does Kiwi music look like? Steve writes stories behind the record covers, through a series of interviews and small essays.


The discography (see page 165 of the book) lists records by acts as diverse as children's entertainer Max Cryer, Fijian rock band Mantis, Invercargill's country music sweetheart Suzanne Prentice, genius stoned hippie Corben Simpson, and the Patea Maori Club, whose masterpiece of album art Poi E  is displayed over two pages in the centrefold.


As Steve puts it, Cover Story is 'Thirty years of record covers, making a sketch of New Zealand cultural history, sometimes frankly incredibly, quite often strangely, very often beautifully.'

Cover Story is arriving in good bookstores across the nation this week.

The author

Steve Braunias began raiding op shops for old New Zealand albums in 2015 and has since amassed over 800 LPs that no one else wanted. The author of ten books, including Civilisation (winner of the 2013 New Zealand Book Award for General Non-fiction) and Missing Persons (his second collection of true-crime stories), Steve is a staff writer at the New Zealand Herald and literary editor at Newsroom. He has won more than 40 national awards for writing. He lives in Te Atatu, Auckland.

Publication: 26 October 2021  |  RRP $49.99  |  ISBN:  978-0-947506-89-6
Paperback, 312 x 312 mm (LP size), 168 pages, colour

Monday, October 18, 2021

I've Broken MY BUM! forms a new combo with Mister Spears and Charlie


Three books in one as the second of the hit ‘Bum Series’ combines with two favourite picture books

There’s a whole lot of fun and laughter going on in the new special collection from bestselling author-illustrator combo Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird, which hits bookstores on Tuesday 19 October.

Publishing in time for Christmas stockings and summer holidays, I’ve Broken MY BUM! and other stories brings together three of the duo’s slightly silly, raucously rhyming and dazzlingly drawn books.


In the title story, the hero of international bestseller I Need a New Bum! breaks his backside, reassembles it on a tray and glues it back together,  but on reattaching finds that the tray is stuck fast too. 

Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears turns the sad fate of Mister Spears, whose ear hair just won’t stop growing and growing, into a triumph as he ties it into a funky hairdo and hits the road with his band The Earbashers.


And in Charlie and his amazing tales, a dog tells a passing boy of his daring adventures, from surfing in Hawaii to singing at the Royal Variety Show. So why is he for sale for only $10?

Combining a keen sense of humour with a very keen price, this bumper volume will have young kids reading and laughing all summer.

The authors

Dawn McMillan 
is the much-loved author of numerous children’s books including I Need a New Bum! Doctor Grundy’s Undies and the 2020 release Sir Singlet. She lives in Waiomu, north of Thames. 

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: 19 October 2021  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-94-0 | RRP $29.99

Paperback, 230 x 215 mm portrait, 96 pages, colour


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