Tuesday, April 6, 2021

First Encounters memorably records the first impressions of Europeans in New Zealand

First Encounters: New Zealand 1642–1840 

Edited by Gordon Ell and Sarah Ell

Father-and-daughter authors Gordon Ell and Sarah Ell build on their impressive legacy of New Zealand books with First Encounters — the fourth in Oratia Book’s growing NZ Series.

This collaboration samples some of the amazing first impressions that Europeans formed when they landed in Aotearoa. 


They had no idea what they would find, and their journals are filled with wonder, curiosity and inevitable misunderstandings. 

First Encounters selects some of the key writings from these early traders, missionaries, explorers and surveyors. 


It covers nearly 200 years from Abel Tasman in 1642 and Joseph Banks in 1769, to early settlers such as John Logan Campbell in 1840 —in first-person accounts that preserve the English of the times.

The text is well illustrated with two-colour imagery and photos, alongside fact boxes explaining historical language, places and events.


The NZ Series now counts four titles, with the fifth, Matthew Wright’s The New Zealand Wars, to publish in July 2021. 

The series introduces New Zealand society, history, science and geography to general readers and students.

Click on these links to read about other titles in the series — Rush to Riches and Pioneer Women, and Volcanoes and Earthquakes.

The authors

Gordon Ell was a writer and publisher with a life-long interest in New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage. He wrote more than 30 books for adults and children during his distinguished career. He passed away last week, having just seen advance copies of his last book.

His daughter, Sarah Ell, is an editor, writer and journalist, who has written ten books, and inherited her father’s love of New Zealand history and the environment.

Publication: 8 April 2021  |  RRP $29.99  |  ISBN:  978-0-947506-90-2
Paperback, 240 x 160 mm, 108 pages, 2 colour

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