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

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