Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Rongoā Māori shines through bilingual Nanny Mihi story

Nanny Mihi’s Medicine/Ngā Rongoā a Nanny Mihi

Melanie Drewery

Illustrated by Suzanne Simpson

Translated by Kanapu Rangitauira

Nanny Mihi returns in the third book of the popular series to teach rongoā Māori and connect her grandkids with nature

The upsurge in public interest in traditional Māori medicine (rongoā Māori) and her own lifestyle close to nature on the Nelson coast led author Melanie Drewery instinctively to the theme of her newest book in the Nanny Mihi series for children.

So when the grandchildren arrive for the school holidays with colds, Nanny leads them to the forest and garden to find remedies — kawakawa for tea, mānuka for the bath, koromiko for headaches, and cabbage tree leaves for cuts and scratches.


By the time they’re well, Nanny is tired and scratched from their foraging — and the kids know just what she needs!

A spread of information follows the story, giving details about the medicines growing around us. 

Nanny Mihi’s Medicine/Ngā Rongoā o Nanny Mihi features a new illustration style by Suzanne Simpson. It’s also the first in the series to be fully bilingual, with sparkling reo Māori text by Rotorua-based translator Kanapu Rangitauira. 


The authors

Melanie Drewery (Ngāti Mutunga) works as a potter and writer from her home in Mapua, Nelson. She is an established children’s writer with over 20 titles to her name, including Nanny Mihi and the Rainbow and Nanny Mihi and the Bellbird.

Suzanne Simpson is an artist who has illustrated numerous picture books and educational texts for children. She lives with her family in Titirangi, Auckland. 

Kanapu Rangitauira (Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Te Whakatōhea) is a registered translator and teacher of te reo. He lives with his whānau in Rotoiti, Rotorua.

Publication: 15 June 2022  |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004211-9 | RRP $19.99

Paperback, 230 x 215 mm portrait, 32 pages, colour


Friday, June 10, 2022

Sharing the essentials of carving pounamu

Greenstone Carving

Techniques and Concepts in Pounamu 

Len Gale

The late Len Gale was not only a superb craftsman in many materials, but also a teacher who had the gift of explaining creative processes in simple terms. 

That shines through in this smart edition of his much-appreciated introduction to the art of greenstone carving, which had been out of print but still in demand for the past 20 years.

Greenstone Carving takes readers from the origins of pounamu/ greenstone through the basics of the artform — elements of design, essential tools and techniques, stone types and safety. 

Len guides readers through steps from making basic holes and discs to the creation of popular Māori designs such as hei tiki, toki, pekapeka, mere and hei matau. 

The text is accompanied by detailed drawings and photos,  enhanced by images of superb finished work from the Moko Pounamu studio, Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

This new book joins an expanding range of Māori craft books from Oratia, including Hirini Moko Mead's Te Whatu Tāniko: Tāniko Weaving Technique and Tradition and Te Toi Whakairo: The Art of Māori Carving.

The Author

Len Gale spent a lifetime committed to arts and crafts. After a varied career as a railway engineer, high-school teacher and artist, he devoted his later years to sharing and documenting aspects of his work, including in four books: Greenstone Carving, Wood Carving, Creative Metal and Technology Basics. Len passed away in 2016 at the age of 89.

Publication Date: 15 June 2022 |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004216-4 |  RRP $39.99
Paperback, 270 x 185 mm portrait, 32 pages colour

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Oratia Books Catalogue 2022 — opening borders, opening books

The Oratia Books Catalogue 2022 is out now in print and digital form. 

We fly the Koru Flag on the cover, in homage to its creator Friedensreich Hundertwasser, whose story we'll publish this July in Hundertwasser in New Zealand.

Alongside that deluxe book, this year's catalogue presents more than a dozen new titles across children's and non-fiction genres, along with some significant reprints.

Flying the Koru Flag reflects our desire to embrace the world and new ideas, now that the movement of people and ideas across borders is resuming following pandemic closures.

As ever, this year's programme and our other activities couldn't happen without the incredible authors and illustrators who put their hearts and souls into the books, supported by our talented editors, designers, sales reps and marketers. 

Special thanks to Cheryl Smith and Alessandra Zecchini for the catalogue design and content, and Christine Borra and her team at YourBooks for the fine print job. 

The catalogue introduction follows; click here to view or download the PDF. To request a print copy, please email info@oratia.co.nz

As pandemic restrictions start to ease, Oratia embraces the world in 2022. The Koru Flag, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser as an alternative New Zealand flag, flies in our forest. We will honour this global spirit this year by publishing the story of the artist’s life in New Zealand.

Despite Covid-19 challenges, our international commitment remains undimmed, and was rewarded with the BOP Bologna Prize 2021 for Best Children’s Publisher, Oceania. In that spirit, this year’s children’s list includes the Kiwi–Turkish collaboration The Water Bottle; a blend of Māori, Pākehā and Indian heritage in The River in our Backyardand wide cultural diversity in The Grandmothers of Pikitea Street.

An arts and crafts focus extends from Hundertwasser in New Zealand to a celebration of the great artist Selwyn Muru, and a new edition of Len Gale’s Greenstone Carving. Artist and writer Richard Wolfe reflects on human impact in Footprints on the Land, and our New Zealand Classics edition of A.W. Reed’s Illustrated Māori Dictionary revives Roger Hart’s timeless drawings.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the international hit I Need a New Bum!, September will see a te reo Māori edition. The Bum series rocks on — the fourth, My Bum is SO CHEEKY!, entered bestseller lists in the UK and US early this year. And there’ll be more irreverent fun for kids with the riotous rugby rhymes of Peter Millett’s Hickory Dickory Kick.

Sandra Carrod’s Weather and Climate New Zealand adds a sixth book to The NZ Series, alongside teacher resources to support the series in schools. Also for students or general readers, The Moana Oceania series will introduce Polynesian cultures in English and local languages, thanks to support from Creative New Zealand.

Whoever and wherever you are in the world, we welcome you to find a home with Oratia Books.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Remembering those whose lives were shaped by war

The approach of Anzac Day signals a time to remember the millions of people who were affected by twentieth-century wars, and those whose lives and lands are still ravaged by invasion and civil conflict. 

Oratia Books has a firm commitment to telling the stories of New Zealanders at war, not to glorify the events but better to understand and learn from the experience. 

Children's books such as When Dad Came Home touchingly retell the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on returning soldiers, and the role of family love in healing. 

Creating reconciliation and friendship from the shared experienced of Gallipoli is the theme  of our latest children's book, The Water Bottle, a collaboration between Kiwi author Philippa Werry and Turkish illustrator Burak Akbay.

For older readers, the most recent of Christopher Pugsley's masterful works of military history narrates New Zealand's last battle of the First World War as it happens. Le Quesnoy 1918 is an on-the-ground account of this daring capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy, vividly relating the realities of warfare. 

A valuable companion to Pugsley's new edition of Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story, Matthew Wright's The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front analyses what it was like for New Zealand soldiers at the two main battle fronts where they fought, and frames it with the social effects back home.

We will remember them this 25 April. 

For more reading, check the Oratia Books website.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

New edition of standard history of Gallipoli reflects major revision of official numbers

First published in 1984, Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story is a key work in the nation's history.

In the words of the NZ Listener, Christopher Pugsley's first book 'recast our vision of the iconic campaign and simultaneously redefined the art of military-history writing in New Zealand.'

From the initial Hodder & Stoughton publication, editions have followed from Sceptre Paperbacks, Reed Books (NZ) and Penguin Books, before Oratia issued the fifth edition in 2014 in a co-edition with British publisher Frontline Books. 

The book has become a definitive account of New Zealand's role in the disastrous 1915 campaign, when a British-led expeditionary force met the Turkish army in an attempt to wrest control of the Dardanelles. 

This sixth edition builds on a revision of New Zealand troop numbers at Gallipoli by scholars including the late Richard Stowers, David Green, John Crawford and Matthew Buck. 

In his preface to the new edition, Pugsley notes the conclusion of this research is 'that some 16,000–17,000 New Zealanders served on the Peninsula in the campaign, doubling the previously used official figure.'

In light of this and other new work, he has made extensive updates to the book, while retaining its engaging style and extensive photos.

Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story takes us to the campaign through the eyes of the soldiers — ordinary Kiwis whose memories speak through their letters and diaries. 

Gallipoli does justice to the reality of this pivotal campaign for New Zealand and provides the background story to Anzac Day.

The national memorial day marks the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915 by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) troops.

'Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story has become the ‘go-to’ text on Gallipoli’ 

— Sir Jerry Mateparae

The Author

A retired Lieutenant-Colonel in the New Zealand Army, Christopher Pugsley was a lecturer in military studies here, in Australia and the UK. Among his many books are four others with Oratia: The Anzac ExperienceTe Hokowhitu a TuThe Camera in the Crowd  and Le Quesnoy 1918. He is historical director of the ‘Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War’ exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, which has now been extended to 2025. A frequent visitor and guide to Gallipoli, Chris lives with his wife in Waikanae Beach.

Publication Date: 8 April 2022 |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-07-0 |  RRP $49.99
Paperback, 240 x 170 mm portrait, 400 pages b&w, 60 photos

Sunday, April 3, 2022

New picture book The Water Bottle honours the Turkish-New Zealand bond forged at Gallipoli

The Water Bottle

Philippa Werry, illustrated by Burak Akbay

Kiwi author and Turkish illustrator join to create children’s book that fosters the bond forged at Gallipoli

It’s cause for hope when countries that were at war can transcend that enmity, even when separated by thousands of kilometres.

That is what New Zealand and Turkey share — a deep friendship that is commemorated each 25 April on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

The Water Bottle not only celebrates that friendship but was born from it — with Kiwi children’s author Philippa Werry working across the globe with Turkish illustrator Burak Akbay to tell a tale that crosses the Gallipoli trenches. 

Young girl Derya and her family move from Turkey to live in New Zealand. Among the heirlooms they bring with them is the water bottle that an Anzac soldier gave her great-grandfather after he had been wounded from Gallipoli.

At school she learns that her classmate Tom had a great-great-uncle who fought at Gallipoli. 

Together with their friend Airini they  learn about the war, attend an Anzac Day ceremony, then come home to make Anzac biscuits with Tom’s mum. 

‘Look at the three of us,’ Airini says. ‘Many years ago our families fought each other, but now we can be friends.

The Water Bottle was created between Turkey and New Zealand via email, Zoom and file sharing. 

Oratia Books in Auckland thanks Philippa and Burak for their amazing work; Göksun Bayraktar and Nazlı Gürkaş of The Black Cat Agency, Istanbul, who shared the initial idea and made it happen; and author Christopher Pugsley for his advice.

The Authors

Philippa Werry is an award-winning author of books for children, both fiction and non-fiction. She is well known for history books including Anzac Day and Best Mates. She lives with her family in Wellington (see https://philippawerry.co.nz). 

Burak Akbay is a prominent illustrator and designer of children’s books who lives in Istanbul, Turkey. From his origins in creating comic fanzines, he now illustrates books full-time and loves comics, graphic novels and film noir.

Publication Date: 5 April 2022 |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004215-7 |  RRP $22.99
Paperback, 270 x 210 mm portrait, 32 pages colour

Monday, March 7, 2022

My Bum is SO CHEEKY! now in bookstores across NZ


The latest in the hit ’Bum’ series by Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird is now available in bookstores across New Zealand, after an initial exclusive sales period.

Back by popular demand — after total global sales over 1.5 million copies for previous books in the series — the hero of I Need a New Bum! , I’ve Broken my Bum!  and My Bum is SO NOISY!  finds a range of new crack-up scenarios in a new adventure for 2022.  

My Bum is SO CHEEKY!  finds our boy coping with a super-active bum that just can’t sit still. It’s jiving and dancing and bumping (and, of course, issuing more than the odd fart!). 

Then there’s slouching, puddle jumping, swinging, singing, and finally some shape-shifting and it’s stuck down the back of a chair! 

Mum and Dad come to the rescue: they pull their boy out of the chair and buy the perfect thing to harness their boy’s talents – a trampoline. Before long he’s trampolining for gold at the Olympics! 
Dawn McMillan’s catchy rhymes and Ross Kinnaird’s outrageous illustrations get even the most reluctant readers turning the pages.

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 Date: 7 March 2022 |  ISBN: 978-1-99-004212-6 |  RRP $19.99
Paperback, 230 x 215 mm, 32 pages colour

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

My Bum is SO CHEEKY! is published worldwide


The latest in the hit ’Bum’ series by Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird is out now in multiple editions worldwide

My Bum is SO CHEEKY! is published in a striking pink edition in New Zealand and Australia, sports a bright red cover for the UK and Europe (published by Scholastic UK), and bask in a green cover with the title My Butt is SO SILLY! in North America (with Dover Books). 

This irresistible tale of a boy whose bum has a life of its own will entertain readers from pre-school to primary age, not to mention raising a smile for the adults too. 

Available in New Zealand through Whitcoulls, then on general release from 7 March. 

The US edition and the series featuring on Dover's website ...

.. and recommended by Scholastic UK's Book Club

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