New Books from NZSA Members - Available now
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NZSA New Books List - November 2015

Congratulations to all those who have launched a book this month. Here's a selection of books that our members have sent in for the New Books Lists.

Claire Hill  New Books List Editor

Keen to submit your book for the next edition of the New Books List?  Please send to: Claire Hill
Deadline:  4 December.  Information about what you need to send in is explained on our website and at the bottom of this email.



A Memoir by Maria Hall

A spiritual journey into one of the world’s most secretive and controversial religious orders.

As a free-spirited university student, Maria’s life stretched before her like a wonderful adventure. It was New Zealand in the mid-seventies and Maria wanted to make music, serve the Lord and spread her wings far beyond the safe familiarity of her homeland.

Then, the unthinkable happened: a callous act resulting in an impossible choice that shaped the rest of her life. Heartbroken and in need of a miracle, Maria sought absolution as a Carmelite nun in the dark, silent cloisters of the Palmarian Catholic Church, one of the world’s most secretive and controversial religious orders.
This is the true story of one woman’s journey from the sweeping coastlines of New Zealand to the barren plains of Southern Spain, from youthful hope to deep despair, and from sin to reparation.

Available: Maria’s memoir ‘Reparation, a spiritual journey’ is available as an eBook through Amazon, and a print book through Amazon, Arcadia (Newmarket), Paradox (Devonport) and all good bookshops.
Author's Bio: Maria Hall was born into an Irish Catholic family in Auckland, New Zealand. After leaving school she completed a Bachelor of Music at Auckland University and a Diploma of Teaching at Auckland College of Education, before studying Theology and Scripture at Chanel Institute (Auckland) and Yarra Theological College (Melbourne, Australia). Her decision to enter the convent took her around the world. She now lives on Auckland’s North Shore with her partner, Nicholas.

Daughters of Messene

by Maggie Rainey-Smith

When almost 300 unmarried Greek women arrived in Wellington in the early 1960s, the established Greek community feared the scandal that might follow. Instead the women settled into life here and the event has largely been forgotten.

Inspired by this migration, Maggie Rainey-Smith’s powerful third novel Daughters of Messene, explores the complex interweaving of family and political events that caused one young woman to flee Greece after the Civil War, and half a century later motivated her daughter to return.

Available: via Makaro Press, Fishpond
Author's Bio: Maggie Rainey-Smith is a novelist, poet, short story writer, essayist and book reviewer. Her first novel ‘About turns’, a best seller, was the first New Zealand novel to be chosen by Whitcoulls as a Guaranteed Great Read. She has short stories, poetry and essays in journals and anthologies including  Landfall, Sport, Listener,  4th Floor Journal and Essential New Zealand Poems. In 2014 she was joint runner up for the Landfall essay competition.prize.

Shaky Places:

A song cycle of NZ poems for mixed voices

When is a book of songs worthy of inclusion in the NZSA New Books List? When the songs are fresh and new, when they are built on a meaningful sequence of New Zealand poems, when the poems have pride of place and the book is lovingly crafted. 
Individually these songs vary from playful to profound, from comic to tragic. As an integrated work, Shaky Places tenderly explores our particular world — fragile, volatile, and beautiful. The poets are Jenny Bornholdt, Bub Bridger, Lauris Edmond, Riemke Ensing, Marewa Glover, Dinah Hawken, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Sam Hunt, Bill Manhire, Rachel McAlpine, Greg O'Brien, Robert Sullivan and Brian Turner
Composer Felicia Edgecombe is the Musical Director of Capital Choir, Wellington. Editor Rachel McAlpine is a poet and the author of novels, poetry and non-fiction. She sings soprano in Capital Choir.
Order Shaky Places ($25 + postage) from


by Helen Waaka

Beneath a range of mountains lies the rural town of Waitapu. Here, sisters Ruby and Rowena reconnect, Mereata feels the breath of her tipuna and Harriet goes missing from the rest home. With a cast of vibrant characters, this collection of 18 short stories cracks open the image of rural tranquillity, to reveal the heartbreak and kindness of everyday lives.
 ‘The weather in Waitapu can be moody too, mimicking the river in its sulkiness. At those unsettled times, the townspeople become edgy. Past wrongs surface, tempers fray, mothers worry and fathers drink more than they should…’
Available: from bookstores throughout New Zealand or from Escalator Press. E books will also be available on Amazon and Kobo.
Author's Bio: Helen Waaka, ( Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Torehina ) completed a Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing at Whitireia in 2011. In the same year she won the best short story in English section of the Pikihuia awards with ‘Hineraumati’.

In 2012 she was awarded a New Zealand Society of Authors mentorship and in 2013 she received a highly commended award in the Novel Extract section of the Pikihuia Awards with ‘Eva’. She has had a total of five short stories published in the Huia 9,10 and 11 anthologies. Helen works part time as a nurse in Hawke’s Bay.


by Mike Johnson and Jenn Rackham

Poet Mike Johnson and artist Jenn Rackham come together to explore this great mystery.
To be read aloud for pleasure or used as an early reader. Taniwha will delight both young and old. 
Available: on or at the Book Launch on 14 Nov at the Waiheke Community Library, 131-133 Ocean View Road, Oneroa, 2-3pm. 
Author's Bio: Mike Johnson is a poet and novelist who lives on Waiheke Island, where there are lots of Taniwha. He also teaches Creative Writing at AUT University and tries to keep up with his four children.

Illustrator: Jennifer Rackham started illustrating to bring her stories to life in form of web-comics. She has her work published in Japan and online. She loves cats, superheroes and hitting giant drums. 

Backwards into the Future

by Bronwyn Elsmore

Everyone knows you can’t go back. Everyone except Mary apparently, because here she is – back in her old hometown. That’s because of two women – Kui and Ana.
One of them is pushing her, the other is holding back, and between the two there’s much to be resolved.
The plum tree and the manuka have gone, but a lemon tree thrives. The mystery of the Marakihau may never be solved; but if Ana returns, their friendship and some things from the past can be recovered. Can’t they?
“I love Every Five Minutes from the same Author, and am delighted to find this book shows her beautiful writing just as well. The characters are very real and there’s a similar delicate touch to the prose. Bronwyn Elsmore has a real gift for saying just enough without too much. Backwards Into the Future is a novel with the feel of a memoir about it – I find the combination very appealing.” – J.M.
Available:  some bookshops; direct from flaxroots Academy Book Company All Books Total Library Solutions Wheelers 

Author's Bio: When carried away on a flight of fancy, Bronwyn Elsmore might say that if she’d been gifted with a better voice, she might have chosen to be an opera singer. Sadly for her, that wasn’t the case, but luckily she found she could write. A list of awards seems to confirm that. 

Throughout her writing career Bronwyn has written over a wide variety of genres – articles, short stories, poetry, stage-plays, fiction and non-fiction. Since that didn’t pay many bills, along the way she spent many years as an academic. Currently, though, she spends most of her writing time on fiction. When she’s not writing? You might spot her feeding neighbourhood and stray cats, or possibly adding to the list of countries visited to date.

Bronwyn is a fifth generation New Zealander. She grew up in a small town quite like the one at the centre of Backwards Into the Future. 

Whose Beak is This?

by Gillian Candler

This picture book encourages children to guess the identity of iconic New Zealand birds from the pictures of their beaks, while finding out some facts about the birds along the way. This fun approach introduces an important science concept about adaptation – birds’ beaks are a very obvious adaptation to the kind of food they eat. Being encouraged to look closely at the pictures teaches observation skills and helps children realise how diverse bird species are. Beautifully illustrated by Fraser Williamson.
Available: from publishers Potton & Burton and good bookshops around New Zealand
Author’s Bio: Gillian Candler is a former teacher and publisher, turned author. Her first book “At the Beach: explore and discover the New Zealand seashore” won the Elsie Locke Medal for Non-Fiction in the 2013 Lianza Children’s Book Awards. Gillian writes children’s non-fiction which is inspired by her experiences volunteering in conservation projects and her adventures in wild places. 


by Wendy Scott

“Did Ancient Egyptians visit Australia?” 13 year old TC has a secret. No one knows she possesses a supernatural power. Can TC help her Uncle Max, an archaeologist; unearth enough evidence that Ancient Egyptians visited Australia, before he’s discredited in the media by those that want the past to stay buried? 

“Some would say that I have a gift, but to me it’s always been a curse. Before I changed my mind, I tugged off my gloves and whipped my head left and right, checking to see that no one was watching. I sucked in breath and steadied my nerves then thrust my hands against the stones and touched one of the cartouches. Time and place ripped away.”
Available: Ebook available on Amazon. Print copies available from RealNZBooks / CopyPress. Print copies available from authorl
Author's Bio: Wendy Scott has a NZ Certificate in Science (Chemistry), which allows her to dabble with fuming potions and strange substances, satisfying her inner witch. Wendy writes adult fantasy as Wendy Scott and children’s stories as WJ Scott. In 2012 Hieroglyph was selected by NZSA for one of five mentorships (mentor author Anna McKenzie). For a full list of Wendy’s books please visit


by Kath Beattie

Art in a myriad of forms, is the focus at Artsenta, a supportive studio which had its beginnings at Cherry Farm Psychiatric Hospital (Otago) in the 1980s. The brain child of Dr Julia Aranui-Faed this 'art-for-arts-sake' space has weathered 30 years and continues today as a vibrant creative place  in the heart of Dunedin.

This lively historical account traces the history of those whose leadership and vision has successfully met the differing needs during three decades of major changes in the health system and in society.
Available: (or good book shops!) or write to Creative Arts Trust, PO Box 5986, Dunedin 9058. Price $25 plus $5 p&p

Author's Bio: Kath Beattie has published several children's readers and stories (in NZ and Australia) including two in the Scholastic My Story series (Gumdigging and Cyclone Bola), self published an adult book on grief (Walking Backwards Into Your Future) and a novel ( Charged With Man's Laughter), had several short stories published and/or broadcast, had several poems published plus other articles and essays. She lives in Dunedin.

How to Grow an Addict

by J.A. Wright

She Writes Press (USA/Int) Toad Ltd (NZ print)

Randall Grange has been tricked into admitting herself into a treatment center, and she doesn’t know why. She’s not a party hound like the others in her therapy group—but then again, she knows she can’t live without pills or booze. Raised by an alcoholic father, a detached mother, and a loving aunt and uncle, Randall is a misfit who both loves and hates her life. Introduced as a child to the miraculous effects of booze and drugs and a regular user by age fifteen, her young adult years have been filled with bad choices. By the time she’s twenty-three years old, she’s a full-blown drug addict—and in more trouble than she’s ever known was possible. Now Randall has to decide: Keep going the way she’s going, or start a new life?
Available: NZ bookshops via Nationwide Distributors, AmazonFishpond 
Author's Bio: J.A. (Jodi) Wright was raised in the Seattle area and moved to Christchurch in 1990 with her young family. As a professional promoter and festival producer, she’s responsible for the creation and establishment of an array of festivals and events, including the World Buskers Festival and the NZ Jazz and Blues Festival. She’s been crafting this novel for years.  

The Girl Who Stole Stockings

by Elsbeth Hardie

On 8th April 1811 the ship Friends sailed from England carrying 101 female convicts bound for the penal colony of New South Wales.  Their crimes ranged from pickpocketing to murder.  Young Susannah Noon had tried to steal four pairs of cotton stockings, worth 10s, from a shop in Colchester.  It earned her a sentence of seven years  'beyond the seas'.  
When the Friends arrived there were only 100 women living in New South Wales who had not landed as convicted felons. Susannah and her shipmates became members of a new and unique society as New South Wales was transforming itself from penal outpost to thriving colony.  In uncovering their stories, the book provides a little-known factual account of the 'open prison’ convict system of the Macquarie era and how these women fared within it.   
Susannah was the only one of the Friends women to move on to another new life in New Zealand, living in a whaling station before the arrival of the country’s first organised colonists. There, she was a first-hand witness to the events that led to the fight at the Wairau between the New Zealand Company and Te Rauparaha and his followers. She may have been the first female emancipist from across the Tasman to settle in the South Island.
The Girl Who Stole Stockings, with 55 pages of largely primary sourced references, provides a rich reservoir of information for New Zealanders and Australians who are interested in their colonial history. 
Available: Leading booksellers throughout New Zealand and Australia
Author's Bio: First time book author Elsbeth Hardie is a former journalist and public relations consultant. She is a graduate of the inaugural Creative Writing degree course at the University of Auckland.  She lives in Remuera, Auckland, and maintains strong ties to the South Island where she was born and grew up.  Elsbeth travelled to England, Australia and the South Island to research material for this book.

Tantric Mountain

by Bradley Hook

Matt Renshaw returns home from his daily run up Montana Roja, a volcano on the island of Tenerife. He opens the door of his cheap, rented apartment to discover people inside and a life he does not recognise. His new girlfriend is flawless, he has written a bestselling novel and, for the first time in years, there is money in his bank account. 
Matt’s dreams have come true but he remains obsessed with Katya, the love of his previous life. Terrified of returning to his past yet unable to maintain the façade of who he is supposed to be, he loses his new girlfriend, Lynn, and finds himself unable to complete a follow-up novel. Embroiled in confusion, jealousy and the familiar darkness of binge drinking, Matt follows his heart, pursuing Katya and the torment she always brings. 
Availability: Available on Kindle, iBooks and Amazon (paperback). Copies will be distributed via selected NZ bookstores. Visit for more information about the book.
Author’s Bio: Bradley Hook's adventures have been widely published in a range of international travel magazines. His first book Surfing Life Waves was released in 2012. After a lifetime spent searching for a place to call home, Bradley now resides with his partner, artist and writer, Evgeniya Ignatova, and their daughter, Anastasia Summer, in Mount Maunganui. 

A Fear of Drowning

by Murray Clapshaw

Lou Blow, a failed teacher, has come to Piwai, a seaside settlement on the city outskirts to make a new start. Something about the place grips him immediately. He senses a mystery, an unease which he relates to its earlier history, to increasing urbanisation, and then specifically to a woman gone missing presumed drowned.  Dora Moon comes to represent for him the spirit of the place - everything that he senses is unsettled, unresolved.  He is drawn in. In his search to find answers he gets to know the locals and learns more about village life than is comfortable for him. His safety is at risk as he becomes increasingly involved. Several deaths ensue. Finally he learns the truth about Dora Moon.

Along the way he has been forced to confront his own past. He has come to terms with a difficult relationship with his sister and their spiritualist background. He has faced his nemesis, Billy Twohill, the disturbed boy whose murder he could have prevented. He has coped with Dolly Matt an old woman whose dabblings in the occult have had evil consequences. He has confronted the local Mr Big. And he has learned to be at peace with himself.
Available: as an ebook on Kindle.

Author’s Bio: The writer has lived more than thirty years in a small community and is a fascinated student of local politics. The complexity of relationships in the fishbowl magnified under the pressures of urbanisation provide drama enough for a life’s work. He has been writing for many years and a number of his short stories have been published in Landfall. A radio play has also been broadcast. His desire is to write for the reader who looks for some depth of characterisation and an interesting thesis. 

How to Make Cheese

with Jean Mansfield

Cheesemaker, teacher and judge Jean Mansfield spends her life carefully guiding complete beginners to cheesemaking through the little tips and tricks that lead to great cheeses every time.

Making cheese is easy, and great value. You can create your own artisan cheeses for about a quarter of the cost of buying them. A luxury blue Stilton is $100 a kilo at the supermarket; make your own and it’s around $20.

Jean guides you step-by-step, explaining how to get started, with a special section for those on a budget. There are detailed descriptions of the processes so you can make cheese successfully, but if the worst happens, she explains why it probably went wrong.

The 50 recipes for artisan cheeses start with the very easy, like 30-minute mozzarella and half-hour halloumi to the more spectacular aged cheeses like parmesan and cheddar, a selection of blues and Swiss cheeses, and amazing washed rind beauties.

Available:,, or it can be ordered from book stores. Publisher: Little Cottage Farm Ltd. Price: $49.95

Author's bio: Jean Mansfield is a long-time cheesemaker who specialises in teaching cheesemaking to beginners, plus she's a national judge at the NZ Cheese Awards. She and husband Dave run a Jersey-only dairy farm just outside Waihi, and spend a couple of months each year travelling the world, visiting and learning from top cheesemakers. She is also a columnist for NZ Lifestyle Block magazine, and has previously written two special magazine publications on cheesemaking.

Lillibutt’s Australian Adventure

by Maris O'Rourke and Claudia Pond Eyley

Duck Creek Press, 2015

After her travels through France, Spain and New Zealand Lillibutt is now in Australia. She and her friend Moana are visiting Myilly, a Bininj girl. Following a dream of Myilly’s sent by an ancestor they travel from Kakadu in the North to Uluru - the heart of Australia in the red centre. Traveling by foot, truck, the Ghan train, Flying Doctor’s plane and kangaroo they have many adventures en route. The trio overcome some scary challenges with crocodiles, dingoes, snakes and feral camels. A charming tale of perseverance that also gives the reader a look at Australia, her interesting people, wild animals and difficult terrain.

Lillibutt’s Australian Adventure required a year of negotiations with Ngāpuhi and five different Aboriginal groups. They have made some necessary changes and given it their stamp of approval. This is the third Lillibutt book by Maris and Claudia, following the successful Lillibutt’s Big Adventure, published by Duck Creek Press in 2012 and Lillibutt’s Te Araroa Adventure in 2014.

Author's Bio: Maris O'Rourke is a former Secretary for Education for New Zealand and the first Director of Education for The World Bank. She has worked in, or on, education in up to 50 developing countries. She is also an accomplished poet and her first collection Singing With Both Throats was published by David Ling Publishing in 2013. She lives and works in Mt Eden in Auckland.

Visual artist, painter, printmaker, film director, Claudia Pond Eyley was born in Matamata, and attended schools in Montreal, Canada and New York. She returned to New Zealand to attend the School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in the mid-1960s and continues to work from her studio in Mt Eden. Her acclaimed documentary Helen about Prime Minister Helen Clark has been followed up with Helen Clark: Inside Stories co-authored with Dan Salmon and published by Auckland University Press in 2015.

In the Bush

by Gillian Candler

Explore and discover New Zealand’s native forests is the fourth title in the popular and award-winning ‘explore & discover’ series. The successful author and illustrator combination of Gillian Candler and Ned Barraud, turn their attention to the New Zealand bush and its iconic animals and plants. Young readers will be fascinated to learn more about familiar creatures as well as discover other intriguing plants and animals and see how they relate to each other in the forest ecosystem. Learn about pests and other dangers to our native wildlife and catch a glimpse of animals and plants that thrive in wildlife sanctuaries.

Available: from publishers Potton & Burton and good bookshops around New Zealand
Author’s Bio: Gillian Candler is a former teacher and publisher, turned author. Her first book “At the Beach: explore and discover the New Zealand seashore” won the Elsie Locke Medal for Non-Fiction in the 2013 Lianza Children’s Book Awards. Gillian writes children’s non-fiction which is inspired by her experiences volunteering in conservation projects and her adventures in wild places.

Helen had a Sister

by Penelope Haines

She’s Helen of Troy’s older sister. She’s a Spartan Princess. She’s High Queen of Mycenae. Her name is Clytemnestra.
In a world where women are submissive, she rules.
In a world where wives are loyal, she is unfaithful
In a world where honour and blood feuds abound she exacts the ultimate revenge.
An adventurous princess from a famous family, Nestra ‘s courageous spirit, passionate love and lust for life mark her as a unique heroine.  From Homer’s Iliad comes the story of one woman’s fight for her family, her kingdom and her own survival.  

Available: as an e-book or as a paperback from Paperback copies may be purchased from Paper Plus or Unity Books. Also available from the public library. Either format is available for purchase directly from the author.
Size:  6 x 9, RRP  $NZ 31.99

Author's Bio: After a childhood spent in India and Pakistan, Penelope trained as a nurse, without fully considering that a brisk default attitude of "pull yourself together and stop whining" might not be an ideal pre-requisite for the industry. Conceding at last that nurturing might not be her dominant characteristic, she changed career path and after graduating with a BA (Hons) in English Literature, moved into management consultancy which better suited her personality type. 

After some years of family life she worked as a commercial pilot and flight instructor, spending her days ferrying clients into strips in the Marlborough Sounds and discouraging students from killing her as she taught them to fly. She is currently working on the first of a whodunnit series based on her experiences as a pilot. Helen Had A Sister is her second novel. 

Sorrow Also Sings

by Nix Whittaker

Ramon had always played with the dark side of life. He was just lucky he was able to channel it into being an Agent for Panacea city. He thought he had left his past in the past, where it belonged. But a long-lost brother and an old evil are about to complicate his life. 

Freya wants an uncomplicated life. Since she has decided to thwart a corrupt city politician, she isn’t about to send away the dangerous but handsome Agent. Even if he has complication written all over him. 

Are they going to be able to face their past and embrace complications to bring down one of the most powerful men in the city before he can bury them both?
Available: at
Author's Bio: Born in South Africa Nix Whittaker moved to New Zealand as a young teenager. Fascinated with the world of Fantasy and Science Fiction she consumed them all through her childhood and into her adulthood. When she ran out of books to read she was forced to start writing books just to feed her voracious need to read.
Now living and writing in New Zealand, her second home, she lives with her cats and dog in a picturesque rural setting. Where she can write to her heart's content.

The Journey Within

by Imre Vallyon

A print compilation from the popular Spiritual Path Series of ebooks by Imre Vallyon. It offers the spiritual seeker an accessible yet comprehensive introduction to the Universal Spiritual Teaching, stressing the need for right understanding while walking the Spiritual Path in today s world.

In The Journey Within, author Imre Vallyon discusses with clarity the big topics that are commonly encountered by the spiritual aspirant: the inner nature of our being and the cosmos; the importance of reconnecting with our higher nature through meditation; what happens after death; how to work with the law of Karma; the importance of developing love and wisdom in our lives; and why not all spiritual paths have the same end result.  Living a more spiritual life is a challenge in a world so focused on material things, but this book offers a system of guidance and right knowledge from the perception of Higher Consciousness so that the reader may be inspired and prepared for the Inner Journey.
Available: at all good bookstores, all major online bookstores and 
Author's Bio: Imre Vallyon was born in Budapest, Hungary, and emigrated to New Zealand at the age of sixteen. Since 1980 he has dedicated his life to teaching the Wisdom Science through his extensive writings and through workshops and retreats conducted around the world. 

Vallyon’s extraordinary knowledge of human spirituality is derived not from scholarly research, but issues forth from his own Interior Realization. He spans the full spectrum of human experience: reaching through time, illuminating the great Spiritual Teachings and Sacred Languages of our planetary history while pointing the way to the future. His writing is universal, not biased towards any particular religion or tradition.

Imre Vallyon was awarded first place in the prestigious Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust Awards, as well as a gold medal in the 2009 Living Now Awards, for the four-volume spiritual treatise Heavens & Hells of the Mind. 

The Time of Our Lives

by Judith Anne Crews

This is an historical collection of stories about 10 women who were educated in New Zealand in the 1950’s or earlier.  The stories were created from interviews and the collection is presented with several high quality photographs, past and present. They show how different it was for girls at that time, and unless parents were very forward thinking, education for girls was not a high priority. 

I posed the question to myself – to what extent had my educational experiences influenced the decisions regarding my own three daughters’ education?  Did girls in those days have dreams and aspirations beyond marriage and children?   Writing the collection became a journey of discovery and catharsis for me.

Available:  through Wheelers and my website:, or directly from publisher, Issey Tate Publishing, 33 Oban Rd, Browns Bay, Auckland.  Price $25 plus p&p

Author’s Bio: Since my retirement, I have had time to dedicate to formalising my writing by pursuing my interest in documenting the real life stories of New Zealand women and their place in the history of this country.  There are many fascinating stories out there that will be lost unless they are committed to the written word.

New Books List Submission Requirements:

Are you an NZSA member? Like to feature your new book in the New Books List? Please email the following to Claire Hill
  1. A JPG image: The book's front cover (we don't need back cover). And jpg only please - the software we use won't accept anything else.
  2. A Blurb: 1-2 brief paragraphs about the book. (Max 200 words)
  3. Available: Don't forget to include relevant information about where your book can be purchased. If your book is available to purchase online, include the html links.
  4. Author's Bio: A brief paragraph about the author (Max 150 words) A broad strokes description of who and what you are. A bio is usually written in third person and isn't a full CV - just the edited highlights. NB: A link to your website or CV isn't a bio! And please do a final read and spell check before you send!
Next Deadline: 4 December 2015
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