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The latest in the New Zealand Collection

Closing Time: Photographs from the Hotel Kiwi, 1967-75 Gary Baigent, John Fields and Max Oettli

This is a fantastic slice of Auckland social life from the late sixties/early seventies. The legendary Hotel Kiwi – ‘The Kiwi’ – on Symonds Street drew in a lively crowd of bohemian students, artists and workers from the surrounding area, who are all captured here by three of the pioneers of the New Photography, including Max Oettli, former photography lecturer at Dunedin Art School, who worked at the Kiwi as a bartender after he graduated from Auckland University in 1969.

Floating Gold: a Natural (and Unnatural) History of AmbergrisChristopher Kemp

Former University of Otago biologist Chris Kemp tells the fascinating story of ambergris, a natural product formed in the gut of a sperm whale from the indigestible parts of the squid that forms its principal diet, and its use by humans as a fixative for perfume. Often found washed up on Southern beaches, ambergris is highly valuable (roughly $5000 per kg) which can cause a bit of a gold rush fever when large pieces turn up.

A Gentle Radical: the Life of Jeanette Fitzsimons Gareth Hughes

Dunedin-born Jeanette Fitzsimons was a trailblazing politician, becoming the world’s first Green Party MP to win an electorate race when she took the Coromandel seat in the 1999 election. Along with her co-leader Rod Donald she was widely viewed as one of the most principled and trustworthy politicians in the NZ parliament. Former Green MP Gareth Hughes, who took Fitzsimons’ place in the Green Party caucus when she retired, is her biographer.

I Am Autistic: an Interactive and Informative Guide to Autism (By Someone Diagnosed With It) Chanelle Moriah

Chanelle Moriah, who wasn’t diagnosed with autism till she was 21, decided to create this resource as a simple guide to autism and its impacts from an autistic person’s perspective. This is a great resource for people struggling to make sense of their experiences as it can be hard for autism to be assessed and diagnosed.

New Zealand Nurses: Caring For Our People 1880-1950 Pamela Wood

As we face a growing crisis in the nursing workforce in this country, and the government makes plans to attract more young people into nursing, it is perhaps timely to reflect on how the nursing profession first developed in New Zealand. Pamela Wood’s new book looks at the growth of a distinctive Kiwi nursing culture from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.

Robin White: Something is Happening Here Sarah Farrar, Jill Trevelyan and Nina Tonga

Robin White’s style is instantly recognisable and in iconic paintings like ‘Sam Hunt at the Portobello Pub’ and ‘Fish and Chips, Maketu’ she celebrated the small-town landscape of regional NZ. Produced by Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa, this book accompanies a major touring exhibition that looks back on over 50 years of her rich and varied career and features fresh perspectives on White’s work from 24 writers and interviewees.

Seeds of Life: the Bone Art of Bruce Mahalski Craig Hilton

Bruce Mahalski, proprietor of the wonderful Museum of Natural Mystery on Royal Terrace, has been making his extraordinary sculptures from animal and bird bones since 2005. He has been collecting them, as well as insects, shells, fossils and skulls, since he was a young boy. Mahalski’s art is an integral part of his environmental activism, and the art's relationship with nature is the major theme of this book by Craig Hilton.