by Dorothy on November 25, 2010 11:25 AM

A widely varied selection of books – adventure, cooking, history or children's stories -gives readers the chance to choose an appropriate Christmas gift for friends or a holiday treat for themselves.

The New Zealand Adventure Guide
By Shane Boocock

The New Zealand Adventure Guide

This clear and informative guide to adventure in New Zealand is written by Shane Boocock, a specialist writer on New Zealand travel since 1996.

Most people when asked what is possible for the adventure seeker in this country would suggest bungy jumping, surfing, rafting and climbing, but on consulting this book you will find that adventures include a far wider range of experiences and get guidance as to where to find them.

The types of adventures are set out in clearly defined categories.

Top Adventures
These are the author's personal choice of must-do adventures and include what he terms Multi-combo Adventures – visits to places where several adventures are offered in the one area, such as Abel Tasman, Waitomo, Queenstown and Nelson.

By the time you have read this section you will have begun to appreciate some of the special qualities of this book – clear descriptions of the place and the activity enriched by evocative accounts of the physical and emotional reactions of participants, and impressive photographs taken by the author himself. His special skill is his ability to capture the expression of enjoyment on the faces of people cycling, rafting or bungy jumping.

Other sections include:

  • Hanging About - Adventures on Line such as bungy jumping, flying fox, and swings.
  • Soaring – Adventures on High such as skydiving, hot air balloons, gliding and flying.
  • Rubber Soul – Adventures on Wheels including driving, biking, Blokarts and Shweebs.
  • Footloose – Adventures on Foot such as hiking, caving, climbing, skywalk and Zorbs
  • White Out – Adventures on Snow – choose from skiing, snowboarding. heli-skiing …
  • Saddle Up – Adventures on Horseback – wilderness horse riding.
  • Blue Water – Adventures out at Sea – sailing, scuba diving, surfing and many others.
  • Whitewater – Adventures on Lakes and Rivers including canoeing, kayaking and rafting.

If you don't know what is meant by Blokarts, Shweebs and Zorbs this book will make it clear for you.

Getting there and keeping safe
Directions and maps

Clear directions are given for locating any activities for which participants have to travel independently to the starting point, and inside the front and back covers there are clear uncluttered maps of the North and South Islands.

Emphasis on safety
Appropriately placed near the beginning of the book there is a discussion of general aspects of safety in the outdoors, and the topic is dealt with again with specific reference to ensuring safety in the different types of adventure.

Not just a book for would-be adventurers
This book provides interesting reading and a feast of photographs to enjoy, not only for those planning an adventure but also for armchair travellers such as I have now become.

Buy a copy to browse through and to put on your coffee table for visitors to enjoy.

ISBN 978-1-86966-277-6
New Holland Publishers (NZ) Ltd
RRP $45.00

A recipe book with a difference – Cooking with Charles Royal
By Charles Royal and Jenny Kaka Scott

Look at the stand in the bookshop which offers recipe books and you may be overwhelmed by the wealth of choice. If you are looking for a gift for someone who enjoys cooking something special and already has a collection of recipe books, this book on cooking written by a chef with a Maori heritage will open the door to new dishes and new and tempting flavours.

A recipe book with a difference – <em>Cooking with Charles Royal

In his introduction Charles Royal writes, "I became interested in creating indigenous culinary experiences after my uncle Hoppy Callaghan gave me a handful of pikopiko fern fronds and suggested I try to make something. It was an opportunity to bring together my army chef training, my interest in the world Slow Food movement with its focus on protecting traditional foods, my Maori heritage and the cooking tradition of my ancestors."

This book is intended as a beginner's guide to Maori food and how to prepare and cook kai from a hangi to making rewena bread, pikopiko pesto, fermented kumara or kawakawa meringues.

In 2004 Charles and his wife Tania set up a company called KINAKI NZ. Kinaki is a Maori word for condiment or accompaniment. The company is working to produce natural herbs and expand their use. In the introduction to the book Charles explains his philosophy and his initiatives to increase the use of the herbs for preparing food and drink and for healing.

The recipes, which are arranged in sections entitled starters, wild vegetables, mains and wild sweets, are clearly explained and illustrated with clear and impressive coloured photographs.

ISBN 9781869694180
Huia Publishers
RRP $45.00

Victoria Cross at Takrouna:
The Haane Manahi Story

By Paul Moon

Victoria Cross at Takrouna: The Haane Manahi Story

The title of this book describing it as a story is not to be interpreted as introducing light holiday reading. It offers serious reading in a well-researched account of Haane Manahi's life and the military involvement of the Maori Battalion in the campaigns in North Africa in World War 2.

Paul Moon is Professor of History at the Faculty of Maori Development, Te Ara Poutama, at Auckland University of Technology and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College, London. Dr Moon is well-known for his writing on New Zealand and Maori history, of biographies and on the Treaty of Waitangi, and he has worked on several Waitangi Tribunal claims.

The account of Manahi's family and heritage at Ohinemutu will enrich most readers' understanding of the importance of the family influence on the men whose valour contributed to the high reputation of the Maori Battalion.

The detailed descriptions of the campaigns in North Africa shed light on a crucial phase of World War 2 which is not highlighted as much for many readers as the war in Europe which has been the subject of so many films and books. The gruelling marches, the heat, the sandstorms, the fierce fighting against the skilled tactics of the German forces led by Field Marshal Rommel and the deaths of men in the Battalion were factors that contributed to its development into a battle-hardened unit.

Takrouna, a high rocky outcrop in Tunisia, was a strategic outpost for reconnaissance and control of the area. For the Allies capture of this stronghold was crucial. Colour photographs in the book give a clear picture of the difficulty of this assault.

In April 1943, Manahi led a small band of Maori soldiers up this 300-metre-high rocky outcrop. Under mortar and machine-gun fire, they captured this enemy stronghold though it was held by more than 300 Italian and German troops. This battle took a heavy toll of the soldiers in the Battalion. Paul Moon reports, "12 of its 17 officers were either killed or wounded, while 104 of its 302 other ranks were made casualties."

A field marshal and three generals recommended Manahi for the Victoria Cross (VC). It is not known why this recommendation was changed, and instead Manahi was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). In Paul Moon's view versions of the fighting which discredit Manahi and his men and may have influenced this decision leave out crucial information. So that readers can form their own view of the justice or injustice of this decision he gives a detailed account of the contemporary reports of the courageous fighting of Manahi and his small band of soldiers.

The closing section of the book covers Manahi's life until his death in 1986. It also reports that in October 2006 the New Zealand Minister of Defence announced that Manahi would be recognised by the presentation of an altar cloth, a personal letter from the Queen acknowledging his gallantry and a sword. He could not be awarded the Victoria Cross as King George VI had decreed in 1949 that no further awards from World War II should be made. Prince Andrew presented the award in Rotorua to Manahi's two sons, Rauawa and Geoffrey on 17 March 2007.

ISBN 9781869694203
Huia Publishers
RRP $45.00

Gecko Press children's books for Christmas

The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate
By Joy Cowley & illustrated by Sarah Davis

The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate

This enchanting book makes me wish that our grandchildren were still pre-schoolers, but the child within me makes me get great pleasure out of it myself. I shall put it with the other coffee table books to ensure that a range of adults have the chance to enjoy it and if they are looking for gifts for children they will be tempted to buy it. The story is simple, surprising and fun, and the vivid and imaginative illustrations tempt me to turn over the pages again and again.

Ages 3+ 230 x 240 mm 32 pages
Paperback $19.99
ISBN 978-1-87746-740-0
Hardback $32.99
ISBN 978-1-87746-740-7

Organ Music
By Margaret Mahy

Organ Music

Margaret Mahy is a name well known to anyone interested in children's books by New Zealand authors. At first after reading the Lion in the Meadow published in 1969 I associated her with books for young children characterised by highly imaginative plots and enjoyment in the use of invented and evocative language. However after reading The Haunting published in 1982 I gained an appreciation of her ability to write about the supernatural and build fantasy into a story that was recommended for teenagers but provided gripping reading for older readers too.

Organ Music is in the category of The Haunting and tells the story of two boys who steal a car which proves to have magic powers and takes them to a forest where a vicious doctor wants to take their body organs for transplant in people more worthy than two boys who have stolen a car.

This book would provide gripping holiday reading for older children.

ISBN: 978-1-87746-747-9
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Gecko Press
RRP $19.99

Total 1 comments

Displaying 1-1 of 1 result(s).
nice books
November 29, 2010 6:46 PM
demo says:
good Xmas present!

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