New Sea-land

Book cover of New Zealanders and the sea (click to see a larger image)

Just in time for New Zealand Book Month (and early Christmas shopping), Te Ara’s new book, New Zealanders and the sea, has hit the shops.

New Zealand’s 18,000-kilometre coastline is the seventh-longest of any country, and nowhere is more than 130 kilometres from the coast – so it’s not surprising that most New Zealanders have a strong relationship with the sea. The ancestors of Māori, and of most Pākehā, arrived here by sea; exports and imports are still largely dependent on sea ports.

New Zealanders and the sea looks at the ways we have engaged with the sea, using it for transport and for economic gain, as a source of food – and, of course, as a place for recreation and holidays. Based on entries from Te Ara’s Earth, Sea and Sky theme, New Zealanders and the sea takes in everything from castaways to the fishing industry to marine conservation to Tangaroa, Māori god of the sea.

There are stories of flocks of sheep driven along the beach or transported by sea; of the isolated lives of lighthouse keepers and their families; of Māori methods of fishing and storing the catch; of the appropriate attire to wear to the beach, and how that’s changed over time; of Nola and Berry Edwards and their shell-encrusted car.

And – like Te Ara – New Zealanders and the sea is beautifully illustrated, with remarkable images of whaling, of rescued castaways, lighthouses, waka and 1960s surfers – as well as these likely lads sitting outside their caravan with a few cold ones.

New Zealanders and the sea is available at all good bookstores, RRP $69.99 (ISBN 978-1-86953-681-7).

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