I was running a bookstall at the New Zealand History Conference a couple of weeks ago and had some time to peruse one of the new books by our friends at Otago University Press.
Creature Comforts; New Zealanders & Their Pets: An Illustrated History is a really interesting overview of the interconnected lives of animals and people since the islands were first settled by Maori and then Europeans. There are some truly fantastic images and photos like this kauri-gum digger from 1910ish and his cat, who is obviously a pet – but probably also a much appreciated mouser:
Apparently New Zealand now has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world – as well as our 60 million-plus sheep we do love our cats, dogs, llamas, horses, goldfish and guinea pigs amongst other more exotic beasties. I thought this was a fascinating social history, written in an engaging manner – well worth a delve into.