Two of the latest released for Christmas are very beautiful indeed.
Spirit of the South, the new book of stunning photographs by Andris Apse, is a treat. Apse captures the beauty of the South Island’s diverse landscapes, covering the plains, the mountains, the rainforest and the rivers. It is a quite remarkable piece of work and very collectible. I like how humans and their works are somewhat put in their place by the sparse and empty grandeur of his landscapes. When you live in it, you do kind of forget how unusual and breathtaking this place is, it is wonderful to see the land showcased like this.
Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History by Atholl Anderson, Judith Binney and Aroha Harris, is also remarkable, a landmark publication from Bridget Williams Books, exploring the riveting history of the first people to settle these islands.
It begins with the migration of ancestral peoples out of South China, some 5,000 years ago. Moving through the Pacific, these early voyagers arrived in Aotearoa early in the second millennium AD, establishing themselves as tangata whenua in the place that would become New Zealand. By the nineteenth century, another wave of settlers brought new technology, ideas and trading opportunities – and a struggle for control of the land. Survival and resilience shape Māori history as it extends into the twentieth century, through two world wars, the growth of an urban culture, rising protest, and Treaty settlements. Today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Māori are drawing on both international connections and their ancestral place in Aotearoa.
This deserves a place in every home in the country.