Kiwi, kākāpō, takahē, moa, tūī – these birds, and many others, are unique to Aotearoa New Zealand, and famous throughout the world. It was the 1873 publication of Walter Buller's A History of the Birds of New Zealand that introduced overseas readers to these extraordinary creatures, and led New Zealanders as well to appreciate them in a way they had not before. Now, a century and a half later, Geoff Norman's Birdstories builds on that legacy in a compelling, impeccably researched and beautifully presented account, which describes the origins of New Zealand's birds, their place in both the Pākehā and Māori worlds, their survival and conservation, and the art they have inspired.
Geoff Norman writes of the birds' unusual evolution, the disastrous impact of two waves of human migration, but too, the late nineteenth-century realisation that extinction need not be inevitable and the astonishing salvation stories of the following century.
Birdstories is a visual delight, rich in sketches and paintings by the scientists and draughtsmen who accompanied the early European explorers, and a remarkable range of works by contemporary artists. Much more than a source of fascinating information, this significant book is also a passionate call for action to save our remaining threatened species. Like the taonga it describes, Birdstories will be treasured by all who love and appreciate the unique birds of this land
Geoff Norman was born in Wellington and has a background in science and environmental studies. He has been involved in publishing for over 30 years, designing, typesetting and producing books. His first authored book, Buller’s Birds of New Zealand: The Complete Work of J. G. Keulemans (Te Papa Press, 2012), was the New Zealand Herald’s Book of the Year in 2012, a finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards and has been reprinted three times. Geoff Norman wrote, designed and typeset Birdstories. He enjoys tramping, music and Spanish and Latin American culture.
– Shortlist finalist in the 2019 Ockham New Zealand book awards in the illustrated non-fiction category