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History and Biography

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History and Biography

Dalai Lama Story, The : The Making of a World Leader by Andrew Crowe. Published by Longacre Press. ISBN  9781877361838. Recommended retail price $29.99.

‘The Dalai Lama’s smile and his ability to forgive mean so much more when you know the circumstances of his life.

Author Andrew Crowe, meeting a young Chinese tourist on the Potala Palace roof in 2002, tells her the marvelous story, forbidden to her people, of the 14th Dalai Lama. He tells of the Dalai Lama’s remote and humble family home and how, at the age of two and a half, he was already a child with an extraordinary presence and sense of destiny when he was recognized as the next spiritual leader of Tibet. How he and his family trekked to the vast Potala Palace in Lhasa for the start of his training, while all the long journey, pilgrims prostrated themselves before him and sought the four-year-old’s blessing.

In this well-crafted story, Crowe details His Holiness’s strange childhood in the world’s largest palace; his friendship with Austrian Heinrich Harrer whose escape from an Indian POW camp and trek through the Himalayas is one of the world’s incredible survival stories; the boy’s fascination for film and for learning; his spiritual development and self-improvement, especially in tackling a ferocious temper.

When the Dalai Lama was just fifteen China invaded Tibet and full political power was foisted on him. despite a meeting with Mao, a tour of ‘The Four directions’ of China, and numerous efforts towards a peaceful agreement with the invaders, in 1959 the Dalai Lama was forced to flee his country, in part at least to protect the masses of Tibetans who swarmed about him in the holy city. We learn about his final tortuous trek to safety through the mountains, pursued by Chinese troops, and the bittersweet arrival in India where news arrives of the tens of thousands slaughtered, and 6,000 desecrated monasteries back in Tibet.

Few world leaders have been as respected and revered as the 72-year-old ‘Kundun’ who in 1989 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. ‘For despite the ongoing suffering of his people, he continues to remind the world that “hatred will not cease by hatred”.’

The Dalai Lama’s early life is vividly told here for younger readers. It is illustrated throughout with photographs, ink drawings and maps.

Awards and Prizes CLFNZ Notable Books List 2008

The unpublished manuscript of The Dalai Lama Story won the $10,000 Ashton Wylie Charitable Trust Award in 2005.

‘…a meticulously researched biography, an excellent educational resource, and a must for every library.’ - English in Aotearoa, 2007
‘This richly illustrated volume…deserves a wide readership.’ - The Press, 2007

Teacher’s Resource Kit available at: nbsp;

Soft cover, 192 pages. Published in June 2007.

Dancing with Cranes: On location with a New Zealand wildlife film-maker by Alison Ballance.  ISBN 1877361054Published by Longacre Press. Recommended retail price $19.95.        
“…someone passed me a large metal basin full of boiled sheep innards…  I smiled politely, declined and passed it along.  Oh the joys of being vegetarian in the land of boiled mutton.”

Alison Balance has bumped over the Mongolian steppe in search of wild horses; camped in mud when trying to film New Zealand’s rare, nocturnal kakapo; she’s flown deep into the Himalayas where demoiselle cranes migrate across the world’s highest mountains.  The intrepid wildlife film-maker has traveled to some of the earth’s remotest places for footage of our endangered species.

Working for TV production company Natural History New Zealand, her search for tigers has taken her to Thailand’s steamy jumgle and the Russian Far East in winter.  Propelled by a passion for observing and sharing the wonder and the plight of the animal world, Balance has journeyed into the wilds, and to sanctuaries where fragile hope for species has been rekindled.

Dispelling myths of film-industry glamour, Balance’s experiences range through uncomfortable and heartbreaking to absurd.  Her story also captures the joy and elation of discovery.  Whether she’s nose to beak with a kakapo or riding a Bactrian camel in the Gobi Desert, travels with this winsome wildlife film-maker are captivating, exhilarating – and inspiring.

Alison Balance is a biologist turned filmmaker, who has worked for the Dunedin-based television production company NHNZ since 1990.  She began as a researcher, and has gone on to produce, direct and write more than a dozen wildlife documentaries that have been broadcast around the world.  She is the author of more than 20 books including Hoki – the story of a kakapo with Gideon Climo, Island Magic – Wildlife of the South Seas with Rod Morris, and several collections of natural history books for young readers.  She lives on the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand.

Soft cover, 264 pages. Published in 2005.                                        


I Remember Hiroshima by Stephen Kelen. ISBN 0868061034. Published by Hale&Iremonger. Recommended retail price $10.

In 1946 Stephen Kelen, an Australian soldier, author, playwright and journalist, was posted to Japan as a member of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. In Japan he transferred from Intelligence to become a feature writer on the British Commonwealth Occupation News. He spent more than three years in and around Hiroshima writing about and photographing the devastation surrounding him. He spoke to many of the survivors – to a priest who had tended the wounded in the immediate aftermath of the explosion; to a bookseller who had capitalized upon misfortune and sold twisted mementos of the blast; to a clerk whose arm had been exposed to the flash and was useless but who now made his living selling fire insurance amidst burnt-out buildings; to the child, widely known as the ‘flash bang baby’, who had been born within an hour of the explosion.

But perhaps most importantly, Kelen attended the first Hiroshima Peace Festival in 1946, a festival that has since become an annual event. He was struck by the absence of animosity, the upsurge of rejoicing, the spontaneous acceptance of himself, not as a representative of the enemy, but as a fellow human being. Today, more than 40 years later, Stephen Kelen remembers Hiroshima in moving and poignant detail. His story is accompanied by the unique collection of photographs he took that vividly recapture the havoc, the slow rebuilding of the city, and the subsequent Peace Festivals.

Born in Hungary in 1912, Stephen Kelen has been an Australian for more than 40 years, active as an author, playwright, journalist and sportsman (he has won several world and international table tennis championships). During World War II he volunteered and served in the Australian Army in New Guinea, the Halmaheras, North Borneo and as a member of the occupation forces in Japan. His articles on Hiroshima were published by leading newspapers and magazines in Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon and England. One of his novels, Freedom is a Rainbow, was a prize winner in a United Nations contest in New York. After the war he worked as an editor and writer. His radio dramas and features have been broadcast by the ABC, the BBC and radio stations in Switzerland, Germany, Holland and France.

Since 1975 Stephen Kelen has been President of International PEN Sydney Centre and has represented Australian writers at International PEN Congresses. Soft cover, 79 pages. Published in 1983.

Life of Adventure, A by Oswald Schulze. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $ 9.

Captain Oswald Schulze (1844-1928) was a well-known master mariner in the South Pacific and one of the first to trade between Auckland and Samoa and Tonga. He sailed throughout the Pacific and his sailing life covered the seven Seas, from the nineteenth century days of sailing ships to steam packets, to the first diesel powered coastal barges of the early twentieth century.

His seamen’s yarns about his life and times, notable personalities and down to earth accounts of the workings of all his vessels are both revealing and fascinating. Soft cover, 76 pages.

Manila: A Memoir of Love & Loss by Purita Echevarria de Gonzalez. Published by Hale and Iremonger. ISBN 0868066982. Recommended retail price $20.

This is autobiography at its best, a beautifully written memoir which makes a distinctive contribution to Australian literature concerning the immigrant experience.

Purita Echevarria de Gonzalez was born in Manila in the 1920s and describes an enchanted world, forever lost, with great poignancy and compelling immediacy. The reader suffers with her as this world is savagely destroyed by the outbreak of war, the Japanese occupation and the annihilation of the city by American saturation bombardment. The author is equally adept at describing, without sentimentality, the halcyon pre-war time of her childhood and teens, and, without sensationalism, the horrors of starvation and disease, brutality and massacre.

Manila: A Memoir of Love and Loss makes the past come alive, with its skilful blending of the personal, including a love story which runs through the narrative, and the historical (we briefly glimpse Marcos as a youthful partisan).

Finely written, and inspiring in its portrayal of courage and compassion in the face of suffering, this memoir has a haunting quality which makes it impossible to put down.

Purita Echevarria de Gonzalez was born and grew up in Manila, capital of the Philippines, and was educated in an eclectic French convent school. The Japanese invasion of the Philippines shattered the lives of the author and her family. Although her formal education had been disrupted, she was an obsessive reader and managed during the war to get access to the Jesuit University’s library.

After three years of Japanese occupation, in which thousands were killed and died of hunger and disease, and the terror of American liberation by bombardment, Manila was left in ruins. The family, fortunate to have survived, went to the United States and then to Spain. A few years later, and back in Manila, the author married and had four sons. During the Marcos regime her husband found it difficult to practice his profession with integrity and in 1970 the family emigrated to Australia, becoming Australian citizens in 1973. Soft cover, 240 pages, published in 2000.

Merchant of the Zeehaen, The : Isaac Gilsemans and the Voyages of Abel Tasman by Grahame Anderson. ISBN 0909010757. Published by Te Papa Press. Recommended retail price $29.95.

In 1642 Abel Janszoon Tasman ‘discovered’ New Zealand, while looking for the Great Southern Continent on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. There was a brief and bloody encounter with Maori in what is now known as golden Bay, but Tasman left little behind him to mark his brief presence here – a squiggle on the still incomplete map of the world, a couple of place names.

Who was Tasman, and what kind of explorer was he? How good were his seamanship and navigation skills? Thanks to his biographer and generations of scholars, the exploits of James Cook are well known, and his achievement is fully understood. But Tasman is a much more ambiguous figure. At the time, his voyages were thought to be of no great merit. At best he was credited with making an arms’-length circumnavigation of ‘New Holland,’ the island continent we now know as Australia. Even today our view of Tasman is cloudy and incomplete.

In this ground-breaking book, based on new research, Grahame Anderson tells the story of Tasman'’ voyages of exploration, and explains the pivotal role of Isaac Gilsemans, the '‘merchant of the Zeehaen.’ Who sailed with him in 1642-3. Cartographer, illustrator, editor and explorer, it was Gilsemans who drew the coastal profiles of lands visited during the voyages.

But it wasn’t until he did some on-the-water research in 1985, sailing in search of Tasman’s anchorage near D’Urville Island, that Anderson discovered something no one else had realized for more than 340 years. The illustrations that formed part of the official record of the voyages were precise cartographic documents, not vague sketches of unidentifiable coastline, as had previously been thought. The fifteen years of research that followed his discovery bring the name of Isaac Gilsemans into the forefront of the history of seventeenth century oceanic exploration, and shed new light on Tasman’s voyages around the Pacific – and may eventually enable Anderson to locate and recover Tasman’s anchor, lost off the coast of Tasmania in 1642.

Written with the general reader in mind, The Merchant of the Zeehaen paints a vivid picture of Tasman’s achievements as navigator and explorer, and reveals the role played in them by his Merchant, Isaac Gilsemans. This book is essential reading for all armchair sailors, and everyone interested in exploration, New Zealand history, voyages of discovery and map-making.

Grahame Anderson is an architect and yachtsman. His interest in draughtsmanship, history, sailing, and the New Zealand seashore, led to the initial discovery and ongoing research which resulted in this book. He has written many technical papers on aspects of architecture, heritage buildings and coastal development. He is the author of Fresh About Cook Strait – a celebration of Wellington Harbour (Methuen, 1984), and Fast Light Boats – a century of Kiwi innovation (Te Papa Press, 1999). He is the recipient of numerous awards, both for his non-fiction writing as well as for architectural design and environmental research. In 1990 he was a Research Fellow at the Stout Centre, Victoria University of Wellington. Soft cover, 162 pages. Published in 2001.

A touch of sleeve book cover

Touch of Sleeve, A by Susan Bell.   9781877361791. Published by Longacre Press. Recommended retail price $29.95.

Behold the frog who opens his mouth to display his whole inside: If a man exposes his inner thoughts he brings great shame upon himself. Perhaps this Japanese proverb explains why Westerners know so little about Japan and how its citizens fared during World War II and the consequent US Occupation. In A Touch of Sleeve one Japanese gentleman doesn’t care about exposing his ‘insides’ for public view. He has things he wants to say …

This is Hisashi Furuya’s story as told to Susan Bell. The author met Hisashi when he and his sister immigrated to New Zealand in 1991. Her portrait of Hisashi tells how one man was caught up in the course of history, and was not only influenced by tradition and family, but by events unfolding on a daily basis.
Susan Bell maps the history of Japan along with that of Hisashi’s ancestors, both his samurai and priestly lineage. With his traditional childhood and elite education Hisashi had a future full of promise. But war changed his life dramatically. Here we are given a Japanese view of the military build-up that led to the bombing of Pearl Harbour. We experience first hand the savage carpet bombings of Tokyo, the consequent deprivation of its inhabitants and their bewilderment at the US Occupation. We also witness the rebuilding of a defeated nation.

Another Japanese proverb that Hisashi is fond of is, ‘When our sleeves touch it is karma’. Hisashi believes that meeting Susan Bell was inevitable and that she has enabled him to tell his story so that we may better understand Japan today.
A remarkable and beautifully written tale of upheaval, struggle and survival: Hisashi’s story is in essence the story of Japan.
Soft cover, 488 pages. Published in 2007.

Where Nets Were Cast: Christianity in Oceania since World War II by John Garrett. ISBN 9820201217. Published by the Institute of Pacific Studies. Recommended retail price $17.

This third volume of The History of Christianity in Oceania describes the exposure of island churches to brutal interlopers in World War II.  The war foreshadowed the twilight of the missionary and colonial eras.  Independent churches broke free, as did island states.  Christian leaders – men and women – contributed to the processes of change.  In the 1960s the ecumenical and charismatic movements affected the life of the major churches.  The World Council of Churches and the Second Vatican Council produced a ferment of unity, transformation, and social concern.  Outbursts of ecstatic revival and many new religious movements brought forms of renewal and self-expression attuned to Islanders’ cultures and languages.

This sequel to To Live Among The Stars and Footsteps in the Sea traces “the larger issues in church history – the very different traditions represented, the thrust toward ecumenism in the later post-war years, the interplay of mission with the social and political identity of the island people, and the heroic examples found in the thumbnail sketches of the lives of dozens of missionaries and island church leaders.”  Francis X. Hezel, SJ

John Garrett, of the Pacific Theological College, Fiji, and the Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, has traveled in Oceania, Europe, and North America for thirty years to study Christianity in the region.  He is a Christian Minister and former communications director of the World Council of Churches.  His work has brought him into close touch with Protestants, Catholics and Anglicans in many parts of the world. Soft cover, 499 pages. Published in 1997.

Click on links below for these books.

Agents of Autonomy: Maori Committees In The Nineteenth Century by Vincent O’Malley

Aloha Solomons by Gwen Cross.

ANZAC Doctor: The Life of Sir Neville Howse VC, by Stuart Braga

Australia's Gold Rushes by Robert Coupe

Bent Not Broken by Lauren Roche

Bishops; My Turbulent Colonial Youth by Mona Williams

Blue Ribbons Bitter Bread: The Life of Joice Nankivell Loch, Australia’s Most Decorated Woman by Susanna De Vries

Book of David, The by Beverley Eley

Brief History of Niutao, A by Pulekai A. Sogivalu

Conrad Martens on the Beagle and in Australia by Susanna De Vries

Davey and the Awatea by W. A. Laxon

Doctor in Vanuatu: A Memoir by Dr. E. A. (Ted) Freeman

Don’t Come Back! by Reiko & Robert Elliott

Down But Not Out by Elizabeth Berns

Escape from Bosnia; Aza's Story as told to Sue McCauley

Fairburn by Denys Trussell

Farewell Colonialism: The New Zealand International Exhibition Christchurch, 1906-07 edited by John Mansfield Thomson

Fiji’s Heritage: A History of Fiji by Kim Gravelle

For the Good of Mankind: A History of the People of Bikini and their Islands by Jack Niedenthal

For Pete's Sake by Rosalie Henderson

Golden Harvest, The by Patricia O'Shea

Hard Country, Hard Men: In the Footsteps of Gregory by Kieran Kelly

Hayes Gordon: The man and his dream by Lawrence Durrant

Hawke's Bay: The History of a Province by Matthew Wright

Helen; Portrait of a Prime Minister by Brian Edwards

He Served: A Biography of Macu Salato by Robert C. Kiste

Historic Sydney: The Founding of Australia by Susanna de Vries

Indo-Fijian Experience, The edited and introduced by Subraman

In Their Own Image: Greek Australians by Effy Alexakis & Leonard Janiszewski

Island Boy, Tom Davis an autobiography by Tom Davis, Pa Tuterangi Ariki.

Island of Secrets; Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington Harbour by David McGill

Kirisimasi: Fijian troops at Britains's Christmas Island Nuclear tests edited by Salabula et al

Krystyna's Story by Halina Ogonowska-Coates

Lagaga: A Short History of Western Samoa by Malama Meleisea et al.

Leading Edge, The: A Life in Gliding by Dick Georgeson and Anna Wilson

Life on the Line by Lauren Roche

Matanitu - the struggle for power in early Fiji by David Routledge.

Mawson’s Huts: An Antarctic expedition journal by Alasdair McGregor

Milestones: Turning Points in New Zealand History by Tom Brooking

Milord Goffredo: A daughter rediscovers her father's war in Italy by Jan Bolwell

My Heart is Crying a Little - Tagi Tote E Loto Haaku by Margaret Pointer and Kalaisi Folau

My War and Peace by Alec Goldsmith

Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition: Volume 3 by Charles Wilkes

Niue: A History of the Island by Maihetoe Hekaua et al

Nothing Like a Dame: A Biography of Dame Daphne Purves by Molly Anderson

Peter Fraser: Master Politician edited by Margaret Clark

Ples Blong Iumi: Solomon Islands, the past four thousand years
by Sam Alasia and others, edited by Hugh Laracy.

Rangimarie: Recollections of her life by Rora Paki-Titi

Sage tea; an autobiography by Toss Woollaston

Samoa: A Hundred Years Ago and Long Before by George Tucker

Savage Cows & Cabbage Leaves; An Italian Life by Marie Alafaci

Scent of Rosewater, The : A New Zealand Bride in Iran by Anna Woodward Swinburn

Seasons of Love: In Australia and Germany by Adriane Wildencamp Shackleton, The Antarctic Challenge by Kim Heacox

Shadow Child: A Memoir of the Stolen Generation by Rosalie Fraser

Shine; The Screenplay by Jan Sardi

Sir Keith Hoyoake: Towards a Political Biography edited by Margaret Clark

Sister,Sister by Anna Blay

Slavers in Paradise by H.E, Maude

Strawberries with the Fuhrer; a journey from the third reich to New Zealand by Helga Tiscenko

Tagi Tote E Loto Haaku - My Heart is Crying a Little by Margaret Pointer and Kalaisi Folau

Tall Spars, Steamers & Gum: A History of the Kaipara From Early European Settlement 1854-1947 by Wayne Ryburn

Terre Napoleon by Susan Hunt and Paul Carter

They Came For Sandalwood by Marjorie Crocombe

Tovata I & II by A. C. Reid

Treasure Islands: A Robert Louis Stevenson Centenary Anthology compiled and edited by Jenni Calder

Uvea by Christophe Sand

Voluntary Exiles: From Tamatave to Peking by Joan Rowlands

Waiheke Island: A History by Paul Monin

We Will Not Cease: The New Zealand Classic by Archibald Baxter

Wild Life Among the Pacific Islanders by E.H. Lamont

William Dampier in New Holland

Woven By Water: Histories from the Whanganui River by David Young

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