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New Guinea

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New Guinea

Birds of New Guinea by Bruce Beehler, Thane Pratt, and Dale Zimmerman. Illustrations by Dale Zimmerman and James Coe. Recommended retail price $49.50, our price $45. CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT. NOT AVAILABLE.

This book is the first definitive ornithological field guide to New Guinea, the world’s second largest island and one of the richest tropical environments in the Old World. Because of its isolation New Guinea’s biota include spectacular radiations of unusual plants and animals (of which the birds of paradise are perhaps the best known). The region has long attracted naturalists, ecologists, and anthropologists. This book treats all of the more than 700 bird species recorded from the region, illustrating more than 600 of them in forty-seven fine color plates and eight black and white halftone plates. The text contains species accounts which cover identification, distribution, ecology, vocalizations, and behavior. This is preceded by a detailed introduction to the region, with sections on climate, biogeography, rain forest ecology and conservation. Soft cover, 293 pages.


Bushwalking in Papua New Guinea by Yvon Prusse. Recommended retail price $14.95, our price $14.50.

Yvon Prusse has spent considerable time in Papua New Guinea and has made what might have been the first full crossing of the mainland by foot (one assumes north/south not east/west!). This comprehensive Lonely Planet walking guide provides 39 contour maps and detailed route descriptions of a variety of bush walks including the Kokoda trail of WWII fame. Yvon provides information on what to take with you and what you should say and do so as not to give offence during your travels. Soft cover, 194 pages.

Diving and Snorkeling Papua New Guinea by Bob Halstead and Tim Rock. Recommended retail price $17.95.

Anyone who has read about diving in Papua New Guinea has heard the name of Bob Halstead. Bob practically pioneered diving in New Guinea so writes with an authority few others can match. This substantial volume covers most of New Guineas best known dive sites and some new ones as well. I was delighted to see that Papua New Guinea’s famed “muck diving” is covered also. Bob’s co-author Tim Rock is also no slouch and has written four other Lonely Planet Pisces books. Soft cover, 173 pages.

Gutsini Posa (Rough Seas) by Regis Stella. Recommended retail price $17.

Disheartened by profiteering capitalists, increasing corruption, and seething slums in Port Kavakava, Penagi returns to his island, Torogegai. Enmeshed in civil war, he loses family members, searches for his lover, runs with guerilla soldiers. As volatile as the landscape and the surrounding seas, Gutsini Posa offers insight into one of the South Pacific's most troubled areas. Action-packed fiction though it might be, this book has a message for all of us who live on beautiful islands with scarce resources, the most precious of which are their peoples.Soft cover, 153 pp.

Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea: Vol. I. Edited by John S. Womersley. Published by Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0522840957. Recommended retail price. Unfortunately this is no longer available :-(

The Papuasian region was the last of the world's major areas to be explored botanically. Although a great deal yet remains to be done, a large body of knowledge has been accumulated since systematic botanical investigations began towards the end of the last century. This information is, however, scattered in a variety of scientific journals, not readily available to people who do not have access to some large institutional library. This present work, which is intended to be the first of a continuing series, aims to present information on the Papuasian flora in a concise and correlated form.

Accounts of families arc prepared not only by botanists at the Lae Herbarium but also by overseas workers with an interest in Papuasia. The work is copiously illustrated with line drawings, and the commercial and traditional uses of the plants are noted.

Mr Womersley, who initiated work on the series in 1970, retired at the end of 1975 after 27 years' service as a botanist in Papua New Guinea. Hard cover, 278 pages. Published in 1978, reprinted 1995.

Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea: Vol. II. Edited by E. E. Henty. Published by Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0522842046. Recommended retail price. Unfortunately this is no longer available :-(

This is the second volume of a series which began in 1978 with the aim, as stated then, of presenting information on the Papuasian flora in a concise and correlated form.

Many workers are now active in taxonomic work in the neighbouring Malesian region, mainly in connection with the Flora Malesiana project, in which the Rijksherbarium, Leiden, is involved. This assists the Flora project, since the regions overlap, but Papuasia includes the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville Island, which contain a number of species not found in Malesia.

A large part of this volume is devoted to an account of the Elaeocarpaceae, an important family of trees, widespread in the region, from low to high altitudes. The treatment of the difficult parasitic group Loranthaceae, which has associations with birds and butterflies, will be welcomed by naturalists.

The work is illustrated by line drawings, at least one of each genus; and, in the larger genera, one to each section. Hard cover, 276 pages. Published in 1981, reprinted 1995.

Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea: Vol. III. Edited by Barry J. Conn. Published by Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0522845827. Recommended retail price. Unfortunately this is no longer available :-(

This third volume of the Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea is an important contribution to documentation of the rich diversity of the Papuasian flora. Earlier volumes in the series were published in 1978 and 1981.

Like the previous volumes, this latest handbook enables readers and botanical workers to assess the rate of species extinction in the region, develop and maintain sound conservation strategies, and monitor their effectiveness. It features contributions from two PNG botanists at the Lae Herbarium, plus accounts by overseas experts, and is copiously illustrated by line drawings.

This handbook is an authoritative, practical guide to one of the most botanically fascinating regions in the world.

Dr Barry Conn has worked as a botanist and Lecturer in Botany in Papua New Guinea, specializing in the systematics of tropical genera of Loganiaceae and the aquatic flora, and is now a research Botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, specializing in the systematics of several Australasian plant families. Hard cover, 292 pages. Published 1995.

Islands in the Clouds: Travels in the Highlands of New Guinea by Isabella Tree. Recommended retail price $10.95, our price $10.50 (you expected a bargain?).

Islands in the Clouds chronicles Isabella Tree’s extraordinary journey to the heart of Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya. This is her story of the Highland people and the changes transforming their world. It is funny and tragic by turns. Isabella treats her subjects with respect. Highly recommended. Soft cover, 257 pages.


Kula: Myth and Magic in the Trobriand Islands by Jutta Malnic with John Kasaipwalova. ISBN 0-646-34617-2. Published by Cowrie Books. Recommended retail price $49.

Many times the Trobriand islanders have been studied and written about, but never before has their story being told this way, from the inside, through the voices of understanding and belonging. Never before has such a wealth of superlative photography presented the life of the Kula Ring, with all its joyful lessons, a rich heritage of practices for survival: for Trobrianders learn the secret of awareness and responsible management, of human encounter and relationship with the world around them. By this they traditionally harnessed positive energies for a spiritually healthy life, in an astounding culture of adventurous voyages to serve the competitive Kula Ring of exchanges. East of New Guinea, from the Coral to the Solomon Sea, throughout a chain of far-flung islands, this can truly be called civilisation.

Jutta Malnic has been documenting Kula trading in the Trobriand Islands with photography and tape recording for over a decade. She instigated, researched and was cultural advisor on the documentary film Kula, Ring of Power. Kula, Myth and Magic in the Trobriand Islands is her second extensive documentation of an indigenous culture.

John Kasaipwalova is a prominent Papua New Guinea poet and writer, known for his executive role in the Kabisawali movement at the time of Independence. His folk operas Sail the Midnight Sun, My Tide let me ride, The Dance of the Snail and Sana Sana have been performed to acclaim in the country and overseas. He succeeded Chief Nalubutau as head of the Kwenema clan. Hard cover, 222 pages. Published in 1998.

Girl in garden
 Women playing cricket
Dugong dance

Lomo’ha I Am, In Spirit’s Voice I Call by Steven Edmund Winduo. Recommended retail price $9.

Steven Edmund Winduo was born in Ulighembi village, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea in 1964. He attended Mongniol Community School, St. Xaviers High School and Aiyura National High School. He has a BA and BA (honours) in Literature from the University of Papua New Guinea. He has worked as a Michael Somare Library Fellow, Research Officer and Tutor with the University of Papua New Guinea. This is his first published collection of poetry. Soft cover, 42 pages.

Mammals of New Guinea by Tim Flannery. Revised and Updated edition. Recommended retail price $70.

There is no competitor. This is THE book on the mammals of New Guinea. Tim Flannery won prizes for the first edition of this book. This new revised second edition is even better with 24 additional species. Mammals of New Guinea summarizes all that has been learned of the natural history and systematics of the mammals of the island of New Guinea (Offshore islands are covered in the companion volume Mammals of the South-West Pacific and Moluccan Islands). Introductory chapters present the geological history of new Guinea, zoogeography, climate and vegetation. Much more has recently been learned of the biology of many species, particularly the larger marsupials, and the fossil record is much improved.

The discovery and investigation of New Guinea’s mammal fauna began only relatively recently. In bringing all this previously scattered information together, Tim Flannery has provided a work which will greatly contribute to our knowledge of the mammalian fauna of a rapidly changing environment, making it accessible for the first time to both the professional scientist and amateur naturalist.

Having had the pleasure of communicating with, and finally meeting, Tim I can only report that his enthusiasm is infectious. I shall do my best to get the rest of his books onto the website as soon as possible. Hard cover, 568 pages.

Papua New Guinea by Adrian Lipscomb, Rowan McKinnon and Jon Murray. Recommended retail price $17.95.

Another in Lonely Planet’s superb series of travel guides, told like it is by people who have experienced almost every thing they write about. There are 46 up-to-date maps, advice on where to stay and eat and even an easy-to-learn guide to pidgin. Sadly, Paddy and Kat have yet to visit New Guinea so we can’t comment further about the accuracy of this volume. Prior experience suggests it will be excellent. Soft cover, 377 pages.


Papua New Guinea
. Map. Recommended retail price $6.95

This full color 1:2,600,00 scale map covers this vast country in a useful over-view.


Papua New Guinea Yearbook 2003, edited by Brian Gomez.  ISBN 9980-85-407-3. Published by The National and Cassowary Books. Recommended retail price $40.

This book packs a huge amount of information into its 140 pages. There are maps of the major towns, discussions about PNG industry, graphs on population structure, and inofrmation about sport, tourism and agriculture. If you are planning to do business in PNG then this book is essential. Soft cvoer, 140 pages, published in 2003? Includes fold out map.

Snakes of Papua New Guinea, A Guide to The by Mark O'Shea. Published by National Library of Papua New Guinea. ISBN 9980916966. Recommended retail price $75. Currently unavailable sorry!

The first comprehensive guide to the snake fauna of Papua New Guinea, with a section on snakebite and its treatment in Papua New Guinea, by Prof David A. Warrell and Dr. David G. Lalloo. Mark has been interested in snakes since his earliest years and kept snakes from the age of nine. This interest soon grew into an abiding passion and now, in his early forties, he has sought out, collected and studied snakes and other reptiles from Brazil to Borneo, from Honduras to Cameroon and from Nepal to New Guinea. He has a particular interest in venomous snakes and is currently involved in research into the dangerous snakes of PNG, including the ecology of the little known small-eyed snake, for the Centre for Tropical Medicine at Oxford University and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a former recipient of a Fellowship from the Christensen Research Institute, Madang, PNG, an affiliate to the National Museum of Papua New Guinea, a former chairman of the international Herpetological Society and a former Council member of the British Herpetological Society, he plans to concentrate his attention on the herpetofauna of PNG for many years to come. In the United Kingdom he divides his time between his studies and working as Herpetologist and Curator of Reptiles at the West Midland Safari Park, where he is concerned with behavioral studies, captive breeding programs and education. Considerable time is also given over to lecturing around the United Kingdom on herpetological subjects, writing for magazines and journals and contributing to natural history films, television programs and children's books.

When he talks about snakebite he also appreciates the subject from the victim's point of view, having been the recipient of several very serious snakebites himself. Soft cover 239 pages. Published in 1996.

Throwim Way Leg: Tree-Kangaroos, Possums and Penis Gourds, On the Track of Unknown Mammals in Wildest New Guinea by Tim Flannery. ISBN 0802136656. Recommended retail price $14.

A Thrilling blend of scientific discovery and high adventure. Throwim Way Leg tells the story of internationally renowned mammologist Tim Flannery’s travels to the unexplored regions of New Buinea in search of species that science has yet to discover or classify. He finds mahy – from a community of giant cave bats that were supposedly extinct, to the elusive black-and-white tree-kangaroo – and along the way has a wealth of unforgettable adventures. Flannery scales cliffs, descends into caverns, and cheats death from both disease and local cannibals who wish to take revenge on his “clan” of wildlife scientists. He eventually befriends the tribespeople, who become companions in his quest, and whose contributions to his research prove invaluable.

In New Guinea pidgin, throwim way leg means to take the first step of a long journey. The journey in this book is a wild ride full of natural wonders and Flannery’s trademark wit, a tour de force of travelogue, anthropology, and natural history.

Tim Flannery is director of the South Australian Museum. He was previously the principal research scientist at the Australian Museum in Sydney and has also been visiting professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of eight books, including his award-winning history of Australian ecology, The Future Eaters. Soft cover, 326 pages. Published in 1998.

Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea, The by Patricia May and Margaret Tuckson. Published by University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-2344-3. Recommended retail price $50.

This book is the most comprehensive and authoritative survey of the traditional pottery of Papua New Guinea ever produced. The authors have made a thorough analysis of pottey-making throughout Papua New Guinea, based on eight years of field work. They proffer a first-hand account of clay preparation, pottery formation, and firing techniques, interwoven with information on the functions of the pottery and the various approaches to decoration.

Particular types of pottery have been identified by analyzing some of the clays and by studying the pottery in terms of different language divisions, which tend to correlate with different pottery styles. The book contains detailed descriptions of the pottery based not only on personal observation, but also on meticulous collection of photographs from the villages of Papua New Guinea, private collections and museum collections throughout the world.

As well as providing fascinating descriptions of personal contact with traditional pot-makers and legends about the origins of the clay and pot-making, The Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea makes a serious contribution to the study of the country's history and culture in its documentation of pottery exchange routes and the cultural importance of pottery. Reviews of previous historical and anthropological information are also incorporated.

Paddy's note: this book represents quite extraordinary scholarship and is a must for any student of anthropology, pottery or Melanesia. Hard cover, 380 pages, revised edition published 2000.

Click on thumbnail below for photo from The Traditional Pottery of Papua New Guinea

Click on the links below for these books.

2002 Papua New Guinea Phone Book

Bamboo Leaves by Sam Ngwele

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Last modified on Monday, December 27, 2010