Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024


Aotearoa NZ's independent voice of fishing, hunting & outdoors

Book reviews: July 2022

3 min read

Pick of the month

Matariki around the world
Rangi Matamua and Miriama Kamo
Scholastic NZ
Reviewed by Esha Chanda

While the Matariki star cluster holds great importance for Māori and the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, this cluster is seen and celebrated across the world.

From times of old, it has been used to guide people from many different lands, and it goes by many different names, such as Makali’i in Hawaii, Pleiades in Greece, Mao in China, Krittika in India, and Subaru in Japan, as explained in this new book written by Māori astronomer Rangi Matamua and
co-authored by Māori journalist Miriama Kamo.

With beautiful illustrations from Isobel Te Aho-White, the book explores the origins of the Matariki cluster through nine named whetū (stars) and includes stories about this same star cluster from the Pacific Islands to Australia, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The book touches on the rich and diverse culture associated with Matariki and shares stories from here in Aotearoa and around the world.

More good reads

Stories from Our Back Roads
Ray Stone
Bateman Books
Two volumes at $49.99
each, i.e. North Island and South Island
Reviewed by Tony Orman

These are two indispensable books if you enjoy poking up backcountry roads and 4WD tracks. Author Ray Stone has done a wonderful research job on the history of these backcountry routes, and he imparts invaluable advice on avoiding getting stuck relative to the standard of the route and weather. 

Along with maps of the routes and photos, the book includes invaluable advice on the state of the routes relative to avoiding getting stuck. The historical backgrounds are extremely interesting.  

Highly recommended. Get both volumes to cover not only your home region but also holidays in the North and South Islands too.

Tonight’s Dinner
Adam Liaw
Hardie Grant Publishing
Reviewed by Lisa Potter

We’re new to the Adam Liaw (often referred to as Australia’s favourite cook) phenomenon. Perhaps that’s because we’re blessed with so much foodie inspiration here in New Zealand, but Adam definitely deserves the spotlight for his approachable, achievable, and inspired nightly meal ideas.

If you’re the main cook of the house, the daily grind of creating something delicious, inviting, and nourishing wears thin pretty quickly. Tonight’s Dinner is likely to reignite some spark, with fresh modern recipes designed for everyday enjoyment. Packed with flavour and some interesting new combinations, the emphasis is on achievable meals for daily enjoyment, rather than complex creations for special occasions. Even the contentious brussels sprouts are given a new lease on life with the addition of Adam’s ‘gunpowder’ mix. 

The Unexpected Spy
Tracy Walder with Jessica Anya Blau
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

I was a few pages in of what I thought was a work of fiction before realising the content was, in fact, an autobiography of a CIA agent’s time behind the scenes of the US agency, before transferring across to the FBI, which she then covers. As such, it was an interesting perspective of the two male-dominated careers and sheds light on her time there in the early 2000s.

She gives her viewpoint on the weapons of mass destruction scenario, which led to the US invading Afghanistan, along with how people of interest were ignored because some countries’ internal security agencies didn’t work at the weekends.

While some paragraphs are redacted (blanked out), there’s still enough information to get a small insight into how the CIA and FBI operate, as well as some of their training methods, which seemed to be very alpha-male orientated. Hopefully, since then, things have changed for the better within both camps. A quality read.

David Burt
Mary Egan Publishing
Reviewed by Steve Atkinson

Kiwi author David Burt did himself proud with this tale that’s normally the fare of US or
UK-based writers. It tracks back to 1982 Afghanistan and follows the life of a 16-year-old local from his village through to life in New York, dealing with the mafia and others on the way to setting himself up in business and exacting his revenge on those who he perceives to have wronged his family and country.

On the way to the final showdown, he traverses the Pakistan heroin trade and even spends a few years in New Zealand – that being the most cringeworthy part of the whole story in my opinion. Nonetheless, it’s a readable effort and certainly worth the $35 bucks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.