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Otago University Press in 2009

Georgina McWhirter - 03/07/09

Otago University Press turned fifty in 2008, making it the oldest of New Zealand's university presses. But it is also one of the newest presses, publishing full-time only since 1993. Otago now publishes about 20 titles every year, and has a vibrant backlist with nearly 200 titles.

Otago University Press publishes a wide range of books on New Zealand, the Pacific and Asia, from scholarly to general works. Special emphasis is given to history, and also literature and the arts, and to natural and social sciences.

The Press also publishes educational titles, including Kiwi Phonics. Books from the South and about the University also feature strongly.

Natural History

Described as a 'modern masterpiece', The Natural History of Southern New Zealand is one of a number of stunning natural history titles produced by Otago. The Press also produces the award-winning Wild series from authors Neville Peat and Brian Patrick. Wild Dunedin, the first of this series and winner of the Natural History section of the 1996 Montana Book Awards, was reprinted with a fresh, new paperback cover at the end of 2002.

The Natural History of Southern New Zealand


History is particularly strong at the Press, with many acclaimed New Zealand history books including Rauru: Tene Waitere, Maori carving, colonial history, Politics in the Playground: The world of early childhood in New Zealand, Ka Taoka Hakena: Treasures from the Hocken Collections, and Traditional Lifeways of the Southern Maori. You can browse OUPís history titles here

Ka Taoka Hakena: Treasures from the Hocken Collections, and Traditional Lifeways of the Southern Maori

Arts and literature feature prominently too with recent titles including Gothic NZ: The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture, The Gorse Blooms Pale: Dan Danvinís Southland Tales, Janet Frame Subversive Fictions, and Ship of Dreams: Masculinity in contemporary Pakeha and Maori fiction of Aotearoa/New Zealand. The press also publishes art books with recent titles including A Southern Architecture: Ted McCoy, and biographies and memoirs such as Passageways: Story of a New Zealand Family by Whitbread prizewinner Ann Thwaite, and Detours: A journey through small-town New Zealand (a generation on) by Neville Peat.

Local Guides

Discover New Zealand with Otago's information-packed Local Guides series. These heritage and natural history guides offer an historical overview of the regions they cover and are packed with details about what to see and do. Each book is illustrated with maps and stunning photographs, making them an ideal souvenir for visitors, and useful reference for locals. Authors have an intimate knowledge of the place they write about. Titles explore Stewart Island, the Catlins, Arrowtown, Dunedin, Wanaka, Queenstown, Oamaru and Wellington.

Creative Writing

The Press also publishes some fiction and poetry. Established writers like Ruth Dallas and Cilla McQueen, Dan Davin and Ted Middleton all form part of a list of creative writers appearing under the Otago imprint.


LANDFALL is New Zealand's foremost and longest-running arts and literary journal. It is published bi-annually through Otago University Press, assisted by a grant from Creative NZ. Each issue showcases new fiction and poetry, as well as biographical and critical essays, and cultural commentary.

LANDFALL is New Zealand's foremost and longest-running arts and literary journal

'The most important and long-lasting journal in New Zealand's literature' - Oxford History of New Zealand Literature.

New issues are printed every June and November, and brim with a mix of vital new work by this country's best writers: Carl Shuker, Anna Jackson, C.K Stead, Tim Corballis, Ian Wedde, Mike Grimshaw, Sarah Knox, Alex Calder, Cilla McQueen, Tze Ming Mok. We also feature the latest book, art, film, drama and dance reviews and full-colour artist portfolios. Artists featured in previous issues have included Gavin Hipkins, Richard Killeen, Weegee, Wayne Barrar and Kay Rosen. Landfall is a high quality production, with artist portfolios in full colour. Artists have included Gavin Hipkins, Richard Killeen, Weegee, Wayne Barrar and Kay Rosen.

Kiwi Phonics

The teaching of phonics is recommended by the Ministry of Education. (Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, 2003)

Kiwi Phonics is a carefully sequenced series of books introducing written sounds to new readers in a logical progression. Each book introduces new sound-letter combinations, building incrementally on previously learned skills and information.

Each box comes with a How to use Kiwi Phonics booklet that contains information and instruction on how to use the books, and the order in which they should be used.

Kiwi Phonics has been used successfully in New Zealand classrooms. The books are suitable for use with any reading programme.