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Canterbury University Press

Dorothy - 07/01/05

Canterbury University Press (CUP) has been a stand-alone publishing house since 1991 and it is serving discerning readers very well.The quality of the books it has published is evidence of the standards set by the Press. A glance through the titles of the books published shows the wide range of New Zealand material that has been chosen - natural history, marine biology, New Zealand and Pacific history, biography, sport and sociology. The design of the covers, the layout, the quality of the printing and the illustrations confirm the impression of quality publications.

Awards won by CUP
Awards won are further evidence of the standard of the publications.

In 1995 Seaweeds of New Zealand by Nancy M. Adams won the book production prize of the New Zealand Book Awards. This is judged on the design and the quality of the printing.

In 2001 Dancing Leaves - The story of the New Zealand cabbage tree, ti kouka by Philip Simpson, won the environment section of the Montana New Zealand Book Awards. It is a comprehensive account of the nature and the role of these unique trees. The description on the cover describes the book as celebrating "their place in the natural world, their importance to Maori, their role in symbolism, art, horticulture, and as a natural icon."

'Dancing Leaves' by Philip Simpson
"Dancing Leaves" by Philip Simpson

In 2004 Deep New Zealand - Blue water, black abyss by Peter Batson also won the environment section of the Montana Book Awards.

CUP's staff discuss the work of the press
At a recent interview the staff - publishing manager Richard King and office manager Kaye Godfrey - talked with enthusiasm about the work of the Press. Richard worked as a freelance book editor and designer in Auckland for many years before coming to Christchurch to assist the former publisher Mike Bradstock. He became publishing manager when CUP was made part of the University's Communications and Development Department, with Jeff Field as Director. Kaye has been with the Press for four years, in charge of office administration, promotion and direct sales.

Richard gave me an overview of how they gather manuscripts for publication. Sometimes an author presents a script for consideration. Sometimes a suitable author is asked to write on a subject which Richard has reason to believe will be of particular interest to readers. The Press does not publish academic textbooks or esoteric research, but naturally the links with the University of Canterbury mean that there is support for the publication of books by its academic staff and alumni. While there is this loyalty to academics the Press encourages them to offer books which are of general interest.

Much of the editing, design and publishing is done inhouse, and other firms are contracted to print and retail them.

Peter Batson's Deep New Zealand- Blue water, black abyss is about what lives in the deep oceans around New Zealand. This gives the writer more scope than most readers would imagine as New Zealand has the the fourth largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world - about ten times as large as its land area. This book introduces readers to numerous rare sea creatures. The clear and easily readable text is highlighted by the remarkable photographs taken by Kim Westerkov.

'Deep New Zealand- Blue water, black abyss' by Peter Batson
"Deep New Zealand- Blue water, black abyss" by Peter Batson

"The Rise and Fall of the Southern Alps has proved to be a particularly popular book," Richard said. This does not surprise me, as although the author Glen Coates is an experienced geologist the material is presented in non-technical language that makes it easy for the general reader to understand. The text is illustrated with a wealth of magnificent photographs taken by Glen himself and illustrations by Geoffrey Cox. In the acknowledgements Glen Coates expresses appreciation of the work done on the book by Richard in his dual role of editor and designer.

'The Rise and Fall of the Southern Alps' by Glen Coates
"The Rise and Fall of the Southern Alps" by Glen Coates

One particularly striking image in The Rise and Fall of the Southern Alps is a photograph taken looking down Lake Pukaki with Mt Cook on the skyline. (Page 53) Superimposed on the photo is an image of the Southern Alps in the sky, twenty kilometres high - the height that the Alps would be if no erosion had taken place.

The diagrams are clear and presented in vibrant colour. The explanations and diagrams depicting plate movement will be of particular interest to readers in Diagrams (page 52) show the impact of plate movement, lifting up the land and creating mountains.

The first poetry published by CUP
In December CUP launched the first book of poetry it has published - te ata kura: the red-tipped dawn by Apirana Taylor. For an appreciation of these poems read the review.

'te ata kura: the red-tipped dawn' Poems by Apirana Taylor
"te ata kura: the red-tipped dawn" Poems by Apirana Taylor

Some selected books
I have spent a long time pondering on the tempting catalogue of books published by CUP, and I have decided to highlight a few in each subject area.

Natural history
Among other natural history books the Press has available the following:

Going Native: Making use of New Zealand's native plants
Ian Spellerberg & David Given
This book is a rich compendium of ideas, describing the many and varied practical uses of New Zealand native plants. It includes varied contributions ranging from gardening experts to school children, making it a book by New Zealanders for New Zealanders.
Published 2004

Flight of the Huia: Ecology and conservation of New Zealand's frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals
Kerry-Jayne Wilson
This book tells the story of New Zealand's birds, mammals, reptiles and frogs, from their Gondwanan origins to the arrival of the first rats, then people and their camp followers. The loss of now-extinct birds and the introduction of other species have changed ecological systems in this country for ever. In the last fifty years New Zealand has become a world leader in the conservation of endangered species. Flight of the Huia reviews the way our attitudes to and management of conservation have changed during this time.
Published 2004


The Big Blue: Snapshots of the 1951 Waterfront Lockout
David Grant (Ed)
In February 2001 the Trade Union History Project ran a seminar in Wellington to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the lockout. This book includes twenty one chapters, each by a speaker at the seminar and the work of cartoonists Max Bollinger and Len Gale, poet Bill Sewell and several anonymous poets of the time.
Published June 2004

'The Big Blue: Snapshots of the 1951 Waterfront Lockout' by David Grant
"The Big Blue: Snapshots of the 1951 Waterfront Lockout" by David Grant

Polar Castaways:
The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton
Richard McElrea & David Harrowfield

After some 85 years, this book is the first in-depth account of the Ross Sea Party, the drift of the Aurora and the relief expedition under the command of polar veteran Captain J. K. Davis. The book has been written almost entirely from primary sources and includes a number of photographs never previously published, as well as maps and other illustrations.
Published July 2004

'Polar Castaways: The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton' by Richard McElrea & David Harrowfield
"Polar Castaways: The Ross Sea Party (1914-17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton" by Richard McElrea & David Harrowfield

Pacific history

Worlds Apart: A new history of the Pacific Islands
I C Campbell
The author's History of the Pacific Islands has been completely revised, largely rewritten and expanded to bring the story of the Pacific Islands up to the present. It offers a concise, straightforward narrative in a clear, readable style, designed not for fellow academics but for the many people who want to know 'what happened'.
Published 2003


The Basin: An illustrated history of the Basin Reserve
Don Neely & Joseph Romanos
Don Neely has had a lifetime of involvement with cricket and the Basin Reserve where he watched cricket, captained and selected Wellington teams. He was a New Zealand selector for fourteen years. Joseph Romanos is a well known author and journalist with many publications to his name.
Published 2003

Forerunners of the All Blacks: the 1888-89 New Zealand Native Football Team in Britain, Australia and New Zealand
Greg Ryan
The real 'Originals' were not the All Black team who toured Britain in 1905-6, but the Native team of 1888-89. The first international rugby team ever to tour Britain, they played an astonishing 107 matches - against more difficult opposition than anything encountered by the famed 1905 and 1924 All Blacks. This is their fascinating, hitherto untold story.
Published 1993

Christchurch and Canterbury

L yttelton: Port and Town: An illustrated history
Geoffrey W Rice

This new publication traces the development of Lyttelton from 1770 when James Cook's Endeavour sailed past the entrance to the harbour through the preparation for the arrival of the settlers in 1850, the development of the town and the port and its ups and downs to the busy port of the twenty-first century.
Published 2004

'Lyttelton: Port and Town - An illustrated history' by Geoffrey W Rice
"Lyttelton: Port and Town - An illustrated history" by Geoffrey W Rice

Southern Capital: Christchurch
Towards a City Biography 1850-2000
John Cookson and Graeme Dunstall (editors)
This collection of essays presents the main themes of the city's history from its foundation in 1850 to 2000. It emphasises the city's distinctiveness and its development.
Published 2000

Christchurch Changing: An Illustrated History
Geoffrey W. Rice
This book tells the story of a major New Zealand city over the past 150 years, describing changing living conditions and social patterns and analysing what has given Christchurch its special character.
Published 1999

Fendall's Legacy: A history of Fendalton and north-west Christchurch
Frieda Looser
This book describes the history of the Christchurch suburb of Fendalton from its first settlement to the present day. It is lavishly illustrated with maps, street plans, aerial photographs and pictures of people, houses and buildings many from private collections and never previously published. Major themes include education, churches, trees and parks, and prominent citizens such as Ngaio Marsh and Kate Sheppard.
Published 2002

'Fendall's Legacy: A history of Fendalton and north-west Christchurch' by Frieda Looser
"Fendall's Legacy: A history of Fendalton and north-west Christchurch" by Frieda Looser


Rhona Haszard: An experimental expatriate New Zealand artist
Joanne Drayton

During Rhona Haszard's short life she distinguished herself as a "New Woman" whose social and sexual behaviour was highly controversial. She worked as an artist on the Channel Island of Sark, in France, Alexandria and London. Her career was cut short by her death at the age of thirty.
Published 2002

Easily the Best: The Life of Helen Connon 1857-1903
Margaret Lovell-Smith

Helen Connon is remembered for her academic achievements, being the first woman in the British Empire to get an honours degree. As the second principal of Christchurch Girls' High School she established it as a leading academic school. Her continuation as principal after her marriage to Professor McMillan Brown and after she became a mother set an example that few women of her generation followed.
Published 2004

'Easily the Best:  The Life of Helen Connon 1857-1903' by Margaret Lovell-Smith
"Easily the Best: The Life of Helen Connon 1857-1903" by Margaret Lovell-Smith

If this list of just some of the Canterbury University Press publications has whetted your appetite for more, then go to the CUP website.

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