Walking up the boardwalk at Tiritiri Matangi and being surrounded by birdsong was a magical experience for us .As were visits to a few of our other sanctuaries where we have been privileged to see and hear some of our wildlife at first hand. Reading Paradise Saved beforehand would have added to our enjoyment by giving us the back story of how each of these sanctuaries came into being.
Paradise Saved tells the remarkable and inspiring story of New Zealand’s Wildlife sanctuaries and how they are stemming the tide of extinction.
Huge efforts have been made by the scientists who pioneered techniques to help clear offshore islands of pests, so providing safe havens for our dwindling wildlife population. These techniques are now also being applied to the mainland-and sanctuaries have appeared all over New Zealand
For New Zealanders who love to explore their own backyard it tells where these sanctuaries are located, and if and when you are able to visit them. The lovely photographs of the wildlife, the landscapes they inhabit and the rangers and volunteers who are helping to care for them will whet your appetite,
The battle to Save Paradise is unfortunately far from over.
“Where there is no pest management in the forests and parks we are still losing species at an ever alarming rate. Helping out at sanctuaries and helping to stop the tide of extinction is the way to protect our native species and reintroducing them to those areas where they have once been extinct.”
Thousands of volunteers have already answered the call and are helping out to support and run them.
Paradise Saved includes information at which sanctuaries you are welcome to help out and who to contact. After reading about the great work that is being done you may well l be inspired, as we are, to become volunteers.
Title: Paradise Saved
Authors: Dave Butler, Tony Lindsay, Janet Hunt
Publisher: Random House
Pete the Bushman: Hunting Tales and Back-country lessons from a Wild West Coaster
Pete (of possum pie fame ) is a free spirit who left his first wife and children to follow his dreams and become a full time hunter, part time traveller and good time guy,
He went through the school of hard knocks in his encounters with “weather and women, mountains, helicopters, running businesses and bumping heads with bureaucrats over possums and the politics of poison.” These days he lives in an isolated town on our rugged West Coast and has shared his life story.
There were some hilarious times, such as the mountain top wedding to his latest love Justine. She was fetchingly attired in a wedding dress made from bleached white possum skins. The men in the wedding party toted guns (not because it was a shotgun wedding) but because when hunters are on a mountain with a helicopter not having a gun is like being naked.
There are also some captivating passages when he waxes lyrical to describe the beauty of his natural environment.
But I can’t imagine taking Pete the Bushman to my book club. They would be as squeamish as I was when reading his description of hunting deer and reducing such beautiful and graceful animals into piles of flesh.
And their feminist heckles would rise at his description of returning from Tasmania in the early 1980’s with ‘a little souvenir’ in the shape of Annie, the new woman in his life.
Still there will be plenty of outdoorsy blokes who could find his hunting yearns and back country lessons entertaining.
Title: Pete the Bushman
Author: Peter Salter with Nigel Zega
Publisher: Random House
Te Araroa: The Official Guide to New Zealand’s Long Trail
We love a good walk but completing Te Araroa, New Zealand’s longest trail (3000km stretching from Reinga to Bluff) would be going too far. As well as its length the ten percent of the track which is for experienced trampers with advanced high country tramping skills would be well beyond our fitness level.
Fortunately Te Araroa has been divided into 113 parts from day walks to long tramps. Many are walkable by moderately fit trampers and walkers with basic skills. Hiking along some of these would be a wonderful way to experience the great diversity of New Zealand’s wilderness and the beauty of its coastline, forests, mountains, lakes and valleys.
A useful part of this book is the clear descriptions of the condition of each track, its length and what kind of landscape you will see. The 3D maps by Geographx and the many photographs are a preview of the magnificent scenery you will encounter along the way. And the accompanying stories about the cultural as well as the physical landscape give a glimpse into New Zealand’s history.
Te Araroa would be an indispensable guide for those who plan to walk all of it in one go or over the years. It would also be useful for those who simply want to walk smaller sections of it. I also like the fact that all the royalties from this book will go to the Te Araroa Trust to extend and maintain the track.
Title: Te Araroa
Author: Geoff Chapple
Publisher: Random House