It Can Just as Easily Detract

A review of 'A Tramper's Guide to New Zealand's National Parks'

On the promise of a foreword by Sir Edmund Hillary, I picked up a copy of A Tramper's Guide to New Zealand's National Parks at a local book fair. It turned out Sir Edmund's essay wasn't as absorbing as I had hoped, he only wrote a few hundred words. Although the book itself turned out to be more useful than I had thought.

The Woman who Married a Bear

Sarah Jane Barnett on the mythical animals of Fiordland

Early this year I wrote a poem about black bears being released along the Rangitata River. It was the final in a series of six poems that make up my forthcoming collection, WORK (Hue & Cry Press). The poem was sparked by an article about moose being released in New Zealand in the early 1900s.

Swamp Thing

Exploring wetlands

There’s a wetland near where I live, a small part of a reserve bequeathed to conservation by a local farmer. I say wetland, but I have to admit a fondness for the word swamp. It’s always struck me as onomatopoeic, the sound of a misstep into the mud.

Deer Country

Riding the Timber Trail

‘Watch out for hunters. It’s the middle of the roar,’ says Edwina.

She sounds serious. I try to calculate the likelihood of two mountain bikers being mistaken for deer. It seems improbable. But the only time I hear about hunters is in the news when they’ve accidentally shot each other.

A Gateway Book

Reading guide books

It doesn’t have the heritage of a Moir’s Guide, or the buy local appeal of one of the many great books by Shaun Barnett or Mark Pickering, but it’s the one I started with: Lonely Planet’s Tramping in New Zealand. I was given it for a Christmas or a birthday maybe. That I don’t remember.

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