‘Birdstories’, talk by Geoff Norman (12 June 2019, Wellington)

New Zealand’s extraordinary birds

New Zealand birds – their discovery, their place in both Pākehā and Māori worlds, their survival and conservation, and the illustrations and art they have inspired.

In 1873, Walter Buller’s A History of the Birds of New Zealand introduced our extraordinary birds to the world, and in doing so led many New Zealanders to appreciate them for the first time.

This talk draws on Geoff Norman’s book Birdstories, which builds on that legacy, describing the birds’ origins and discoveries, their place in Māori and Pākehā culture.

Geoff also looks at changing attitudes and strategies to ensure their conservation and survival, and illustrates his account with how they have been depicted throughout the centuries — the earliest moa hunters’ rock drawings, the watercolours of Cook’s draftsmen, the 19th century ‘fine bird book’ lithography, and the work of our contemporary artists.

About the speaker

Geoff Norman was born in Wellington and has a background in science and environmental studies. He has been involved in publishing for over 30 years, designing, typesetting and producing books.

His first book, Buller’s Birds of New Zealand: the complete work of J G Keulemans, was published in 2012. It was the New Zealand Herald’s Book of the Year in 2012 and a finalist in the 2013 NZ Post Book Awards. Birdstories, published in 2019, was shortlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book awards.


Date: Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Time: 12:10 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), National Library, corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon