What’s your favourite NZ book/books? (2008)

In honour of New Zealand Book Month 2008 we asked you what your top New Zealand reads are. Here are your favourites:

What’s your favourite?

Was The Bone People the best NZ book you’ve ever read? Or was it Mister Pip? Or The Edmonds Cookbook? Here's your picks for best New Zealand books.

Winners of the NZ Book Month competition:

Philip Morgan, Rebecca Hill, Ngaire Matthews, Jean Britt, Vicki Ham, Colleen Stuart, Karley Johns, Andrew Gardiner, Roy Britten, Kim Salomonson, Sharon Biddington, Kerryann Murphy, Nelly Tennent, Mahara Tahuhu, David Morgan, Tracey Gibbs

(Thanks to the New Zealand Book month team for $50 voucher and a signed copy of the Six Pack)

Edmonds Cookbook - vast array of ideas and inspiration - never fail recipes!
Fiona Perkinson
Janet Frame: An Autobiography. I like the unique way she had of describing the world and how she overcame her crippling shyness to do what she wished to do with her life …write.
Rachael Stott
The Dream Swimmer by Witi Ihimaera. I loved the way that the book would reflect on the past and then bring you straight back to current times
Tui Kerei
Thieves by Ella West, very exciting, you want to read it all in one sitting, and she captures the thoughts of a confused 14 year old girl very well
Caitlin Godfrey
Boyz 'n' bikes
Anthony Fokkens
Canoe in the mistElsie Locke's Canoe in the mist. It moves along quickly and is about something that really happened in history. It describes what it was like to be near the Taraweara eruption, you feel almost as if you were there with them. It promotes New Zealand identity and treats both of our main cultures fairly without bias. Elsie Locke is the best children's fiction author in New Zealand. There aren't many historical fiction books about NZ for children, but the ones that are around are by Elsie Locke and are awesome.
Joanne Sinclair
Edmonds Cookbook- great receipes for the whole family clear instructions and tasty - I give copies as presents and they are well received
Rozane Duncan
Bastards I have met by Barry Crump because Barry Crump is a true Kiwi bloke. This book is filled with many stories about Barry Crump's travels and his meetings with many types of "bastard". He writes about the "Good Bastard" (Bastardus Virtuus), the "Unlucky Bastard" (Bastardus Rawdealus) and the "Intellectual Bastard" (Bastardus Profoundus), just to name a few. These stories are hilarious as they are based on the many oddities in the Kiwi character.
We can know some who fits some or all of the types.
Kim Salamonson
Edmonds Cookbook - it is just so good to read, have sent many copies to friends both around New Zealand and overseas as presents, and they have all enjoyed reading and using the book
Glenis Birch
The Edmonds Cookbook because it comes in handy on a daily basis.
Amy Jozwiak
My favourite NZ books are The Halfmen of O, The Priests of Ferris, and Motherstone, because I remember the depth of the characters, and have a nostalgic affection for the books I read while growing up, and Maurice Gee is one of the finest writers to focus on the darker aspects of human nature in New Zealand.
Philip Morgan
Hairy Maclary- Lynley Dodd
Patsy Pearson
Edmonds Cookbook - great as it has great kiwi recipes and it is a book which can be passed down from generation to generation.
Emma Heffernan
Edmonds Cookbook- Because I love food :)
Jaime Douglas
Edmonds Cookbook, because I use it at least once a week, I wouldn't cope without it!!
Catching the currentCatching the Current by Jenny Pattrick. Set in 1867 and interesting how they lived and what New Zealand countryside was like in those times. Very descriptive.
Belinda Whitehead
I loved Stevan Eldred Grigg's Oracles and Miracles family trilogy. (The other two books in the series are The Shining City and Mum). They are all entertaining and contain fascinating historical facts Being a Christchurch girl myself, it was wonderful to read about the way Canterbury has changed since the early twentieth century.
Sharon Biddington
Edmond's Beginners Cookbook absolutely fabulous for the young beginners and those who are still learning how to cook later in life. Easy to follow, simple recipes and great photos.
Kim O'brien
Under the Mountain, it was a fantastic scary and thoughtful read for my 9 year old self
Catherine May
Edmonds Cookbook. I've read many other nz books but i use this almost everyday
Katrina Coxon
Edmonds Cookbook - the best little cookbook around. Such great and pratical yet timeless recipes for the everyday New Zealander. Every teenager should be given this book before they leave school.
Rebecca Hill
The Nickle Nackle Tree. It is an early book by Lynley Dodd but very entertaining. I enjoy reading it to children as there is great opportunity to use lots of expression in your voice. This brings the characters alive and makes the children laugh out loud!
Lynne Penney
AlchemyAlchemy, by Margaret Mahy. It is very exciting, and the characters are realistic and grab the imagination
Kerryann Murphy
Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons Dairy. My 4 year boys love this book and read it all the time.
Sonya Knowles
Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons Dairy. Every time I think of this book it brings a smile to my face, I have such fond memories of this being read to be as a child and am happy to recreate new ones with my own children. It is a timeless classic and I'm sure in generations to come my family will still feel the same way.
Kiely Evans
The Well of Shades by Juliet Marillier because she's such an engrossing story-teller, and it's set in a very interesting period of history
Anna Kirkman
Ruth Park - her Autobiography is in my view one of the most readable pieces of New Zealand literature. It is insightful but unpretentious.
Jim Roy Tapp
It has to be the Edmonds Cookbook. I remember my Mum making heaps of stuff from this when I was younger and now I can make those things myself.
Kylie Andrews
The day after forever by Erin Skiffington. Although a lot of people would be put off because the writer was just 14 when this book was published, I strongly urge those who have not read it, to do so. This book is a story that anyone would be able to relate to in one way or another, it will have you laughing at times but for a majority of the book you will be crying. This is actually a book I would love to see be made into a movie.
Nelly Tennent
Guy Somerville
Guy Somerset, Arts and Books editor of the New Zealand Listener gave us his picks when he visited Christchurch for The Press Writers Festival:
Girls High by Barbara Anderson - Anderson was 60 when this book came out yet she had "a fresh young modern kind of voice". Tarzan Presley by Nigel Cox: "An amazing technical thing, incredibly audacious but the author makes it seem natural".
Edmonds has to be, it's such a classic and a great standby, full of inspiration!
Vicki Coats
Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons Dairy because it has been a family favourite for nearly 20 years now and survived several generations!
Ngaire Matthews
Once were warriors, one of the most gritty, realistic and thought provoking books I have ever read
Chris Harrison
Definitely the Edmonds Cookbook. I'm a terrible cook - I even have to look up how to cook vegetables. This book has saved me from many a cooking disaster... Wouldn't be without this book no matter where I live!
Jo Gillespie-Hickford
Mrs Windyflax and the Pungapeople. Absolutely brilliant story with great illustrations.
Deb McNabb
Hairy Maclary. My girls and I have a good laugh at all the animals strange rhyming names
Aimee Watts
Once were warriors by Alan Duff - a powerful novel bringing home the truth of family violence. The sequel, What Becomes of The Broken-Hearted, was also very well written and followed the characters well
Mahara Tahuhu
Whale Rider. This book is a book that could be read by many different ages. The story is so personal to all New Zealanders who are girls brought up with boys. I loved this book and have sent many a copy overseas to my friends around the world.
Paula Elliot
Fred - Barry Crump - one of the most down-to-earth books I have read. Some of the most humorous moments too.
Emerson Cheeseman
Moriori: A People Rediscovered by Michael King. I found this book fascinating and is a must for New Zealand history. Sadly the story of the Morioris is largely overlooked
Tracey Mcquarrie
Bent not broken - Lauren Roche I found this an inspiring read and would reccommend this to anyone that likes this type of book that spurs you on to make change.
Ruth Hampton
Yates Garden Guide is my favourite New Zealand book as it has helped me provide fresh food for my family for many years
Jean Britt
Bastards I have met - By Barry Crump. A typical 1970's kiwi-bloke, with hilarious but crazy tales from the farm!
Coral Fatu
Under the Mountain - I loved all these Maurice Gee books when I was a kid.
Emma Turnbull
Maddigan’s Quest - you can see the future of nz and diffrent cultures that could happen
Edmonds cookbookEdmonds Cookbook. It is part of the NZ culture. My mum used it, as did hers. It is a book I come back to regularly. So much the pages are nearly falling out.
Bronwyn Varcoe
Under the Mountain. I read the book and watched the TV series. The story was original and captivating. Couldn't put it down.
Mark Varcoe
What Becomes of The Broken-Hearted because it captures the reality of violence in NZ
Kiri Evans
Mister Pip, because it made me go want to read Great Expectations again as well
Rosie Orr
Edmonds Cookbook is my favourite book because I love to cook and bake and this cookbook is so practical. I do not have an original book but a photocopy of my mother's ( she refused to part with hers) and it's quite careworn from the frequent use. I have had it for the past 11 years and I still use it more frequently then my other cookbooks.
Momina Khan
Erewhon is my favourite because it is set in an almost timeless imaginary world which has many similarities to our own
David Morgan
PounamuPounamu Pounamu by Witi Ihimaera This book is made up of short stories which really related to me as a child. The stories combine a mixture of everyday Kiwi life but also of things Maori. A great read for anyone!
Vicki Ham
The Edmonds Cookbook of course because it has stood the test of time. Generations of Kiwi cooks have turned to this popular book and has become without a doubt an icon to thousands of people
Leonie Darling
Hairy Maclary, my kids used to love those and they were great fun to read to them
Annemarie Harvey
The Bone people was actually pretty good!
Tessa Bates
The Penguin History of New Zealand by Michael King is my favourite because I never really "got" the magic of our past until i discovered this book.
Katrina Gallen
Departure Lounge by Chad Taylor (2006). an evocative and thoughtful work thrusting modern New Zealand roundly into the literary milieu - a real work for a real world.
Ian Dalziel
In a Fishbone Church by Catherine Chidgey. This book just struck a tone with me, I felt a special resonance with the characters and their places.
Tracey Gibbs
THE MAN WHOSE MOTHER WAS A PIRATE by Margaret Mahy. This book incorporates many of the elements which make Margaret Mahy's work so popular with children. There is the love of language in the wordplay, the alliteration, metaphors and similes. There is the wonderful sense of the anarchic and the gentle mocking of the conventional as the boring little man is liberated by the journey to the sea with his pirate mother. The illustrations complement the story so beautifully too.
Andrew Bell
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. The plot is ingenious, the way he describes the different characters with such a diverse background. It was touching at times. A very wide look into other people's culture.
Paulene Gill Wilcox
Nearly every New Zealand child would have listened to Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons Dairy at some time during their early years. The Hairy Maclary series is wonderful, not just because it has such a strong kiwi flavour,but because it is appeals immensely to young New Zealanders aand their parents.
Nickie Dove
First Light by Carol O'Biso, is a hilarious look at the culture of Kiwis told through the eyes of an American who travels here to work on the Te Maori exhibition. And whose privilege was to accompany those Taonga on their overseas travels. She writes of day-to-day travel experiences with kind humour and her spiritual or magical experiences with awe and wonder.
Colleen Stuart
Hairy Maclary - my daughter loves reading and repeating this story
Nicki Smith
Finding Isabella, by Alison Robertson because it is so lifelike, and everything that Stacey goes through, it feels as if I'm there with her. It's such a cool book, and I really recommend people to read it!
Chloe Biddick
Its got to be the Edmonds Cook Book!! I've read heaps of NZ novels & have loads of cookbooks - but this is the one I always come back to!
Tracy Aitcheson
under the mountainUnder the Mountain by Maurice Gee - I was pretty young when I read this book but it’s still one that I love, in fact even 15 years on I could pick it up and have almost the same sense of wonder and mystery. I think this will always be one of my favourite books
Sarah Parsons
In my father’s den - a fascinating and moving story.
Rob Dowler
I would never have thought of the Edmonds Cookbook until you mentioned it, but I really have to agree now that it is the most useful book written by New Zealanders for New Zealanders. And it’s as popular as the Bible!
Dan Greenfield
Alex by Tessa Duder. Because it was the first "chapter" book I ever read!
Millie Thomas
Hairy Maclary and Friends - I love reading it to my daughter. Over and over again :)
Mark Ashcroft
The Edmonds Cookbook - this is such a classic, I remember it from my Mothers house, and Nanas and now it is used often in mine, it is helpful, nostalgic and very kiwi all at the same time!
Tracy Warrington
Edmond’s Cookbook - Cupcakes are the best... ever!
Julian Apatu
Tangi. Can’t remember who the author is but I think it was the first Maori authored book to be published in NZ. The imagery was brilliant, characterisation excellent and the storyline so simple yet complicated and told with such sensitivity and honesty. Just awesome!
Wendy Arman
Slinky Malinki Open the Door - by Lynley Dodd. Such great fun to read out loud, both my kids and I love the perfect rhymes and gorgeous pictures. Slinky Malinki beats Hairy Maclary paws down!
Tracey Alvrez
Bone people The Bone People. Somehow, incredibly, I found myself sympathising with Joe, the adoptive father, understanding why he physically abused the boy Simon. Powerful writing that shocked me into thinking things I never otherwise would have contemplated.
Liz Johns
The Edmonds Cookbook because I read it every week and love giving it as a gift
Karen Schou
BENT NOT BROKEN - Lauren Roche. This is a definite ‘can’t put it down’ read.
An incredible story from someone who has been at rock bottom in life and how the worst of situations can make you a stronger person and make you fight your way back up.. even right to the top! This real life story of Lauren Roche will have you laughing, it will have you crying, it might even make you angry, but one thing is for sure, it will get to you emotionally some how. It’s a happy ending for the underdog. Beautifully written, sometimes ‘raw’ really works to get a story across. I highly recommend this book.
Karley Johns
Edmonds Cookbook is a fail-safe read
Clarisse Sy
I loved Yvonne Kalman’s GREENSTONE trilogy books - Greenstone Land, Juliette’s and Riversong. Such beautifully detailed descriptions of colonial NZ. I read them several times each - something I don’t normally do :-)
Roanne Hautapu
Maddigan’s Quest! Simply a brilliant novel from a brilliant author that really brings the story to life! You MUST read this book before you die!
Olivia King
Lynley Dodds Hairy Maclary - in fact all her books. Iconic NZ kids books and great for adults to read to the kiddies!
Kim Reilly
The Edmonds Cookbook - no matter where I have been in the world I have always been able to open my Edmonds Cookbook and whip up something that bought the taste of home back into my kitchen.
Marise Gold
Barry Crump novels such as A Good Keen Man, Gold and Greenstone, Bullock Creek. He seems to have done the things he writes about, or knows people that have.
John Brigham Ward
Rita AngusRita Angus - An Artist’s Life by Jill Trevelyan. I’ve only just read it and was amazed by the intimate portrait of Rita Angus, revealed in her correspondence with many cultural icons of the Thirties, Forties and Fifties. Remarkable sense of place too, especially for a Cantabrian and a resident of Christchurch, as Angus spent a large part of her adult life based in Christchurch. A wonderful artist and a wonderful book to do her justice. Also love Rain by Kirsty Gunn and The Scornful Moon by Maurice Gee. Once again, both have a remarkable sense of time, place and cultural memory - so real that you feel like you have lived that moment and met those people.
Andrew Gardiner
Down the back of the chair by Margaret Mahy. I think it is one of her best so far and is wonderful to read aloud.
Jane Agnew
Maurice Gee - Plumb
Ken Perrott
The Penguin History of New Zealand by Michael King because it is comprehensive, up-to-date and packs a lot of factual information into each chapter.
Alan Tunnicliffe
Into the darklands, unveiling the predators among us (updated edition, 2005) written by Nigel Latta. (HarperCollins Publishers) WOW!! Forensic pyschologist Nigel Latta gives an all important and fascinating insight to criminals and criminal behaviour. An important must-read book for this time, considering our recent crime statisics. Superbly written by Nigel Latta.
Carole Louise Marfell
John Mulgan’s Man Alone is a great book on several levels. It’s a very well-written adventure story of one man against the world. It’s a look at society through the eyes of someone who doesn’t quite fit in. Most tellingly perhaps, it’s the story of a man overwhelmed by circumstances making the best he can of it. I read this book long before I knew it was a "classic" and thoroughly enjoyed it. Pay no attention to the overdone intellectual analysis and enjoy it simply as a good read
Roy Britten
Mr Pip

Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones. An inspirational and enchanting novel written in a fluent and passionate style.
Dorothy Rushbrook
Coral Atkinson The love Apple. Nice description of historical atmosphere
Wolfgang Kreutzer
The Edmonds Cookbook - a New Zealand family must, home cooking like grandma used to make, good kiwi favourites.
Charlotte Kidgell
I have recently read Union belle and Fire by Deborah Challinor, and really enjoyed both of them. I had read Gardens of Fire by Stevan Eldred-Grigg so it was interesting to compare it with Fire. I am looking forward to reading Tamar and the other two in the trilogy
Sarah Bowring
Station Life in New Zealand Lady Barker. Beautifully written fascinating account of early station life in Canterbury. Even though it was written at the end of the nineteenth century, her style of writing is not a bit dated.
Julie Aitchison
Banks Peninsula Cradle of Canterbury by Gordon Ogilivie. A wonderful book covering the history, geology, flora, fauna and people of this region. Beautiful photography. A must read especially if one has peninsula connections.
Vicky Anne Hutt
The Bone People is the best NZ book I’ve read because it was deep and captivating, hard to ignore and impossible to put down. It sent shivers down my spine.
Heather Mcguigan
Bulibasha by Witi Ihimaera. I love this book because it’s a great story about a young Maori boy growing up in New Zealand and his family.
Zac Harding
Mr Pip, intriguing
Paula Lloyd
Edmonds Cookbook - as I have used it for 50 years and given copies to all my children and grandchildren. Still using it!!
Mollie Woods
CurativeMy best NZ Book is The Curative by Charlotte Randall - For a book that takes place almost entirely in the main characters mind, it is fulfilling, rich and engaging.
Lisa Stanger, South Library
I love The Scarecrow by Ronald Hugh Morrieson. It has this dark quirky NZ Gothic atmosphere, and made a great movie too. ‘The same week our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut’ is surely the best start to any Kiwi novel.
I also think one of the genres that best sums up New Zealand is the sports biography/autobiography. It seems like every sportsperson comes out with one. I’m thinking back to the 60s and 70s and classics like Mud in your eye by Chris Laidlaw and Don Clarke’s The Boot.
Donna Robertson, Online Services, Central Library

Well of shades The day after Mrs Windyflax What becomes Whale rider Moriori Departure lounge Hairy Slinky Fred Down the back of the chair Penguin history Darklands Love apple Union Belle fire Tamar Banks Peninsula

What’s your favourite New Zealand book? - Te Ara's blog