Wildlife of Aotearoa | Book Review

From the author of Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story, Gavin Bishop, comes this new incredible picture book Wildlife of Aotearoa. Spectacularly illustrated and spectacularly full to the brim with exploration of New Zealand and its awesome wildlife.

If your kid is a fact hungry sponge eager to explore & lap up the unique landscapes of NZ and its incredible wildlife then THIS book is for you, and your kid! You journey throughout NZ, through the ocean, over land and into the sky meeting the organisms that live in our seas, lands and even homes!

wildlife of aotearoa

From Below the Treeline – In The Bush you’ll learn about the Whio Blue Duck which can only be found on the mainland, and Weka another flightless native NZ bird that can run very fast when it needs to and is sometimes a threat to nesting Whio Blue Ducks. Who knew?!

The New Colonists is where a new hungry breed of wildlife was released, or escaped, into the countryside. 45% of the native bird species of Aotearoa has been killed off by colonists, including us! In NZ we now have trout, the Aussie Magpie, the Toriura Stoat and the Paihama Brushtail Possum.

wildlife of aotearoa

Wildlife in the House! Eeeeek! I’m not sure we really want to know all the creepy crawlies that could be sharing our homes with us, but if you do, there’s a bunch of them! Bed bugs & nits, blow flies & spiders, cockroaches & snails, hedgehogs and……….. the AVONDALE SPIDER/SOUTH AUSTRALIAN HUNTSMAN! Does Air NZ still spray inside the plane on landing because I’d like to know how the heck the South Australian Huntsman ended up in Avondale!!

The Marine Reserves Act 1971 created areas where people could not disturb the ocean, seabed or seashore. There a now over 40 marine reserves around Aotearoa. Snapper, blue cod, lobster and paua have all increased in numbers and size at reserve sites. Yay!

wildlife of aotearoa

Some Fish Enjoy the Light of the Sun like the Koputotara Porcupinefish which inflates when disturbed like a marine balloon looking like it might pop! Also the Manaia Seahorse who carries the females eggs in his special abdominal pouch until they hatch, awwww, and hmmmm.

Settlers from Polynesia – when Maori arrived they found Aotearoa to be a land of giants. There were giant birds, snails, insects and worms. Two of the biggest creatures were the Pouakai Haast’s eagle with a wingspan of nearly 3 metres, and the Moa, the biggest being 3 metres at full stretch. Now would be a good time to mention the giant penguin fossil discovered in NZ recently. Why were we the land of giants?!

Dinosaurs! Scientists used to think dinosaurs had never lived in Aotearoa but then in 1975 amateur palaeontologist Joan Wiffen found the tailbone of a theropod dinosaur, and we learned all about Joan and her dinosaur discoveries in The Dinosaur Hunter. Did you know Tuatara are descendants of ancient reptiles that lived alongside dinosaurs over 220 million years ago?!

wildlife of aotearoa

I could write more and more again of the discoveries we made exploring Wildlife of Aotearoa, the book is jam packed full of facts and figures, animals, mammals, reptiles and insects! We certainly couldn’t read it all in one sitting, this is a book to read page by page, or two to three pages at a time. At 5 years old River is that fact hungry sponge eager to encounter as much as he can, and amazingly able to store all that information and retrieve it again from his brand new brain. I was overwhelmed by the share amount of encounters to be made, but am as eager as he is to know more about the wildlife of Aotearoa, though the information may be lost amongst a lot of other information in my well lived in brain! Wildlife In the House creepy crawlies, Fish that Prefer the Dark and Quiet of Deep Water caught my sons attention the most, as well as animals that made it famous of course!

It’s an impressive book indeed, a feast of interesting and intriguing information about the place we call home and the organisms that share it with us (or used to!). A fantastic way to introduce your young ones to our landscapes, waters and wildlife, and to gently instil an appreciation of it. So if your kid’s looking to feed their hungry mind, or even for a change in-between creative bedtime stories, Wildlife of Aotearoa will satisfy their appetite, and will be a feast you can return to time and time again.

author ronnieWritten by Ronnie Swainston

Online Producer & Experiences Editor Ronnie is mum to two spirited kids who keep her on her toes. With a love for travel, film, tv, photography & (eating) food keeping her wishing for more time, & having a keen curiosity means she’ll give almost anything a go making her, and her family, up for the job!

Favourite place to be: On an adventure

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