Monday, July 28, 2008

A Bitter-Sweet Story
Janet Hunt – Random House - $69.99

Winner of both the Environment category and the overall non-fiction prize at the recent Montana New Zealand Book Awards I was intrigued by this title as it was one of the few titles among all those shortlisted that I had not read or even at least browsed through in one of my favorite bookstores.
That has now been corrected and I have spent several hours over this past very wet and windy weekend in my favourite reading chair enjoying reading Janet Hunt’s highly accessible text and looking at the glorious photos from a huge variety of contributors.

This is at once a provocative, challenging and inspriring work of great scholarship and I thought the sub-title – a bitter-sweet story – so appropriate. At times I felt great despair at the enormous damage we have done to our precious wetlands, 90% of those that were here at the time of Cook’s visit in the late 18th century have now gone, while at other times I experienced great hope reading of the restoration and protection work that is going on and of the formation of the National Wetland Trust and its work.

This beautiful and important book deserves the widest possible readership which the winning of the two Montana NZ Book Awards will undoubtedly assist.
My warm congratulations to Janet Hunt (who also designed the book) and her publishers on a truly fine production.

Think about joining the National Wetland Trust, I have joined as a result of reading Janet Hunt's book, it is only $20 p.a. and they are doing a great and vital job.

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