The best-selling books at Matariki Weekend – Newsroom

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The week’s biggest-selling New Zealand books, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias


1 Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers, $35)

Well so would you just look at that! Both the number best-selling work of fiction and the number one best-selling work of non-fiction this week are published by Huia. It’s surely a first in the history of this Māori -owned  independent firm established in 1991 by Robyn Rangihuia Bargh and Brian Bargh.

In a terrific interview with Dale Husband for e-tangata, Robyn said, “What got me into publishing was that I became conscious that, overseas, people were writing about injustice and the experience of black and indigenous people, and we didn’t have much of that publishing here.

“I grew up in a small Māori community with a marae, a church, a school and some farms. But, in New Zealand literature, very little of that Māori life was written about.” The experiences I had as a child at Horohoro, just south of Rotorua, weren’t talked about, even though it would be fairly common for us to come home from school in the bus, hop off at the marae, and go to some marae event. Back at school the next day, it didn’t even occur to me to say that I’d been to the marae the night before.

“My husband, Brian Bargh, and I spent three years in Papua New Guinea in the 1980s, and that’s where I had an introduction to publishing. That’s when I saw that there were a whole lot of our stories that needed to be told.”

Happy Matariki weekend to Huia and all who sail in their waka.

2 Harbouring by Jenny Pattrick (Penguin Random House, $36)

3 Winter Time by Laurence Fearnley (Penguin Random House, $36)

A few days ago I commissioned author Owen Marshall to review Fearnely’s latest novel, set in the McKenzie Country.

4 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Victoria University Press, $35)

5 The Leonard Girls by Deborah Challinor (HarperCollins, $36.99)

6 How to Loiter In a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin Random House, $28)

7 Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35)

8 The Leaning Man by Anne Harré (The Cuba Press, $37)

Thriller set in Wellington, with cover set, thrillingly, in Wellington, as below.

9 Isobar Precinct by Angelique Kasmara (The Cuba Press, $37)

Longlisted this week for best novel at the 2022 Ngaio Marsh Awards for crime writing.

10 Notorious by Olivia Hayfield (Hachette, $34.99)


1 Matariki: The Star of the Year by Rangi Matamua (Huia Publishers, $35)

Published in 2017, back when the idea of Matariki being staged as a public holiday was not an idea in the head of anyone in a position of power or influence; but we are, happily, and here is proof of the new thirst and demand for a book published five years by a publisher which has long operated with its pulse on the future. Also: great cover!

2 Yum by Nadia Lim (Nude Food Inc, $55)

A few weeks ago I commissioned writer and comedian Cori Gonzalez-Macuer to review Lim’s latest cookbook, and I have every faith he will deliver when he is good and ready.

3 The Boy from Gorge River by Chris Long (HarperCollins, $39.99)

4 Solo by Hazel Phillips (Massey University Press, $ 39.99)

Good blurbology at work here: “One afternoon in Auckland, journalist Hazel Phillips decided to close her laptop and head for the hills. She then spent the next three years living in mountain huts and tramping alone for days at a time, all the while holding down a full-time job.

“As she ranged from Arthur’s Pass and the Kaimanawa Forest Park to the Ruahine Range and Fiordland, she had her share of danger and loneliness, but she also grew in confidence and backcountry knowledge. Her story of this solo life is an absorbing blend of adventure and humour, combined with her research into tales from the past of ambition and death in the mountains. She also casts a feminist eye over the challenges women climbers and explorers faced.”

5 Aroha by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

6 A Gentle Radical by Gareth Hughes (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

Auckland bores talk property; Wellington bores talk culture. One such Wellington bore took to the Instagram machine after I reviewed Hughes’s biography and said something along the lines that I was bad, bad, the meanest cat in the whole damned town. Oh whatever. From that review:A Gentle Radical provides a neat history of the first urgent alarms of the energy crisis and the progress made to do something about it during Fitzsimons’ career. But not a word is heard against her or the way she went about things in Hughes’ admiring testimonial. It’s not a robust book in that sense. What were her failings, her bunglings, her mistakes? Nothing to see here, Hughes smiles and waves. Move along.

“Still, it’s reasonable to agree with Hughes’s hagiographic conviction that Fitzsimons had a goodness about her. It’s a thrill to read the way that being made intellectually aware gave her the purpose of mind to see the future and try to change it.”

7 The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

8 I am Autistic by Chanelle Moriah (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

Shortlisted for the best first book award at this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

9 Simple Wholefoods by Sophie Steevens (Allen & Unwin, $49.99)

10 Imagining Decolonisation by Rebecca Kiddle & Bianca Elkington & Moana Jackson et al. (Bridget Williams Books, $14.99)

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