A New Zealand Book of Beasts: Animals in our History, Culture and Everyday Life
Three NZCHAS members, Associate Professors Annie Potts, Philip Armstrong and Deidre Brown, have just published the first comprehensive human-animal studies analysis of New Zealand's history, literature, visual arts, popular culture and everday life.
A New Zealand Book of Beasts is the main outcome of an interdisciplinary research project supported by a grant from the Marsden Fund.
The book is divided into four sections. Part One, 'Animal Icons' offers a history and analysis of the meanings associated with four 'totem' NZ animals: moa, sheep, dolphin and whale, Part Two, 'Companion Animals', provides a detailed history of 'pet' relationships from pre-European times to the present. In the third part, 'Art Animals', examines engagement with animals in a wide range of visual arts, focussing in particular on indigenous Māori traditions and on contemporary artists. And the final section, 'Controversial Animals', explores New Zealanders' complex and sometimes contradictory attitudes to animals we think of as 'pests', and those we farm for food.
'A New Zealand Book of Beasts ... will prove a treasure to anyone interested in an in-depth look at animals in New Zealand that goes beyond the stereotypes.' – Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, New Zealand Listener.
Download review on Radio NZ National here.