Tapping into the museum's expertise, these new natural history titles from Te Papa Press are perfect for the backyard, bach and backpack.

With their accessible format and stunning design, they're a beautiful addition to Te Papa Press's narrative around our unique national identity and are sure to be a popular feature in stockings across the motu this festive season!

Native Plants of Aotearoa

Native Plants of Aotearoa describes and beautifully illustrates fifty of our most interesting and commonly encountered species. Written by Te Papa botanists, it includes useful descriptions on each species and insights into the museum’s fieldwork and collections. The illustrations are from Te Papa’s collections, based on sketches from fresh plant specimens collected by botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on board HMS Endeavour during the 1786–71 expedition.

About the authors

Dr Carlos Lehnebach (Te Papa Curator Botany) studies the diversity, evolution and conservation of New Zealand flowering plants. His main groups of interest are terrestrial and epiphytic orchids, alpine plants, and plants shared with other land masses in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dr Heidi Meudt (Te Papa Curator Botany) is a researcher whose collections-based research focuses on the evolution and classification of native New Zealand flowering plants, especially forget-me-nots. Her research aims to update the taxonomy and conservation status of all native forget-me-nots.

An excerpt from 10 Questions with the authors

What’s one new thing about our plants that you learnt while writing this book?

Heidi Meudt: I actually learned quite a lot in writing this book! For example, the tiny bead plant was once a food source for giant moa, which shows that even small, inconspicuous plants are an important and integral part of the ecology of our native bush.

Carlos Lehnebach: That glassworts (Salicornia) were used in glass making! The plants were collected and burned, then its ashes collected, soaked in water, strained and boiled. What is left after the water has evaporated is soda ash, which is used in the glass-making process.

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Native Birds of Aotearoa

Describing sixty of our most interesting species – forest, garden, wetland, coastal, alpine and marine birds – reflecting the range of subtropical, temperate and subantarctic habitats across our islands, Native Birds of Aotearoa is written by Birds New Zealand editor, Michael Szabo, and with an introduction by Te Papa Curator Vertebrates, Alan Tennyson,

Published in collaboration with Birds New Zealand. Native Birds includes ornithologist notes on each species and insights into the museum’s fieldwork and collections. Charming original illustrations from the 1930s have been complemented in the same style by illustrator Pippa Keel.

About the author

Michael Szabo is editor of Birds New Zealand magazine and a significant contributor to New Zealand Birds Online. He was principal author of Wild Encounters: A Forest & Bird guide to discovering New Zealand’s unique wildlife (2009), a former editor of Forest & Bird magazine, and has written for New ScientistNew Zealand Geographic and the Sunday Star-Times.

An excerpt from 10 questions with the author

Which bird has the most beautiful call?

The North Island kōkako has the longest known duet performance of any songbird species in the world, and – for me at least – is our most sublime songster, evoking the hauntingly beautiful sound of Aotearoa’s ancient forests.

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