Wild Heart: The Possibility of Wilderness in Aotearoa New Zealand, edited by Mick Abbott and Richard Reeve (Otago University Press) 224 pp. $45; Making Our Place: Exploring Land-use Tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand, edited by Jacinta Ruru, Janet Stephenson and Mick Abbott, (Otago University Press), 243 pp. $45.
Although we are becoming an increasingly indoor nation, our wild and natural landscapes, our ‘clean, green’ image, and our agricultural heritage all remain strong in the identity of most New Zealanders. The topics discussed in these two books have wide appeal. Both books address current and contested questions about our use of and relationship with the land, and provide glimpses into history. My concern is that they may be read by only a narrow range of potential readers – mostly by academics and professionals over 40, I suspect, unless interviews, magazine articles, blog posts and so on can draw other readers in.