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The perfect literary celebration of New Zealand birds.

A lively anthology of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, celebrating the birds of Aotearoa.

On the skyline
a hawk
languidly typing
a hunting poem
with its wings.
- Hone Tuwhare

New Zealand birds have inspired mythology, song, whimsical stories, detailed observation, humour and poetry. There are tales of shooting and taxidermy as well as of admiration and love. From the kakapo, kokako and kaka to the sparrow, starling and seagull, both native and imported birds have been immortalised in print.

This is a varied and stimulating selection from the flocks of New Zealand writers who have given our birds a voice. They have brought extinct birds back to life and even enabled the kiwi to take flight on the page.


Bird Words, edited by Elisabeth Easther, is rewarding on many fronts. It traces the history of our close engagement with birds from the earliest colonial discoveries (and killings) to the evolution of a far more nurturing culture. It features a careful balance of 62 works of fiction, essays and poetry, some of which will be new to many readers. It is also pretty, complemented by the dainty drawings of natural history illustrator Lily Daff. . . . Bird Words sings so directly to the heart.

Linda Herrick, NZ Listener

Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    October 2, 2017

    RHNZ Vintage

    240 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Fool Me Once
The Golden House
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Not Dead Yet: The Autobiography
The Princess Diarist
The Girls
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker
The Trip of a Lifetime