south island robin

"This beautifully wrought novel set in the wilds of New Zealand southern West Coast during the gold rush days, demonstrates the manner in which all kinds of people were thrown together in a race for riches and survival. It abounds with adventure and romance, but it is the tender evocation of the natural world and the delicate interweaving of races exploring each other's cultural identities that gives this story its vivid edge." - Fiona Kidman

"A lyrical love-letter to our unique environment and history, told with heart and passion." - Mandy Hager

"This historical novel, set in the 19th century, plaits together tough as flax-root narrative prose and poetic imagery to tell a timeless love story. It links people with the natural environment, and blends languages, cultures, shared endeavour and compassion in a vivid multi-cultural epiphany." - John Weir

"Kathleen Gallagher's writing offers and exhuberant and evocative sense of a West Coast world that she clearly loves - only love could sense the sounds and smell of wet bush so sensitively painted here. She draws on the extraordinary historical mix of ethnicity, culture, religion and gender which frames the older history of Te Tai Poutini and constructs an intimate human mosaic. Her story is fiction which gives truth to place. Her sense of place gives truth to the fiction." Tipene O'Reagan

flax sandals

Drawings Michael Coughlan, Book Design Katy Yiakmis, Edit Liam Gallagher, Proof & Kai Tahu Translation Fern Whitau

Kathleen is a poet, playwright and filmmaker. She received the New Zealand Playwrights Award in 1993 and the Sonja Davies Peace Award in 2004 for the film Tau Te Mauri Breath Of Peace. She has authored 3 books of poetry, 17 plays and 7 feature films. Her highly acclaimed first novel Earthquakes & Butterflies was published in 2015.

Christchurch Book Launch & Shared Meal 6pm Friday 30 Nov 2018, Sacred Heart Hall 70 Spencer St Addington
  • Books($30) available 30 November 2018. Go to Purchase Books

    If you wish the writer to come and talk with your group please e-mail

    Copyright 2018 Kathleen Gallagher