The week’s biggest-selling New Zealand books, as recorded by the Nielsen BookScan New Zealand bestseller list and described by Steve Braunias


1 Kāwai by Monty Soutar (David Bateman, $39.99)

Number one for the fourth consecutive week; and the success may be set to go on and on and on, with Kāwai being only the first book in a trilogy of historical novels, spanning the 1700s through to 2018. “It’s like a history of New Zealand through Māori eyes,” Soutar (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Kahungunu) told Stuff. The second novel will cover the Musket Wars and the New Zealand Wars.

2 Eddy, Eddy by Kate De Goldi (Allen & Unwin, $29.99)

3 Kāwai by Monty Soutar (David Bateman, $49.99)

The hardback version.

4 Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly (Te Herenga Waka University Press, $35)

5 The Doctor’s Wife by Fiona Sussman (David Bateman, $37.99)

Psychological thriller; the longstanding friendship between two couples is shattered by illness and a violent death. The cover is rather um sparse and looks like it took maybe five minutes.

6 The Wrong Woman by J.P. Pomare (Hachette, $36.99)

7 Poor People With Money by Dominic Hoey (Penguin Random House, $37)

8 Auē by Becky Manawatu (Makaro Press, $35)

You may well have heard of this book. Readers of the Canberra Times were made aware of it, too, in this recent review: “A vivid and profound work that lays bare the serious social issues that affect some of the most vulnerable.”

9 Nightshades and Paperwhites by Sophie Rogers (Sophie Rogers, $38)

Historical novel inspired by a high school New Zealand history project looking at the experiences of Chinese goldminers in Otago. “Some of the stuff I found, I was really gobsmacked and thought ‘I have to do something with this’,” the author told the Otago Daily Times. Her debut novel tells the tale of a forbidden love when Chinese miners arrive to rework old claims.

10 Harbouring by Jenny Pattrick (Penguin Random House, $36)


1 Straight Up  by Ruby Tui (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

Memoir of one of New Zealand’s top sportswomen (gold medallist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the Black Ferns Sevens, named the world sevens player of the year in 2017). She writes, “Ninety per cent of the women in our team are Māori or Pacific Island. In fact, it was funny because when we arrived at the Olympics in Rio, we were so colourful we altered the ratio of the New Zealand team overall — it had been tipped towards Pākehā but when the sevens teams arrived we made the ratio real pleasing to everyone.

“The thing about Māori and Sāmoan and other Pacific cultures is everything’s for the family. It’s why people go to gangs, right, so they can feel they belong. So if this team becomes our family — a family outside of our family — we will do just about anything for it.

“Bunts [assistant coach, Allan Bunting] took that Māori identity and put it at the heart of the team — totally culturally accepting and welcoming to all. He used te reo when he coached us, but more than that, he connected us to something that’s a whole lot bigger than rugby. So we could represent not ourselves as individuals, but our culture and our ethnicity.

“His idea of the team as a waka is a Māori metaphor and made sense to all of us — the waka is what we make together. Mind, body, culture. It is quite a common theme in teams now, but back then not many people had done it; Bunts may have been one of the first in a professional team. He has since been approached by other professional coaches to help them follow the same theme.

“The tauihu is the prow that cuts through the water with puhoro — speed and dexterity — guiding us, leading us through unknown waters. We paddle together, our strength nothing without the others. And in our wake we leave mana. And that means our footprint on this earth, the thing that is left once we’ve passed.”

Clean and striking cover which looks like it took a lot less time to design than the photoshoot; note the similarity to The Doctor’s Wife (in the fiction chart) with its cutesy folding of a white letter behind Tui’s forearm.

2 Māori Made Easy by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $38)

3 Aroha by Hinemoa Elder (Penguin Random House, $30)

4 Miss Polly’s Kitchen by Polly Markus (Allen & Unwin, $45)

5 The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

6 Ross Taylor: Black & White by Paul Thomas (Upstart Press, $49.99)

7 Yes, Minister by Christopher Finlayson (Allen & Unwin, $36.99)

8 Needs Adult Supervision by Emily Writes (Penguin Random House, $35)

9 Māori Made Easy Workbook / Kete 1 by Scotty Morrison (Penguin Random House, $25)

10 Everyday Favourites by Vanya Insull (Allen & Unwin, $39.99)

Steve Braunias is the literary editor of Newsroom's books section ReadingRoom, a noted writer at the NZ Herald, and the author of 10 books.

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