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Third Title In Non-fiction Series Recounts New Zealand’s Two Great Commodity Rushes

Colonising New Zealand was as much a scramble for wealth as an imperial venture. The rush to exploit the country’s gold and kauri is a story of innovation and determination, as well as greed and thuggery.

Released this week, Rush to Riches: Kauri and Gold tells how the discovery of gold in New Zealand in the 1800s led thousands of people to rush to overnight tent towns set among isolated mountains and rivers.

Meanwhile in the north, vast forests of giant kauri trees cloaked the land. Yet now only a tiny fraction of the trees survive in threatened forests, and many goldmining settlements are just ghost towns.

The rushes of both industries drew Māori and British, and also Americans, Australians, Dalmatians and Chinese to these areas. They brought their cultures and adapted technology to extract their desired riches — kauri timber and gum from forests and fields in the north, gold from the rivers and mountains mostly in the South Island.

Rush to Riches explains gold and kauri extraction, and presents characters that became famous and infamous as they toiled to become rich. Plentiful illustrations and fact boxes show how these industries shaped our society and left their mark on our environment.

This is the third book from West Auckland publisher Oratia in The NZ Series, providing readers from intermediate-school age up with a range of rich, visually stimulating introductions to what makes New Zealand unique.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author Gordon Ell is a well-known writer and publisher with a life-long interest in New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage. He has written more than 30 books for adults and children, and was the founder of the Bush Press. Originally from Christchurch, Gordon lives in Takapuna, Auckland.

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