“Takahe – Bird of Dreams” by Alison Balance, published by Potion and Burton. Price $59.99. Reviewed by Tony Orman
Zoologist Alison Ballance and Nelson-based publishers Potton and Burton have produced a very impressive book about the colourful takahe, a New Zealand native bird, once thought extinct but rediscovered by deerstalker “Doc” Orbell in the late 1940s in a remote Fiordland valley.
“Doc” Orbell was the founder of the New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association and his deep interest in the bird life and in particular the takahe reflected the conservation ethics and ethos that hunters can have towards wildlife and conservation. Trout anglers have a similar conservation values and rivers, mountains and bird life are all part of the greater experience and therefore of interest.
This book has been timed to fit the 75th anniversary of the Takahe Recovery Programme. There have been setbacks, mixed success and at times disappointingly slow progress but overall the programme seems to be succeeding, if slowly.
Takahe were twice classified as extinct but “Doc” Orbell’s discovery of the takahe colony in 1948 proved that premature. The bird was then classified as “nationally critical” but that has been since upgraded to “nationally vulnerable.”
Zoologist Alison Ballance, already an established author, writes so well in an easy engaging style. Meticulously researched and adeptly told, supported with great photos and wonderfully produced, it gets a top rating.
Very highly recommended.