A creative non-fiction story about Abel Tasman's journey to Tasmania, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

MORE THAN 300 YEARS AGO, a young Dutch sailor named ABEL TASMAN stood on the prow of a ship that he and his crew had sailed across wild, unchartered waters.

In the distance, through a shroud of mist, the rugged outline of steep hills rose from the ocean waves. COULD THIS BE TERRA AUSTRALIS - THE GREAT SOUTHERN LAND?

Abel Tasman and his crew were most likely the first Europeans the Aboriginal people of Australia and the Maori of New Zealand had ever seen. JOIN THE JOURNEY and DISCOVER THE LEGACY left behind.


For me, the highlight of an already good book is the illustrations. My mouth actually dropped open on about the third page, as the use of light was just stunning. The illustrations have a clarity and almost photographic reality that is just magic, and which I’m more used to seeing in art galleries. They are truly beautiful, and will keep me coming back to the story long after I’ve memorised the text. Read the full review.

The dramatic illustrations of Marco Ivančić and the storytelling of Maria Gill bring the world of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman to life. Read the full review.

Sample - Abel Tasman 2

Sample page - Abel Tasman

Sample - Abel Tasman 1

Sample page - Abel Tasman

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Journal Note

Several years ago, I toured the Nelson region and heard about the first encounter of Maori and Europeans in Murderers Bay (now called Golden Bay). I thought then this is a powerful story young New Zealanders need to hear. I discovered that no one had written a creative non-fiction picture book about Abel Tasman's journey to New Zealand and wanted to rectify that. The books I used to research the tale of Abel Tasman's exploration of the Southern Lands came from the perspective of the European explorers 'discovering' Tasmania, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and my first drafts reflected that. However, I wanted the story to be empathetic to the indigenous peoples Abel Tasman encountered and realised it was too Eurocentric. How can you 'discover' a land already settled by indigenous peoples and early settlers? To make sure it was a more accurate account of the encounters I asked experts from the three cultures (Aboriginal, Maori and Tongan) to check the text. With the help of the wonderful Scholastic team - Lynette Evans, Penny Scown and their very talented designer Luke Kelly, not to mention the gifted illustrator Marco Ivancic we've produced a book that we can be very proud of.

The Embassy of Netherland Ambassador, Rob Zaagman, kindly offered to sponsor the promotion of the book 'Abel Tasman: Mapping the Southern Lands' so that we could promote it throughout New Zealand when it's released in November 2017.

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