Amanda Giorgis, Author

Crack willow, Russel lupin, buddleia, alder, elderberry, cotoneaster, gooseberry, flowering currant, raspberry and hops

That title reads like a link to the local Garden Centre  – but no, this is the list of invasive weeds that will be targeted in the Hopkins River and Dobson Valley area on the western edge of the Mackenzie Basin. Whereas we would probably enjoy these plants in our gardens, they thrive in the wild and have the ability to affect the natural ecosystem in which they grow. None of these plants would have been here at the time that James and Sophia set up Applecross. Great to see they will be replanting with native species too.

Read more here :-

Bid to protect 40,000ha of South Island high country from invasive weeds



If you’ve read the Prologue in The Wideawake Hat you would have met Hinewai, the maori girl who catches an eel for supper. Hinewai, who’s name means ‘water maiden’, we find out later, is Atewhai’s mother.

Hinewai is also the name of an ecological restoration project on Banks Peninsula, privately owned and managed by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust, but freely open the public on foot. It is a magical and beautiful place. Hinewai celebrates its 30th birthday this year and a film has been made to celebrate. I recommend it to you.

Fools & Dreamers is a 30-minute documentary telling the story of Hinewai Nature Reserve, on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula, and its kaitiaki/manager of 30 years, botanist Hugh Wilson. We learn about the commitment of Hugh and the Maurice White Native Forest Trust to regenerate marginal, hilly farmland into native forest, using a minimal interference method that allows nature to do the work, giving life to over 1500 hectares of native forest, waterways, and the creatures that live within them.


Record-setting dog, Jack!


Wow – I wonder how much Friday would be worth these days?

Record-setting $10,000 dog

Note – the photo above is of Alfie, our very first foster pup from Dog Rescue Dunedin who now lives and works in the Mackenzie Basin.

No spoilers here!


Time to tickle your tastebuds for Book Two of the Applecross Saga – due for publication Spring 2019. (Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, that is!)

Without giving too much away, the working title of the book is ‘Shepherd’s Delight’ and the subjects of my research include (in no particular order) :-

  • early photography and the wet collodian process
  • the photograph alleged to have been of Friday
  • the Otago gold rush
  • the Carrington event
  • the British Army in India
  • Acclimatisation societies
  • horse racing in New Zealand in the 1850s and 60s
  • the history of fences in New Zealand

The continuing story of Sophia and James and their friends and family, with the addition of a few new faces, and one or two we lose as well (tissues required).

Someone is looking for James………..?


The Wideawake Hat is currently available for review on NetGalley.

Download and read it for free anytime in June. The only commitment you make is to write a review – good or bad – just a review!

Sign up at NetGalley to be a reviewer and earn this badge, just like I did :-

Professional Reader

The Waitaki River


IMG_0909Earlier this week Terry and I flew from Christchurch to Invercargill on our way to Stewart Island. The plane travels at about 16,000 feet which, in clear conditions, gives passengers an impressive view of the South Island, similar to looking down at the map.

Here we are flying over the Waitaki River, just north of Oamaru. This mighty braided river is the one that Sophia and George came across as they headed up the coast from Port Chalmers. You can see why they chose to turn inland rather than cross the wide mouth of the river. And the rest, as they say, is history…….

Between Gallagher and Gnanalingam

‘The Wideawake Hat’ is now available from Scorpio Books. Here are some details about this amazing independent bookshop in the new BNZ Centre, just off  Cathedral Square in Christchurch :-

“Established 40 years ago, Scorpio Books is a Christchurch institution. It is the best place to go to browse and buy books in Christchurch, or if you get stuck, we encourage you to come ask our knowledgeable staff for a recommendation.
We have an extensive range of books covering a variety of genres, and if you can’t find it on our shelves, we’ll be more than happy to source it for you if it is still in print. We invite you to sink into one of the old-fashioned leather chairs placed around our shop as you browse.
We also have an online store, and offer free shipping within New Zealand for online orders.”

So you will find ‘The Wideawake Hat’ on the NZ fiction shelf, in strict alphabetical order, between ‘Inangahua Gold’ by Kathleen Gallagher and the intriguingly named ‘A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse’ by Brannavan Gnanalingam.

To be honest, I would be tempted to buy all three……..!


With thanks to Mark Harris for the photos.