Amanda Giorgis, Author

The book launch

Press release

A night to remember with Twizel’s very own author: Amanda Giorgis

On Wednesday 12th December, the people of the Mackenzie met the author of ‘The Wideawake Hat’ in The Musterers Hut Cafe in Twizel. Amanda lives in Twizel and indeed, has served many of us with coffees at the very same cafe. Who knew such a talent was waiting to reveal itself?

Amanda told us that she had been inspired by the awesome landscape, impressed by the tenacity and courage of the early settlers, who made their way here, and intrigued by the story of the enigmatic James Mackenzie. Was he a rogue or an honest Scot, destined to make his life in this new land?

The novel is a clever mix of fact and fiction and is set in the 1850s. It tells the story of how the early European settlers made their way to New Zealand and into the Mackenzie Basin to try to make a better life for themselves and their growing families. Of course, James Mackenzie makes an appearance and his story is woven into, and plays a vital part, in the lives and future of the Mackenzie people.

The evening was a huge success, people were enraptured by the story telling: books were signed and purchased and everyone had a great time.

‘The Wideawake Hat’, the perfect Christmas gift, can be purchased directly from and from The Twizel Bookshop and The Musterers Hut Cafe in Twizel.


What’s in the box!

Haldon Station

Tonight’s ‘Country Calendar’ on TVNZ1 showcased Haldon Station in the Mackenzie Basin, where fine merino sheep, beautiful beef cattle and skittish herds of deer are farmed.

I will not be drawn on the real or fictional location of Applecross Station, but suffice to say it cannot be all that far from Haldon and Grampian stations (both mentioned tonight), with the same stunningly beautiful views of the basin.

Have a watch of this episode – can you spot a Friday lookalike, perhaps?

Country Calendar


Good news

The printer emailed me this morning to say that the first 500 copies of The Wideawake Hat are ready for collection. So we have real books for the book launch next week, and I can fulfil my first online order in New Zealand!

We are on a mission to collect them from Christchurch on Monday along with a VIP who is flying into town that day. So we will return to Twizel with the car full of precious boxes and one very special passenger. All will be revealed………..!

I can thoroughly recommend Printabook – they have been so good to work with, and I love their supportive attitude. Here’s a quote from their free information book – ‘A Guide to Self Publishing’ which says exactly what I feel too :-

The publishing of a book or booklet is a major creative exercise. It will challenge you and sometimes be frustrating but the result will be that you grow and develop new skills which you didn’t know you had. Ultimately you will achieve something to be very proud of. We are pleased to be part of your endeavour and  wish you every success.’


Book Launch!

It is time to reveal the PAPERBACK version of The Wideawake Hat in New Zealand. The big launch is at 7:30pm on Wednesday 12th December at the Musterers Hut Cafe in Twizel.

Come along to hear how I came to write the book and meet the very special person who inspired me to put pen to paper. I will also be reading one of my favourite passages, so bring your box of tissues!

You can purchase your copy on the night in time for Christmas for $30, and I will be happy to sign it, and perhaps add a suitable note if it is to be a gift.

Note – you can buy a paperback version of The Wideawake Hat on Amazon anywhere in the world. The e-book version is available on Amazon and Kobo. And you can order your paperback copy in New Zealand NOW at Buy The Wideawake Hat (+ $6 postage and packing)

The event is supported by Twizel Promotion and Development Association.

tpda poster

Sophia’s house


At Toitu, the Settlers Museum, in Dunedin there is an example of the kind of home that George would have built for Sophia. Cob walls with wooden rafters and thatched roof, it would have been a sturdy little building but quite cosy for a small family. Sophia may have lain grass on the floor, or perhaps woven a rag rug, and George would have made the bed frame from the branches of trees around them.



The South Island is unseasonably cold and wet. In the last few days we have had the sort of rain that filled the river so quickly that it got in the way of George getting home from a difficult lambing. Our braided rivers are fed from the Southern Alps and melting snow and consistent rain has swollen them to bursting point. At times like this you realise why the river beds are so wide – they really do fill with water, creamy torrents carrying debris and causing a mist to form above the churning water. Truly an amazing sight!

Here’s the report of the day’s flooding in Otago, a little further south than us, but territory with which Sophia and her family and friends would be very familiar.