Letters of a Naturalist



Susanne Hill, John Hill & Victoria Janecke | hardcover | 470 pages |

The Field Accounts of Richard Henry of Resolution Island

Richard Henry was New Zealand’s first wildlife ranger and a champion of our flightless native birds. Born in Ireland, raised in rural Australia, and having emigrated to New Zealand in the mid-1870s, he was appointed caretaker of Resolution Island in 1894, living and working – often alone – for fourteen years in wild and remote Dusky Sound in Fiordland.

Henry was courageous and resourceful, a skilled bushman, boatman, artificer, and a self-taught naturalist. He held quaintly unconventional views on many topics.

Richard Henry’s observations and descriptions of the birds and marine life of the Sound, his close relationship with its wildlife, his valiant efforts to save kākāpō and kiwi from the advancing tide of mustelids sweeping the mainland, and his translocation of the endangered birds to offshore islands, were pioneering contributions to wildlife conservation.

Richly illustrated throughout – with numerous contemporary and historic photographs, drawings, and maps – Letters of a Naturalist brings together his charming letters, natural-history notes, and early reminiscences, giving a complete and colourful picture of this truly remarkable man.

The fascinating and beautifully illustrated Letters of a Naturalist presents, for the first time, the collated writings of Richard Henry, pioneer conservationist and New Zealand’s first wildlife ranger. It is a testament to the tenacity and foresight of one man, whose efforts to save kākāpō and kiwi still provide inspiration and guidance to those of us continuing his work more than a century later.

Dr Andrew Digby, Kākāpō Recovery,
Department of Conservation

Additional information

Weight 4.5 kg
Dimensions 300 × 330 × 55 mm