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Once a Land of Birds

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About the author:
Magi Nams is an award-winning nature writer with a B.Sc. in zoology and an M.Sc. in high arctic plant ecology. She is the author of the family travel adventure trilogy Cry of the Kiwi: A Family's New Zealand Adventure. She lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband, and enjoys birding, gardening, exploring the natural world, and travelling to faraway places with spectacular landscapes and fascinating wildlife.

Once a Land of Birds

Authored by Magi Nams


Explore New Zealand's spectacular landscapes with an award-winning nature writer. Escape into more than 80 outdoor adventures, including wildlife research aimed at aiding endangered kiwi. Learn intriguing ecological and historical facts about the final large landmass to be populated by humans. Delve into Kiwi culture as experienced by a quirky homeschooling family.

As a writer, naturalist, and homeschooling parent, Magi Nams dreamed of travelling with her family to far-away countries to hike through landscapes inhabited by exotic animals and plants. In the summer of 2000, her dream came true when she, her scientist husband, Vilis, and two sons, Dainis and Janis, left their home in Canada to spend ten months in New Zealand. They didn't take much with them: some clothes, a laptop, binoculars, skates, sleeping bags, and a box of school books. They arrived in New Zealand wide-eyed and unsure of what to expect.

Once a Land of Birds, Book 1 in the trilogy, Cry of the Kiwi: A Family's New Zealand Adventure, follows the Nams as they plunge into an incredible travel adventure in a land of volcanoes, giant trees, and endangered flightless birds. Keen for adventure, and surrounded by South Island's spectacular landscapes, the Nams scramble up dormant volcanoes on Banks Peninsula, hike through Buller District's rain-swept, mountain-crowded valleys, and nearly get run over by a thrill-seeking mountain biker in the foothills of the Southern Alps. They tramp over windswept pastures, watch penguins swim ashore at Oamaru, slip and slide deep into a gully to find native palm trees in a rich coastal forest, and ride horses through glacier-carved Dart River Valley near Queenstown, the self-proclaimed Adventure Capital of the World.

Amid violent rain storms, hail, and scorching heat, the Nams settle into small-town life in Lincoln, New Zealand. Vilis begins his stoat research aimed at helping to rid New Zealand of stoats - public enemy number one of New Zealand's birds. Magi and the boys learn that New Zealand was the last large landmass to be populated by humans and delve into the history of this "land of birds" and its settlement by Maori and Europeans. The boys immerse themselves in Cubs and Scouts, figure skating, and tennis. They share a magical moment with black swans and strive to overcome a danger inherent in homeschooling far from home.

Along the way, Magi Nams portrays New Zealand's landscapes with vivid imagery and reflects on the impact of invasive species on the ecology of New Zealand's fragile native ecosystems, and the challenges inherent in living and homeschooling abroad.

Readers' praise for Once a Land of Birds:

Magi Nams serves up a delicious taste of life in New Zealand... Well-written, well-researched and well-documented, it's well worth the read. I'm looking forward to reading her next two books in this trilogy. Monica Graham

Once a Land of Birds envelopes you into one family's decision to uproot for a period of time on an adventure. An adventure of mind, body and spirit. A dream they dared to hope for...Her writing leaves nothing unturned and you experience the people, the life and the nature of this beautiful country. Tara C. MacDonald

The author paints a brilliant picture of the landscape, their experiences and I learned alot about a place I've often fantasized about visiting, which is a bonus. It's non-fiction, and a very pleasant and yet compelling read. Highly recommended. Michelle Helliwell

Other books by Magi Nams in the Cry of the Kiwi trilogy:

This Dark Sheltering Forest

Tang of the Tasman Sea

family travel New Zealand, family travel adventure, homeschooling abroad, family travel, New Zealand history, New Zealand nature, travel writing

Books>Travel>Specialty Travel>Family Travel

Books>Travel>Travel Writing


Books>Sports & Outdoors>Nature

Books>Sports & Outdoors>Outdoor Recreation>Hiking

Publication Date:
0993776701 / 9780993776700
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Travel / Special Interest / Family

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