6.00-8.00PM, 30 AUGUST



Novelist and historical writer Tessa Duder shares her passion for writing about significant contributors to New Zealand’s story: primarily the acclaimed English seafarer and surveyor Lieutenant James Cook who in 1769-70 literally put New Zealand on the world’s maps. She'll talk about her book First Map: How James Cook charted Aotearoa New Zealand, superbly illustrated by award-winning artist David Elliot.  


Award winning author Tessa Duder will be in conversation with Jackie Rassell. As Hamilton Book Month draws to a close, join us for a complimentary drink, lively discussion and book signing. Tessa’s books are available in the Museum Shop.


Photo credit: Channel magazine

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Tessa Duder was educated in Auckland and as a teenager swam butterfly for New Zealand at the 1958 Cardiff Empire Games.

She then trained and worked as a journalist in Auckland and London before marrying and raising four daughters in London, Pakistan and New Zealand. 
Tessa began writing fiction when she was 38. Her novels for young readers, published in America, Britain, Australia, Canada, and in five languages, include Night Race to Kawau, Jellybean, the Alex quartet, Mercury Beach, Hot Mail (with William Taylor) and the Tiggie Tompson trilogy. In 1993 Alex was adapted as a full-length movie.

Her non-fiction books include editing anthologies for both young and adult readers and in 2005 she published the first full-length portrait of Margaret Mahy.

In 2019 First Map: How James Cook charted Aotearoa New Zealand will be released as well as a new edition of the Alex Quartet.

She has been a judge for national book and short story awards, and appeared at writers’ festivals throughout New Zealand, Australia and USA.

Other literary activities include occasional teaching, visiting schools and serving as a Trustee of the Storylines Children’s Literature Trust of New Zealand.

She is also a Trustee of the Spirit of Adventure Trust, operator of the youth tall ship Spirit of New Zealand.

Among her awards are the OBE in 1994, the Katherine Mansfield fellowship to Menton, France in 2003, and an Artists to Antarctica fellowship in 2007.  

In 2010 the Storylines Tessa Duder Award was established in her name, in honour of the place she holds in the establishment of the young adult genre

in the New Zealand literary landscape.

Among her leisure interests are theatre, music, reading and sailing. She lives in Auckland, and has two grandchildren.



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Jackie Rassell is Teacher Librarian of Rototuna High Schools and is a strong advocate for reading and literacy. She has recently run a very successful Writers Festival for students at her school.



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