Memoir Bundle

Bill & Shirley, Tree of Strangers, The Forgotten Coast

Keith Ovenden, Barbara Sumner, Richard Shaw

book cover for Memoir Bundle

Hard cover


Three essential family stories from Aotearoa New Zealand

Buy all three of the books in our memoir series and get 40% off the RRP.

Bill & Shirley

Bill Sutch and Shirley Smith were two of New Zealand’s most significant twentieth-century figures: Sutch as an economist, influential civil servant, and inspirational proponent of innovation in the fields of social and economic development; and Smith as a glass-ceiling breaker and sole practitioner in the formerly male dominated world of the law.

This wise, urbane memoir begins with the early years of Keith Ovenden’s marriage to their only child, Helen Sutch, and carries through to Sutch’s trial on charges brought against him under the Official Secrets Act, all the way to Shirley’s death over thirty years later.

It offers unprecedented insights into the accusations against Sutch, as well as Smith’s remarkable legal practice, and behind both, some of the dramas of their domestic life. Deeply intelligent and beautifully crafted, it offers a unique and intimate study of two complex and fascinating New Zealanders.

Tree of Strangers

‘I live at the end of a gravel road at the top of a valley consumed by bush. My husband is here, and my three girls. But the bush swallows them up like the road.’ I wrote those words at the kitchen table in 1983. A letter to the mother I’d never met. But how do you convey your life in a few sentences when almost every memory is missing?

Barbara Sumner grew up in a family filled with secrets and lies. At twenty-three she decided she had to find her mother. Remarkable, moving, beautifully written, Tree of Strangers is a gripping account of a search for identity in a country governed by adoption laws that deny the rights of the adopted person.

The Forgotten Coast

‘You approach family stories with caution and care, especially when a thing long forgotten is uncovered in the telling.’

In this deft memoir, Richard Shaw unpacks a generations-old family story he was never told: that his ancestors once farmed land in Taranaki which had been confiscated from its owners and sold to his great-grandfather, who had been with the Armed Constabulary when it invaded Parihaka on 5 November 1881.

Honest, and intertwined with an examination of Shaw’s relationship with his father and of his family’s Catholicism, this book’s key focus is urgent: how, in a decolonising world, Pākehā New Zealanders wrestle with, and own, the privilege of their colonial pasts.

  • CATEGORY: Biography and memoir, History, Contemporary issues, Special offer bundles
  • ISBN: 9780995131835, 9780995135406, 9780995143142
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 01/11/2021
  • PAGE EXTENT: 256
  • FORMAT: Hard cover
Profile image for Barbara Sumner

Barbara Sumner has worked in film and journalism, and is a graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.

Profile image for Keith Ovenden

Keith Ovenden ONZM is a former university lecturer in political sociology, and radio and television broadcaster and commentator.

Profile image for Richard Shaw

Richard Shaw is Professor of Politics at Massey University whose research is published in leading international journals. He is a regular commentator on political issues.