Our Future Nga Tau ki Muri 2013 © Ans Westra, courtesy of {Suite} Publishing

Visionary new book from icon artist Ans Westra delivers directive to Aotearoa

A new book by celebrated photographer Ans Westra delivers a visual call to action to New Zealanders to consider the environment we are leaving for our children.

Our Future Nga Tau ki Muri includes 137 photographs shot by Westra on her trusty Rolleiflex camera over the last 20 years. The images show an often damning picture of what the New Zealand landscape has become.

Interspersed among the images is text by Westra and a selection of well-known poets and politicians including Hone Tuwhare, Russell Norman, Brian Turner, David Eggleton and former Prime Minister David Lange, who wrote a short piece for Westra as part of an unrealised book project in 1987.

“The purpose of the book is to give a directive to Aotearoa, an awareness of things changed and lost within its short history, and at this point in time call a halt to hasty decision making.” says Westra.

“Here and now we lay the foundations for the future for our children. If we don’t plan for the long term, keep taking stop-gap measures, which might feel comfortable now but damage the environment and exploit this still beautiful place, we leave very little behind.”

Despite the gravity of the book, the images and words also inspire hope.

“Instead of becoming like the rest of the world, this beautiful place should become a shining example of hope for survival in a newly balanced environment,” says Westra in the book.

Westra’s approach in Our Future Nga Tau ki Muri is inspired by highly regarded ecologist Geoff Park who wrote the acclaimed ecological history of New Zealand, Nga Uruora: Ecology and History in a New Zealand Landscape (1995).

“His immensely creative way of thinking gave me the impetus I needed when I began the project,” says Westra.

David Alsop, director of Suite Publishing Limited and publisher of Our Future Nga Tau ki Muri, says he is privileged to be able to publish Westra’s visionary new book.

“It’s timely that the important message this book carries be broadcast as widely as possible,” says Alsop.

Copies of Our Future Nga Tau ki Muri are available for $40.00 from {Suite} Publishing at Level 2/147 Cuba Street, Wellington, via www.suite.co.nz/publications or 04 976 7663.

Updates:
– Listen  to Chris Laidlaw’s interview with Ans Westra about this book, aired on Sunday Morning, Radio New Zealand, 5 May 2013

Interview with Ans Westra by Alexander Bisley (19 June 2013) for The Lumiere Reader.

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