When looking at the multitude of foreign animals and plants that have arrived in New Zealand, the natural reaction is to ask: Why were they brought here? Who brought them? And how? The acclimatisation of animals and plants is a fascinating subject, and probably one that can be best studied in New Zealand. The native fauna and flora were well catalogued before early settlement, because of the scholarship of the early explorers. The islands forming New Zealand were isolated for such a long time before their colonisation by man, that the impact of people and their plants and animals was therefore so much the more dramatic.
Some imports thrived beyond all expectations. Others became serious pests. And yet others failed to survive in the new country, despite constant dedicated attempts to introduce and cultivate them. This book is the story of these, and also of the people who worked with such dedication to seed the new country with the life of the old, and how optimistic, hard-working and just plain self-indulgent they were. Many of them lived to be maligned, but they were nevertheless the creators of much of New Zealand as we see it today.
The author was born in New Zealand and is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington. Exotic Intruders is her first work of non-fiction, as she previously wrote short stories for the magazine Te Ao Hou under the pseudonym 'Jo Friday'.
She is widely travelled, having paid extensive visits to North and Central America, most of Europe, the Middle East, and most of Asia, including mainland China. Her husband, an Englishman, is a souvenir of one of these trips abroad. He took many of the photographs for Exotic Intruders, and supplied the drawings of the ships.
Ron and Joan Druett live in Hamilton with their two sons, and the author teaches Biology and English at a local private school for girls.
The jacket illustration shows part of the town of Wellington, from a drawing by Charles Heaphy in 1841. Reproduced by permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.