I was kind of puzzled when I asked Denna what kinds of things she wanted to learn about this year and she responded enthusiastically with, “I want to know about New Zealand!”
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all she is a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and she loves geography.
I like to ask the girls what their interests are from time to time, when we have a little bit of money saved up, so I can buy books and resources to strew for them.
So, we both came up with this fun unit study about New Zealand.
Books for children about New Zealand
Man, I had some troubles finding books about New Zealand! I know for a fact that our library back home in Kansas has those country study books. Our library here didn’t have anything of the sort, so we were stuck with trying to find books online and through public domain sources.
We stuck with books that told mostly about the history of New Zealand and used online sources for most of our geography information.
- Pictorial Story of New Zealand (pdf download from archive.org)
This is a free download, and an amazing one at that. It looks to have been a reader for school children because it has study questions at the end of each section. The book is not even 30 pages long, so we just printed out the entire thing to put in Denna’s notebook.
- Hideous and Hilarious: 30 New Zealand Historical Stories (hardback – purchased through Amazon)
Our other main book for the study, this one is composed of short (2-3 pages) stories about all different periods in New Zealand history. Some of them are fables, some are re-tellings of eyewitness events, but all of them have background facts and information at the back of the book.
It has come to my attention that the Hideous and Hilarious book is not available on Amazon or Alibris right now. The author, Barbara Else, has written several similar books with short stories about New Zealand. Search for used copies at Amazon, Alibris, AbeBooks, and BookFinder.
We found this at the library on post. It has a brief overview of many of the countries in the world and we have been reading about countries that are in the Pacific near us.
Two fiction books that I found recently and ordered for us (we haven’t received them yet):
- Drovers Road Books – a set of 3 books set in New Zealand about a young girl who lives on a sheep station.
- The Weka-Feather Cloak – described as a “fantasy book of New Zealand”
A list of other books about New Zealand you can look for at your local library.
Websites with info about New Zealand
- People and Places: New Zealand from National Geographic Kids
- New Zealand timeline from BBC
- TIME for Kids: New Zealand
- Natural New Zealand
- Pukeko (New Zealand Swamp Hen)
- Why the pukeko lives near the swamps – a folk tale
- Tui – or Parson-Bird
- Kiwi – very cool video
- New Zealand Birds and Animals
Notebooking pages about New Zealand
For all the trouble I had finding books about New Zealand, I was surprised how easy it was to find notebooking pages on the topic!
- New Zealand History & Geography Notebooking Pages -free at HSLaunch – these are excellent!
- European Explorers to New Zealand -also free: we cut these out and glued them to cardstock to go in our notebook
- Great set of printables from Activity Village – we used the flag page and the coloring pages
- Free New Zealand Study from Knowledge Quest
- New Zealand Country Study pack from NotebookingPages.com ($4.95 by itself or free and included in my lifetime membership)
Videos about New Zealand
- Dances of Life (Maori excerpt)
- Amazing Life and Strange Death of Captain Cook
- Polynesian Seafaring
- New Zealand – Ultimate Journeys
- Treaty of Waitangi
And just for fun – Denna loved this video about the filming of The Hobbit on location in New Zealand!