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The Tasman


Biography of an Ocean

‘Whenever people interact with a sea of the Tasman’s nature, there is bound to be drama.’

The Tasman Sea casts a spell on those who venture into it. This book, a publishing ‘first’, tells the Tasman’s life story, from its earthly origins, extraordinary water bodies and strange life forms to its shipping and shipwreck stories, its yachting and heroic crossings, and the varied communities living beside it today.
In a sense it is the ‘founding sea’ of both countries. The first European settlements in Australia were on the Tasman’s shores, at Sydney and Hobart. The islands of New Zealand, according to southern Maori traditions, were discovered by the Polynesian demi-god Maui from the west, and the first Europeans also arrived from the west, led by Abel Janszoon Tasman, whose two ships made landfall on New Zealand’s West Coast in 1642 after putting Tasmania on the world map.
Today, the majority of Australians live close to the Tasman Sea whereas in New Zealand the Tasman coast is not nearly as densely populated as the eastern, Pacific side of the country.

‘. . . When it comes to national identity, the two nations may owe more to the formidable sea between them than they realise . . .’
The Tasman is . . .
A cocktail of ocean currents, eddies, upwellings and water masses ranging from the subtropical to the subantarctic.
A weather generator.
Home of the albatross, humpback whale, great white shark, giant squid and creatures yet to be discovered.
A challenge for mariners, from large shipping companies to the self-propelled.
An array of resources, notably fisheries and hydrocarbons.
The Ditch, spanning a cavalcade of mutual and competing interests, including trade, tourism, migration, sport and politics.


This extraordinary book is obviously the work of a man of boundless energy and enthusiasm . . .’
New Zealand Listener

‘Rarely does a book cater so comprehensively for every likely readership
. . . a superb memento for visitors to our corner of the globe.’
Otago Daily Times

"The ocean of tears and triumph."
Sunday Tasmanian, Hobart

". . . a generous array of superbly reproduced photographs of the sea and the people, places and creatures that live around, on and in it."
The Age, Melbourne.


Neville Peat


1 Cowal Street, Broad Bay
Dunedin 9014, New Zealand

Phone: +64 3 478 0803
Email :