You were in the right place if you were at Unity Books on Tuesday October 8th, as we helped to launch We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa. This beautiful book is the collaborative work of geographer Dr. Chris McDowall and designer Tim Denee, published by Massey University Press. There was a great vibe in the shop as folks grabbed a drink, flipped through the atlas and mingled with friends before the speakers gathered at the mic.
Nicola Legat, publisher at Massey University Press, welcomed everyone and introduced the authors. You got the idea that although this is a serious book, it was a labour of love and the team bringing it to life enjoyed themselves. Tim, a visual person, kept his time at the microphone short and sweet. Chris had a list of people to thank, including Creative New Zealand, whose grant helped fund the project. The crowd got a little bit of back story about the books genesis and five year gestation, culminating in “intimate little spaces for people to find themselves.” Esteemed cartographer Roger Smith officially launched the book with great praise, telling us “There’s no such thing as information overload. Only bad design. And there’s no bad design here.” Some of his mentioned highlights were the graphs on pages 40-41 (lightning strikes), pages 202-203 (Māori vowels and consonants), and the essays from various contributing writers that introduce each chapter.
After the speeches wrapped up, Tim and Chris were kept busy signing books for the rest of the evening.