by Bruce W. Hayward
Aerial photography by Alastair Jamieson
Often in chatting with on-line international friends I mention I live in a city built on a volcanic field and actually live on the boundaries of one of the many volcanoes dotted on the landscape. It is a quick and interesting factoid to engender conversation and while there are many ways of describing Auckland to an overseas acquaintance this quickly recognises and celebrates the uniqueness of the landscape.
Beyond that, what do I know about the volcanic history, the likelihood of future volcanic activity or even the location and scale of the volcanic field? It transpires not as much as I thought.
Volcanoes of Auckland is a very accessible field guide (to slip in a backpack?) and through the use of many maps, diagrams and photos gives you an easy method to appreciate or locate an interesting associated geological feature. My lunch-breaks from work has had me trotting around the Auckland Domain locating volcanic bombs, recognising tuff rings and lava flows – certainly an enriching walk.
My recommendation is to go straight to the section on your favourite or local volcano and read from there as I found the first section rather technical and heavy to read – but useful to dip into when you want/need to.
As to the illustrations and photos – quite simply, there’s an engaging and comprehensive collection of imagery with my favourites being the historical photos showing old pumphouses, paddle-steamers, previous land use or views of an uncluttered Auckland.
The structure of the book is well thought out and the illustrations add to the content giving this book "pickup and browse readability" – qualifying it for a place to sit casually on your coffee table or as a gift for someone else.
I am enjoying reading this book and look forward to pulling it out when circumstance or choice provides me with a chance to explore or reacquaint myself to other parts of my city.
Author: Bruce W. Hayward
Publisher: Auckland University Press