Uprising: Walking the Southern Alps of New Zealand

Author(s): Nic Low

NZ Non Fiction

This book is about walking as a form of knowing. Armed with Ngāi Tahu's ancient oral maps and modern satellite atlas, I crossed the Southern Alps more than a dozen times, trying to understand how our forebears saw the land.


What did it mean to define your identity by sacred mountains, or actually see them as ancestors, turned to stone? Raised in the shadow of New Zealand's Southern Alps, Nic Low grew up on stories of mountain exploration from his family's European side.


Years later, a vision of the alps in a bank of storm clouds sparked his return home, and a decade-long obsession with comprehending how his Māori ancestors knew that same terrain. Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, the alps, form the backbone of the Ngāi Tahu tribe's territory: five hundred kilometres of mountains and glaciers, rivers and forests.


Far from being virgin wilderness, the area was named and owned long before Europeans arrived and the struggle for control of the land began. Low talked with tribal leaders, dived into the archives and an astonishing family memoir, and took what he learned for a walk. Part gripping adventure story, part meditation on history and place, Uprisingrecounts his alpine expeditions to unlock the stories living in the land.


What does it mean to transport pounamu, greenstone, across three hundred kilometres of rivers and ranges for the first time in almost two centuries? How does it feel to climb the sacred peak Aoraki / Mt Cook, then deliberately turn back before the top?


And if you ignore traditional omens and try to cross the Main Divide in the dead of winter, should you expect to survive? Uprisingbrings a staunchly indigenous perspective to the walking tradition of writers like Robert Macfarlane.


It is an invitation to travel one of the world's most spectacular landscapes in the footsteps of Māori explorers, raiding parties, and gods. Nic Lowis a writer of Ngāi Tahu and European descent who divides his time between Melbourne and Christchurch. His writing on wilderness, technology and race has been widely published and anthologised on both sides of the Tasman.


His first book was Arms Race, a collection of speculative fictions shortlisted for the Readings and Steele Rudd prizes, and named a New Zealand Listenerand Australian Book Reviewbook of the year. 

$40.00(NZD)

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9781925355284
  • : text publishing
  • : The Text Publishing Company
  • : July 2021
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Nic Low
  • : Paperback
  • : 368