Buller’s Birds of New Zealand: The Complete Work of JG Keulemans

A complete, all-new edition of the classic 19th century ornithological paintings of John Gerrard Keulemans for Walter Buller’s iconic A History of the Birds of New Zealand, featuring fresh reproductions of the original watercolour paintings.

Buller's Birds of New Zealand: The Complete Work of J G Keulemans

Geoff Norman

Foreword by Stephen Fry

Publication date: October 2012
NZ RRP (incl. GST): $150.00
Extent: 240 pages
Format: Hardback, 260 x 270 mm
ISBN: 978-1-877385-88-9

This edition is currently out of print. The new edition is still available.

Buller’s Birds of New Zealand includes the complete set of 95 artworks from both editions of A History of the Birds of New Zealand by Walter Buller and the subsequent supplement, specially photographed and reproduced at original size and in full colour using high quality modern printing techniques. Each bird painting is accompanied by a selection of Buller’s original, descriptive text as well as up-to-date taxonomic information in English and te reo Māori.

Uniquely, Buller’s Birds of New Zealand features fresh reproductions of the original watercolour-and-pencil paintings for Buller’s iconic second edition and its supplement, made possible by the author’s rediscovery of these works at the Ornithological Branch of the British Natural History Museum. Bright, luminous and clear, Keulemans’s masterpieces are seen here for the first time as the artist intended.

Bound in cloth and beautifully presented in a slipcase, this edition at last makes available the masterpieces inside the rarely seen, and highly valued, original books.


A full range of stationery accompanies this publication: cards, postcards, notebooks and a poster.


Joint winner, book category, Museums Australia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards 2013.

Finalist, Nielsen Booksellers' Choice Award, New Zealand Post Book Awards 2013.

Finalist, Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book 2013.

Finalist, Publishers Association of New Zealand Book Design Awards 2013.

New Zealand Herald Book of the Year 2012.

New Zealand Listener 100 Best Books of the Year 2012.

North & South Best Books for Christmas 2012.


‘We will never know first hand what those extinct birds looked or sounded like but here they are within the pages of this beautiful boxed set.’

New Zealand Herald, December 2012

‘A big, handsome book …The new Buller’s Birds of New Zealand, with its vivid illustrations, was produced with meticulous reference to the originals ...’

Dominion Post, October 2012

‘Superb, and cheap at the price. The creamy, heavy paper stock, the airy design, slipcase and gilt edges … Our national birds fly off every page as exquisite and bright and alive as the artist intended. Each painting and original 19th-century caption by Buller gets plenty of visual oxygen in the form of its own double-page spread. Excellent modern add-ons include each bird’s name in Māori, and a foreword by Stephen Fry (who calls the kakapo an “utterly endearing, fat nocturnal parrot”).’

North & South, December 2012

About the author

A keen tramper and ecologist, Geoff Norman holds qualifications in science and environmental studies and has worked in publishing for over 25 years. Buller's Birds of New Zealand is his first full-length book.