Peat, Neville

Peat, Neville



In Brief

Neville Peat has published numerous works of natural history and environmental biography. These books range from regional natural histories and histories of Antarctica, to various studies of native birds. Peat’s writing has been nominated for a range of prizes, and he was awarded the 2007 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writers’ Fellowship, for his project on the Tasman Sea. He has also written titles for younger readers, and his approach to history and geography is fresh and imaginative.


Peat, Neville (1947 - ) is a natural historian, environmental writer and biographer. Born in Dunedin, Peat has worked as a journalist and an information officer with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (DSIR) Antarctic Division. He has been writing full-time since 1986.

Peat has published over 40 titles. These include regional natural histories and New Zealand guides, especially concentrating on Southern New Zealand, histories of Antarctica, and studies of birds, especially those indigenous to New Zealand such as the kiwi and the New Zealand falcon.

His book, Wild Dunedin: Enjoying the Natural History of New Zealand’s Wildlife Capital (Otago University Press, 1995) with Brian Patrick, won Book of the Year for Natural Heritage at the 1996 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Wild Fiordland: Discovering the Natural History of a World Heritage Area (Otago University Press, 1996), also with Brian Patrick, was also shortlisted for the same prize in 1997.

Other titles include: The World of Penguins, with Chris Gaskin (Hodder and Stoughton, 1991); The Falcon and the Lark: A New Zealand High Country Journal (McIndoe, 1992) and his best-selling biography, Hurricane Tim: The Story of Sir Tim Wallis (Longacre Press, 2005). His adaption of the same biography for children titled, Winging It: The Adventures of Tim Wallis (Longacre, 2006) was a finalist in the 2007 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and was listed as a 2007 Storylines Notable Non-Fiction Book.

Peat says of his work: ‘Although they range from Tokelau to Antarctica, my books have a mostly Southern New Zealand focus, with natural history and geography being major themes. In the Lark titles, I have incorporated fictional elements to help readers tune into southern landscapes and seascapes. The award-winning Wild series (with scientist Brian Patrick), broke new ground in natural history writing, describing the nature of southern regions such as Fiordland and Central Otago in detail from the rocks up.’

He was awarded the 2007 Creative New Zealand Michael King Writers’ Fellowship, New Zealand’s largest literary prize, for his project on the Tasman Sea.

Neville Peat lives in Dunedin.


Updated January 2017.