Bruce Ansley writes of a New Zealand he knows and loves. For many years he lived in a tiny traditional bach in Golden Bay, and he built a house in the far reaches of Pelorus Sound. He has worked as a commercial fisherman in Fiordland and as a deer farmer on Banks Peninsula. He has also called each of the four main cities home.
For more than two decades Ansley was a writer for New Zealand Listener, before becoming a full-time author in 2007. He has held fellowships at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and has won a number of journalism awards. His television credits include writing for A Week of It and McPhail and Gadsby.
Ansley made his first boat out of a banana box when he was eight years old, beginning a lifelong romance with the New Zealand coast. On a fine day he can usually be found out on the water in his Norwegian motor sailer. His most recent book, Islands: A New Zealand Journey, with photographer Jane Ussher, features islands from the Cavallis in the north to the Titi islands in the far south, in waters he grew to love as a fisherman.
Ansley’s 2012 book Coast: A New Zealand Journey, another collaboration with Jane Ussher, won Best Illustrated Non-fiction Book at the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2014. His other books include A Long Slow Affair of the Heart, the tale of a married couple’s canal boat trip through France; Christchurch Heritage, a personal account of what his home city stood to lose in its 2010 and 2011 earthquakes; Gods and Little Fishes, a memoir of a beach suburb in the 1950s and ’60s; and A Fabled Land: The Story of Canterbury’s Famous Mesopotamia Station, an account of life on the station founded by the novelist Samuel Butler. Ansley’s eighth book, Wild Roads: A New Zealand Journey, was an epic drive around New Zealand’s most dangerous, infamous, remote and remarkable roads.
Ansley has three sons and lives with his wife Sally on Waiheke Island.