Geoff Chapple

ANZL Member

Photo credit: Miriam Beatson

Geoff Chapple writes on the New Zealand outdoors. He founded Te Araroa, New Zealand’s 3,000-km long trail. His book Te Araroa: One Man Walks His Dream won Geoff the Montana Book Awards Environment category in 2003. The power of words: he claims its writing converted the trail from a reckless dream to reality. His biography of Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who founded peasant schools in China, went through three editions, and his account of the widespread civil disorder that accompanied the visit to New Zealand of an apartheid-era Springbok rugby team, 1981: The Tour, is the staple text for that event. He strays sometimes into fiction and songs, writing the libretto for an opera, movie scripts (including a co-writing effort with Vincent Ward of The Navigator), and in 2007, the stage play, Hatch – a hit of that year’s Auckland Arts Festival. His book Terrain – Travels Through a Deep Landscape records his encounters with New Zealand geologists amidst strange and often threatening landscapes.

‘Chapple writes such distinctive prose – charged, mystical, funny, enthusiastic for life’ – wrote The Spinoff when admitting Chapple’s book South to its 100 best-ever NZ non-fiction books. ‘This account of cruising around the South Island with his wife and kids in a six-tonne Bedford is a supreme piece of New Zealand travel writing.’

‘A theatrical tour de force.’  NZ Herald review of Hatch.

‘He’s taken the study of New Zealand’s geological history – potentially impenetrably dense and dull to a layperson – and turned mudstone into a gem of a book.’ Otago Daily Times review of Terrain.



New Zealand Society of Authors writer page

Random House Books author page

Bridget Williams Books author page

Michael King Writers’ Centre advisor page


Radio New Zealand interview (Feb, 2016)

NZ Herald review of Terrain (Aug, 2015)

Bibliography: Geoff Chapple


Creative Nonfiction

Terrain (Random House, 2015)

Te Araroa The New Zealand Trail: One Man Walks His Dream (Random House, 2014)

A Walking Guide to New Zealand’s Long Trail: Te Araroa (Random House, 2011)

New Zealand North to South (Penguin, 1991)

1981: The Tour (A H & A W Reed, 1984)

South (Misc – Alliance Distribution, 1981)

Rewi Alley of China (Misc – Alliance Distribution, 1994; Hodder & Stoughton, 1980)



'My readers turn up...and I meet them as human beings, not sales statistics on a royalty statement.' Fleur Adcock

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