Philip Temple


Beak of the Moon

Beak of the Moon

In the remote valleys of the Southern Alps, the timeless and balanced world of the mountain parrot, kea, is suddenly disrupted by the mysterious appearance of the strange birds with no wings. The destruction they cause brings hardship and corruption to Strongbeak’s homeland of Kawee . He and his friends are forced to flee the evil dictates of boss Highfeather and take off on an adventurous quest for a new world beyond the mountains.

Philip Temple’s best-selling New Zealand classic is, on the one hand, a vivid celebration of the natural world in the tradition of Tarka the Otter or Watership Down. On the other, it is a political fable in the manner of George Orwell’s Animal Farm that is as relevant today as when it was first published 30 years ago.

The southern mountain world is seen and experienced entirely through the eyes of kea and none of their described actions are outside the bird’s ability and known behaviour. The writing contains no human metaphor. This novel and its successor, Dark of the Moon, are unique in New Zealand literature.

Some reviews of the first 1981 edition:

Beak of the Moon is a great New Zealand novel, a big, technically accomplished book with a forward narrative thrust and imaginative power. Otago Daily Times.

It celebrates the natural world foremost, but it also conveys the hope of a better life. The author’s imaginative power lifts this novel to the heights of greatness. Timaru Herald.

This novel is a bold and memorable undertaking ... It makes for compulsive reading. Auckland Star.

Paperback: 496 pages. Publisher: First edition, Collins 1981. Latest, revised, edition, HarperCollins, 2008.

Rights Availability: World Rights except New Zealand, Australia and Germany. For rights enquiries contact HarperCollins NZ, P.O. Box 1, Auckland, NZ.

Purchase: Bookshops, publisher or contact available as an e-book.

The German edition will be available in 2013 from