Bronwyn Elsmore







Every Five Minutes - "a moving novel"

Gina, if that is her real name, wakes to an autumn morning and, against her better judgement, selects a light dress to wear to work. Deliberately, she misses the bus and walks into the city, then turns and walks back home. This is not a day for work. Today she will spend with a white dog and a remarkable man. 

    Print & ebook

    Every Five Minutes is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree. 


Reviewers say –

    This is a love story, not a romance, and it's beautiful. Bronwyn Elsmore has crafted a beautiful story in a unique way. Each page in this book has a time at the top, exactly five minutes after the preceding page. We begin at 7:00 a.m., and finish at 10:25 p.m., but we cover a number of years and discover hints of further back. A lovely, lovely book.


    A very inspiring read, full of true love, self-acceptance and discovery. While you will find many intense, drama filled, action stories on the shelves today, I doubt you will find a book with this level of intimacy. Please make sure you add this to your to be read list.


Elsmore is an experienced writer and it shows. The style she chose for Every Five Minutes was a risky step and a less skilled author might never have pulled it off. But Elsmore has and as she carefully walks us through Gina's day, because of the unique writing style, the reader is forced to savour each word as Gina's romantic dreams and aspirations unfold. A feel good read. A joy not to be missed.


Kudos for New Zealand Author. A masterpiece! Would it be absurd to call this work brilliant? A masterpiece? I don’t think so. I have never read a book written in this way. And to find that it is perfect in its style and delivery has left me a little breathless – at least my heart rate picked up as I neared the end. This is not some sensationalised love story. In fact it is quite the contrary. I adored this little book. I adored the simplicity in the writing style, in the plot, in the delivery. 

Seventeen Seas - a journey around half the world

One ship, a handful of Kiwis, a few Australians, 1600 Brits. Seventeen Seas tells their stories through 10 countries, 15 ports, across 17 seas, for 46 days. 

     Is there really a stowaway in one of the lifeboats? And what’s the truth about Germans and deckchairs? On a cruise ship full of passengers from a variety of countries there’s bound to be plenty of fun.

    Print & ebook


Reviewers say –

     This is the story of an ocean voyage - a voyage of discovery through cultures that takes the voyagers half-way round the globe. Intertwined with astute observation and humour the author questions the travelers' direction and the evolution of their own culture.
Readers who have been on a cruise liner will recognize and laugh at the carefully drawn characters and comic situations the author has generated.


     I have recommended the book both to my friends who cruise as well as people who have never cruised and would like to. This book gives a realistic view of what cruising is like in a fun and fictionalized manner.


    Masterfully crafted; easy to read. A must for someone contemplating a cruise or who has missed out on one.

Backwards Into the Future

Everyone knows you can’t go back. Everyone except Mary apparently, because here she is – back in her old hometown. That’s because of two women – Kui, and Ana. One of them is pushing her, the other is holding back, and between the two there’s much to be resolved. The plum tree and the manuka have gone, but a lemon tree thrives. The mystery of the Marakihau may never be solved; but if Ana returns, their friendship and some things from the past can be recovered. Can’t they? 

    Novel, New Zealand, cultural heritage, Maori-Pakeha, historical late 20th century

    Print & ebook


Reviewers say –

It's evocative, gives me goosebumps, compelling and gentle. I loved it.


     This was an outstanding good book to read. From start to finish. 


    Like Bronwyn Elsmore's earlier novel "Every Five Minutes," this one is written with a sure, skilled, and sensitive hand. Elsmore knows when to show the finest details, when to drop hints, and when to leave open spaces that readers are compelled to navigate on their own. The story is told gently but never sentimentally. I was pulled into it immediately and it didn't release me until I'd read the last page. I recommend it highly.


    I can’t let this day pass without saying thank you again for Backwards into the Future (which I’ve just finished). Not only did it revive all sorts of memories about life in small-town NZ in the decade or two after the War (described perfectly!), I was enchanted by the various relationships that developed between Mary, Ana, Kui, Hemi, Georgie and Elwyn (and others!) Beautifully drawn, and at times almost had me in tears without being at all twee. Utterly memorable characters. And a perfect ending to top it all off.

These Islands Here – Short Stories of the South Pacific

Stories of Aotearoa-New Zealand, and other islands of Polynesia. 32 fictional tales based on the varied facets of living in these islands situated in the South Pacific – pleasure, pain, calamity, comedy, fun, misfortune, loss, triumph – as in any part of the world, of being human. Most have been published previously, in magazines including NZ Listener, Takahe, Eve, Thursday, included in anthologies, and broadcast by Radio New Zealand, several have won short story competitions.     

    Print & ebook      A B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree



Reviewers say –

Though they cover a wide variety of characters and topics, they all have one common factor – they are each beautifully crafted.

    Auckland author Bronwyn Elsmore has mastered the art of the short story – the ability to magically paint an entire scene, pinning it in time and place with just a few deft words and saying just as much with what she leaves out as what she includes.

    They are each carefully drawn studies of character and voice.


    Good short story writing is a difficult genre but the ease the reader has with these stories shows the author Bronwyn Elsmore has captured and corralled that genre.
    Thirty-two stories divided into decades give this collection an attractive style. There is an introduction to each decade so the reader is well located in the era each story is set.
    These are our stories.  These are narratives which underscore our culture; give pictures of who we are or perhaps who we would like to be.  We are New Zealanders. We are the South Pacific. Our connection to the stories is strong.


    I have to tell you how much I enjoyed your collection. I've just finished reading the last two stories. It seems to me the stories got stronger and stronger, more and more enjoyable, as I turned the pages. I particularly enjoyed the ones connected in some way to the Pacific Islands. They brought my years in Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mangaia etc to mind. I also appreciated the mostly rural settings.  But my very favourite ones were the wryly humorous, especially Kate Sheppard. Anyway, many thanks for the enjoyment they gave me.


Ever since reading Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, visiting the Islands has been a bucket list item. Bronwyn Elsmore captures the history, culture, and melding of two cultures — the original inhabitants and the influx of Europeans. That bucket list item just moved toward the top of my list!



Like Them That Dream – the Maori and the Old Testament

The arrival of European missionaries in New Zealand had an immense impact on Maori society. Like Them That Dream tells the intriguing story of early interaction between Maori and missionary, leading to the many distinctive responses to the arrival of Christianity.

The book’s first two parts consider how the Christian word was spread and how Maori responded, explaining the identification they felt with the Israelites of the Old Testament. The third part relates the rise of indigenous religious movements, from the early Papahurihia through Pai Marire, Ringatu and the Parihaka Movement, and the later incarnations of the Arowhenua Movement in the South Island and what remains of today’s leading Maori church, Ratana.

Like Them That Dream is now in its 3rd edition.
It is available from: Oratia Books



Mana From Heaven – A Century of Maori Religious Movements in New Zealand

In the period from 1820 to 1920, more than 60 prophets arose in New Zealand leading distinctive movements in response to the Christian message. Although many served as vehicles for social protest, their movements were primarily attempts to affirm spiritual and racial worth in the face of rapid cultural change.
   Mana From Heaven records the evolution of Maori spirituality from early contact to the end of the prophetic period. Regarded as the definitive work in its field, the book analyses the principal influences in Maori religious movements during the first century of European settlement and gives vivid portrayals of the individuals who shaped the Maori churches of today.
‘A fascinating publication recording a kaleidoscope of Maori responses to the missionary’  – Otago Daily Times
An important book by a remarkable woman    - Dominion Sunday-TImes
‘Its comprehensiveness is unlikely to be surpassed’  – New Zealand Journal of History.
Mana From Heaven is now in its 4th edition.
E-book is available from Amazon & Oratia Books

Print book available from Amazon, bookshops in NZ, or via Flaxroots,,  email:

Te Kohititanga Marama – New Moon, New World: The Religion of Matenga Tamati

On the isolated Hawke’s Bay beach of Korito, near Wairoa, twelve huge totara logs bear testimony to the vision of a remarkable yet little-known religious leader. 

Matenga Tamati saw himself as the true successor to Te Kooti, answering the spiritual need of Maori at the end of the nineteenth century. The religious movement he founded, Te Kohititanga Marama, exerted great influence in the Wairoa district around the turn of the twentieth century – yet is all but forgotten.
       In this book Bronwyn Elsmore has gathered invaluable oral evidence to complement the scant published sources, piecing together a picture of the beliefs, values, practice and legacy of the Kohiti religion. While only the totara logs at Korito remain as physical evidence of this extraordinary prophet and healer, Te Kohititanga Marama ensures that Te Matenga and his religion of the New Moon take their rightful place in the history of Aotearoa-New Zealand.
      Reed, Auckland, 1998
      Copies still available from the author.

Rushton Roulette

An upbeat and heartening novel about living life in the face of increasing age

Four women resist the thought of sliding into old age and decide to meet the challenge head on.

    “It’s a bit like Russian Roulette,” says Heather.

    “The chances are better in that,” replies Merryn, “there it’s only one in six that you get the bullet.”

Will they, won’t they, see it through?

If stories of women acting contrary to expectations are your choice, this novel is for you.

Print & ebook available from Amazon.

Print book from bookstores in NZ, or via Flaxroots,,  email: