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Digital book

A path through the trees

Mary Sutherland — forester, botanist & women’s advocate

Vivien Edwards


Out of print

contact the author for book availability: vived@slingshot.co.nz


In 1916 Mary Sutherland became the first woman forestry graduate in the world, graduating from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University). It was daring to take up a male-only career in a time when women’s contributions were generally disregard­ed, and her job prospects were affected by two world wars and economic depressions in England and New Zealand.

She emigrated to New Zealand in 1923 where the State Forest Service employ­ed her until forestry retrenched in the 1930s. The skills she developed as a forester enabled her to move into botany at the Dominion Museum and farm forestry with the Department of Agriculture. She also championed women’s right to higher education and was active in the Federation of University Women.

A Path Through the Trees tells the professional and personal story of this remarkable woman.

Winner of the Archives and Records Association NZ Ian Wards Prize 2021.

Soft cover, 176x250mm portrait, 202 pages, extensive use of photographs.

Read the review at Kete Books

About the author

Vivien Edwards

Vivien Edwards has worked as a freelance researcher and writer for over 20 years. She contributed regularly to the New Zealand Forest Industries magazine during the 1980s and ’90s, hence her interest in how Mary Sutherland came to be working in New Zealand forestry in the 1920s.  

In 2021 Vivien won the Archives and Records Association NZ Ian Wards Prize, which recognises a published work that makes substantial, imaginative and exemplary use of New Zealand archives and records.

Vivien’s other titles include Winkelmann: Images of Early New Zealand (Benton Ross, 1987) and Battling the Big B: Hepatitis B in New Zealand (Dunmore Publishing Ltd, 2007).