About Us

Nau mai, haere mai. Welcome to our online shop. Let us introduce you to Nikau Books.

Nikau Books is focused on Aotearoa with our selection of quality second-hand books and some new titles. We have classic works, important scholarship, reference, garden design, biography and other non-fiction work as well as literature and modern fiction. We also have some books from and about places beyond New Zealand because it’s only natural to look outwards. But our specialty is this place – ko Aoteroa tēnei.

Pae tū Mōkai/Featherston - New Zealand’s Booktown - is our base. We are proud to support Featherston Booktown and to be associated with it.

Our founders are Elizabeth Derby and Arthur Linkhorn.

  • Elizabeth got started in the book trade in 2016 by working part-time with Kate Mead, when Kate owned Loco books and coffee at Featherston. Through this work, Elizabeth learned about second-hand book dealing at the same time as she worked to perfect her barista skills.
  • Arthur makes up for having less background experience in book retailing with an eye for detail and an appetite for finding and ploughing through great books. He is eager to share with Nikau Books customers titles they may never have heard of. Watch out for “Arthur recommends …” on our listings for the quirky and unexpected works that will expand your mind and shake you out of your bookish comfort zone.

Our name reflects the attributes of one of our most favourite trees in the world – the Nikau palm. We identify with the embrace of the Nikau’s fronds. Who hasn’t slid around as a kid in the bowl of those fronds? We marvel that a palm grows in the comparative cool climate of the South Wairarapa. This is the only palm native to Aotearoa and is the world’s southernmost palm tree. 

Our part of the Wairarapa valley is around the Tauherenikau river where it emerges from the Tararua forest, which has the traditional name Tauwharenikau. We understand this older name refers to a house made from Nikau palm fronds. Quite a handy building material given the palm fronds can grow to three metres long. We like the idea of the nearby river and the traditional house both referencing the trusty Nikau – the sort of palm that grows straight, has hard outer fronds that protect the delicate new shoots and then grows tall to eventually stick its head above the surrounding foliage. It’s a palm that puts on a show with its seed pods rattling and waving in the wind. When the kereru and other birds come to gorge themselves on the drupes, each carrying a seed, it’s quite a sight. We think of that seed being carried and spreading to new areas as being just like ideas from books spread and grow.

So come along on a journey with us as we find great ideas in great books and put those books in front of you. Check back often as we don’t have thousands of listings and titles available will change in exactly the way that makes second-hand book shopping serendipitous and exciting. Follow @nikaubooks on Instagram where we will profile books we’ve sourced and generally speak up for books (the kind you hold in your hand) and the artefact of the book.