My book Convicts – New Zealand’s Hidden Criminal Past is released today by Penguin, in print and as an e-book in Kobo format.
It’s a tale of white crime in pre-1840 New Zealand, a riotous age when lawlessness leaked from the periphery of Empire – in this case, the penal colonies of Australia, established in 1788. Prisoners stowed away on boats, escaped in boats and otherwise made their way across the Tasman, where Maori looked on most of them with disdain.
Some convicts left as soon as they could. Others stayed. They were joined by others, former prisoners with ‘certificates of freedom’ who had done their time and crossed to New Zealand where they became whalers, sealers, ne’er-do-wells and traders.
Curiously, the biggest criminals weren’t convicts – they were sea captains, supposed upholders of the law who became involved in all kinds of skullduggery around New Zealand’s coastline, ranging from cannibalism to genocide.
They were bad, some of them were mad – and it all happened in just a few exciting decades in a tiny corner of the South Pacific.
This is the first time the tale of these people has been told in this detail, in a single book – and it’s being published in New Zealand, Australia and Canada in print and as an e-book, Kobo format just now.
Is there a launch? No. But I’d love to talk to you folks. Not about my book – about what you’re doing. Call it a virtual launch party. Do tell!
And be ready to win a print copy. Details this Saturday.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2012