Waitangi Day 2020

It’s 180 years since a treaty was signed outside the Resident’s House in the Bay of Islands by which Maori ceded sovereignty to the British crown. It remains the only such treaty in the world; the British signed many treaties with many peoples, but none involved a cession of sovereignty. Of course, the question remains … More Waitangi Day 2020

A short history of sheep in New Zealand's Wild West era

I’ve written an article for a lifestyle magazine. It’s on sheep. Really. I’ve covered the early history of sheep in New Zealand, and there will likely be more in the series – including the stories of sheep rustling, fast business deals and general adventuring that went on in back-country New Zealand’s wool industry around 150 … More A short history of sheep in New Zealand's Wild West era

Going totally dieselpunk with the Antarctic Snow Cruiser

Picture the scene: you’re standing on an ice-shelf in Antaractica circa 1940 and suddenly spot a huge orange-red vehicle approaching on just four 10-foot high balloon tyres. It’s got a small aircraft on its back. And it’s absolutely enormous: 16 feet high, 20 feet wide and 55 feet long – a giant of a vehicle … More Going totally dieselpunk with the Antarctic Snow Cruiser

Why the way we think about history is important

There is a notion that history consists of ‘the facts’ – that all you have to do is discover ‘the facts’, which are literally true at face value, and that these ‘facts’ then ‘speak for themselves’. Such thinking, among other things, has fuelled the kind of dribble that I see pouring from the minds and … More Why the way we think about history is important