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

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

Why history must be taught in New Zealand schools

The decision this week that New Zealand history should be taught in New Zealand schools is long overdue. Inevitably, the question is ‘what’ history – an issue raised by the backlash brigade, who object to the Maori renaissance and the way society has rejected the old ideas of colonialism in the last generation. The broad … More Why history must be taught in New Zealand schools

All about New Zealand’s amazing giant dead parrot

In the last ten days there have been announcements about two different giant birds that used to live in New Zealand. There’s a human-sized penguin that flourished during the Paleocene – the first age after the dinosaur extinction event – and a one-metre tall parrot that lived some tens of millions of years later in … More All about New Zealand’s amazing giant dead parrot

‘Half of you will pass’: my old high school’s pre-exam morale booster

I made some lifetime friends when I was at Napier’s Tamatea High School in the late 1970s. I caught up with one of them a week or two back and had a bit of a chat about those days, a time when ‘the word’ was ‘Grease’ and few knew that Becker and Fagan had named … More ‘Half of you will pass’: my old high school’s pre-exam morale booster