It’s Anzac day, the day when Australia and New Zealand come together to remember those who died in our wars. And, for the first time since the practise began in New Zealand in 1916, there are no public gatherings, thanks to the pandemic lockdown. We will, of course, still remember. The idea of commemorating the … More Anzac day 2020 – a different remembrance under lockdown
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
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
Back in 2001 I wrote a book on New Zealand’s naval history. Blue Water Kiwis was picked up by the Royal New Zealand Navy to mark their sixtieth anniversary that year, and launched (but not literally) on the flight-deck of HMNZS Te Mana. I remember that evening rather well, not least because my wife and … More Blue Water Kiwis – second edition out now!
I write this with heavy heart and deep sadness. My thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy in Christchurch; I stand by them, as do all Kiwis. As I write this, I hear reports that the youngest victim was just five, pursued and gunned down in cold blood. There are no words to … More New Zealand’s darkest day
Last weekend I gave a one-hour talk with Q&A session that wrapped up a hectic two-week promotional push which my publishers organised for my book Waitangi: A Living Treaty. I made multiple appearances on radio, one on TV, held a book signing, a public talk, and featured in the national news. I’ve also been featuring … More And it’s a wrap (for now) …
There has been a debate brewing this past week in New Zealand about whether to make teaching history compulsory in schools. New Zealand history, of course. At the moment it isn’t. Because I’ve been on the radio and TV a bit this past week, thanks to the promotion of my book on the Treaty of … More Should history be compulsory in New Zealand schools?
It’s Waitangi day – the 178th anniversary of the day when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in the Bay of Islands, establishing a basis for the British to establish a colony – and assert Crown law – across New Zealand. In the broadest context this colony was part of a much wider explosion of … More Thinking about Waitangi as a living treaty
I’m pleased to announce the release of my latest major history title today – a book on the Treaty of Waitangi, which is published by Bateman Books and available from all good bookstores in New Zealand or online. The book explores the concept that the Treaty is a living document, its meaning and purpose evolving … More Waitangi: A living treaty
I have always thought it ironic that the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840 largely by accident. If everything had gone according to prospective governor William Hobson’s plans, it would have been signed on 5 February. That was the day Maori assembled outside the house of James Busby at Waitangi to discuss … More The Treaty of Waitangi and ‘Hobson’s pledge’