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’
It’s the eighty-seventh anniversary today of New Zealand’s most lethal historical disaster; the Hawke’s Bay earthquake. Around 10.47 am on the sunny morning of 3 February, a magnitude 7.8 quake struck the district and threw the towns of Napier and Hastings into ruin. Damage extended from Gisborne in the north to Whanganui in the south-west, … More Remembering the Hawke’s Bay quake of ’31 – and the ‘big ones’ of 1460
I was rather sorry to see that an Auckland memorial to the New Zealand Wars (1845-1872) was vandalised the other week. Those doing it, according to the reports, were protesting the act of colonial oppression that these wars represented. And that’s fair enough; the wars were indeed colonial assertions of power, although not quite in … More Remembering the New Zealand Wars
One of the things that always intrigues me about history – as a field of endeavour – is the way so much effort is put into thinking about how we understand the past, and in particular, how to assess the nature of the data. Although enthusiasts often take the attitude that ‘the facts’ as shown … More Cool ways of understanding the past
Announcing The History of Hawke’s Bay. My latest book. Out today. It’s an all new volume about my home district’s past – 260 pages in large format, with over 120 photographs and maps covering the full sweep of the region’s past, from its geological origins through to its Maori history, the rumbustious cowboy world of … More The history of Hawke’s Bay
My recent short book Dreadnoughts Unleashed has picked up its first review – five stars. Very cool! I’ve got high hopes for this one. It’s an experiment in format: eleven essays that run the gamut from the story of the man who invented OMG – Fisher – and the way he took down the British … More Five star review for ‘Dreadnoughts Unleashed’ – cool!
Over the years I’ve written a fair amount of stuff on my various interests – which range from the human condition to astrophysics to ship engineering and, inevitably, the people behind all those things. Normally such things disappear from view and that’s that, including blog posts – although it would be hard to beat the … More Dreadnoughts Unleashed – unleashed on Kindle!