Why history is really a ‘today’ thing

I’m always intrigued by the way people generally view history. To some  it’s a dead past, uninteresting. Others look on it as a trainspotting exercise in data-collection. Academics, on my experience, use the subject as a device for validating self-worth. Henry Ford, reputedly, insisted history was ‘bunk’. In a way he was right, because we … More Why history is really a ‘today’ thing

History you can touch – now available in North America

New Zealand has a short history by world standards – the first humans to even reach these shores did not arrive until around 1280. But it is unquestionably an interesting past – particularly once we get into the so-called ‘historical’ period after 1840, when British and Maori came into collision. Open warfare flared between 1845 and … More History you can touch – now available in North America

Getting away from the re-remythologising of history

I’ve always thought it curious that our view of New Zealand’s history has always been a process of ‘re-mythologising’ – of discrediting one set of myths and replacing them with another. It happens once a generation. When I was a kid, around 1970, my school taught that New Zealand had been settled by two races. Moriori were … More Getting away from the re-remythologising of history

Announcing my next book on the New Zealand Wars

I’m pleased to announce my first title for 2014. It’s being published by Libro International on 29 July. Here’s their media release. I’m quite excited, and I hope you will be too. The New Zealand Wars – a brief history tells the tale (briefly!) of the thirty years of sporadic fighting that marked New Zealand’s mid-nineteenth … More Announcing my next book on the New Zealand Wars

The perils of being interviewed on TV before the first real coffee

I was interviewed on national TV early yesterday morning, to explain the drama of the day – the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gate Pa, in what is now suburban Tauranga. You can check out the interview here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Battle-of-Gate-Pa-remembered-in-Tauranga/tabid/423/articleID/341901/Default.aspx This happened before I’d knocked back enough coffee. But hey… The battle was the last flourish of the Waikato war, … More The perils of being interviewed on TV before the first real coffee