The most important election in decades

New Zealand’s upcoming election is, without question, one of the most important the country has held in decades. It isn’t just a matter of policies to manoeuvre the country through the churning waters of Covid-19. It’s more fundamental. The neo-liberal paradigm that has essentially been the governmental ‘operating system’ since the 1980s is well past … More The most important election in decades

What it’s like in the fourth best democracy in the world

Back in 2019 New Zealand was listed on the EIU Democracy Index as the fourth best democracy in the world with a score of 9.26. That follows Norway (9.87), Iceland (9.58) and Sweden (9.39). To put that in perspective, the top twenty two countries of the 167 listed are classed as ‘full democracies’. And New … More What it’s like in the fourth best democracy in the world

Anzac day 2020 – a different remembrance under lockdown

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

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

Book of the week: ‘The Division’ – putting it all together with another oxymoron

By late 2003 my publications list included three books on the adventures of the Second New Zealand Division in the First World War: Battle for Crete, Desert Duel and Italian Odyssey. They sold well individually and by 2006 had gone out of print. The question then was what to do next with them; there was … More Book of the week: ‘The Division’ – putting it all together with another oxymoron

Book of the week: ‘Pacific War’ – sneaking an oxymoron into the title

Back in 2001 my publishers of the day, Reed New Zealand, offered me an unheard-of deal: a multi-book contract. This was an absolute rarity in New Zealand, and I jumped at the chance. It involved writing three military histories in a series. I’ve covered the first two in earlier posts. The third was on New … More Book of the week: ‘Pacific War’ – sneaking an oxymoron into the title

Book of the week: ‘Italian Odyssey’ – a drama in three acts

I often envisage the difference between non-fiction and fiction writing as similar to the distinction between a photographer and a representational artist. Both have to produce something well-structured and appealing. The difference is that the photographer has to work with what is there, whereas the artist can, if needed, use license to achieve the same … More Book of the week: ‘Italian Odyssey’ – a drama in three acts