This week’s massive cyclone across New Zealand’s North Island is unprecedented. It produced more widespread damage than the last such storm, Cyclone Bola of 1988. There is some evidence of even larger storms in the fifteenth century, knocking down swathes of trees. But nothing in historical times. My home district, Hawke’s Bay, took a heavy … More The tragic human cost of Cyclone Gabrielle
This week’s resignation of New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, was something of a surprise, but for me not too surprising. Her reasons – not enough in the tank for another three-year term – were sound enough. If you haven’t got the energy left for the job, it’s professional to step down, and with an … More Jacinda Ardern’s resignation and social media
New Zealand has been at war with rather a lot of nations over the years. Most of them declared war on us, not the other way around (we’re the good guys). But there are a few that New Zealand took on. Including – wait for it – wait for it. Finland. Yup. Finland. It was … More Countries on which New Zealand has declared war
The other day I happened to be grocery shopping in a nearby supermarket that markets itself on ‘low, low prices’ that ‘save’ the customer money. In the fruit and veggie section they’d piled a fair quantity of telegraph cucumbers which were ‘extra low’. Apparently. Personally I don’t think $4.99 is ‘extra low’, especially when it … More How supermarkets lie to you
This week I won a national writing award for my book for schools, The New Zealand Wars. The Storylines Notable Book lists included this title in its YA non-fiction category. I’m quite pleased about that. I wrote the book intentionally for the YA market, but it’s there for all ages and is intended as a … More I won a national writing award
I have a new book out next week. The battlecruiser New Zealand – a gift to Empire is being published in Britain by Seaforth, and in the United States by USNI Press. A little later this year it’s also being published in New Zealand by Oratia Books. It’s a very special book to me because … More The battlecruiser New Zealand – a gift to Empire
New Zealand is amidst a grave housing crisis just now. It was predictable. The National government that came to power in 2008 also initiated one of the largest immigration booms since the 1870s. But they didn’t alter neo-liberal era planning laws relating to land use – meaning new housing districts weren’t developed. And what was … More The way out of New Zealand’s housing crisis
A little ago I encountered someone whose arguments highlighted how conspiracy theorists get traction, and how they disable any who object. Let me explain. On the night of 16-17 January 1945, U-862 – under Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Timm – cruised across Hawke Bay on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island and loitered off Napier … More How conspiracy theorists get traction
To mark New Zealand’s memorial day this year I’m re-posting an except from one of my books, which I published a few years back. Enjoy. Today, 25 April, is New Zealand’s memorial day – Anzac Day. It’s the day when we remember all our war dead, more than half of whom died in just one … More Lest we forget: Gallipoli, the Western Front and war memory
In the early hours of Friday morning a lot of people in New Zealand’s North Island, including me, were shaken awake by a significant quake about 100 km off Te Araroa, a township on the East Cape – magnitude 7.1, and a depth of 90 km, which is why it was so widely felt. Quakes … More Will New Zealand’s offshore quakes of 5 March 2021 trigger more?
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