Just now the New Zealand property market has gone into turbo mode. It’s been hot for the past few years. Now it’s gone mad – and this in the middle of the deepest recession the country has seen since the 1930s. The country has long had a tradition of home ownership. Back in the nineteenth … More Why are houses so expensive in New Zealand?
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
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
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
Eighty nine years ago, on 3 February, my home district of Hawke’s Bay was laid waste by a massive earthquake that destroyed the two main centres, damaged a wide swath of central New Zealand, and killed at least 256. Hundreds more were seriously injured, and thousands hurt in ways that many did not bother to … More Remembering the Quake of ’31
It is 78 years, this weekend, since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor turned what had been a European war into a world conflict. Over the next few days we roll through the anniversary of the loss to air attack of the Prince of Wales and Repulse – two capital ships the British deployed to … More On these days in history
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
I have tūī in my back garden. Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae to scientists. There are at least three, possibly more, which live in the area and drop in every so often to snack on harakeke (flax) nectar. They also squabble and sing. Loudly. And all of that that is a great luxury to have in the back … More An ode to the humble tui
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
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
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