Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Convicts: New Zealand's Hidden Criminal Past -Matthew Wright
New Zealand's Pakeha origin as a bolt-hole for convicts escaping Australia, a place where former convicts joined whaling and sealing gangs, and where sea captains thumbed their noses at the law, has been quietly forgotten. It has become a hidden part of our past, buried under the convenient fiction that the Treaty of Waitangi is the sole pivot of New Zealand's colonial story.
In Convicts: New Zealand's Hidden Criminal Past, noted historian Matthew Wright challenges that notion. Our early nineteenth-century Pakeha past is, at least in part, a story of convicts who had found their way past the edge of the law, an age of heroic tales of survival, scurrilous deeds, cannibalism and piracy.
Matthew Wright is one of New Zealand's most published social historians and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of University College, London.
Penguin Books -$39.99 - Publication 2 July.