Review: Penguin History of New Zealand – Michael King

Finally got around to reading this, in the most salubrious of settings, an 1860’s homestead on the east coast. A few tumblers clicked into place throughout the book, which really is an essential read for kiwis – this or something like it, because dammit we need to know our history to make any sense of our present. In particular, it recontextualised a good deal of the maori-pakeha relationship for me, and explained a hell of a lot about the racial attitudes of certain age groups. A good read, which definitely provides jumping off points for further explorations into our past.

No Responses to “Review: Penguin History of New Zealand – Michael King”

  1.   mikey
    January 24th, 2006 | 4:27 am

    I’m intrigued. I’ve found differing racial attitudes acros all groups and wouldn’t have thought age had much to do with it. Or do you opinions change in line with your age?

  2.   Administrator
    January 24th, 2006 | 7:42 am

    In my experience older people (say 50+) tend to have more racist attitudes towards Maori. Doubtless there is variation within any demographic, but as one example of racist attitudes and age, a good deal of the somewhat xenophobic NZ First’s support is among the elderly.

    With the urbanisation of Maori not really occurring until the 1960’s, and the prevailing image of Maori prior to that being at best of a dying race of noble savages whom the average pakeha had little contact with, it seems to follow that a certain generation would have been raised with attitudes to Maori which were unflatteringly cartoonish, whereas later generations would have had much more direct experience with and interaction with Maori. That was the sort of inference I was making, based on my reading of the book and experience.