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A prime ministerial primer, Simon Upton

New Zealand’s Prime Ministers: From Dick Seddon to John Key
Michael Bassett
David Ling Publishing, $50.00,
ISBN 9781927305294

New Zealand’s Prime Ministers is a very large volume. It is also an extremely ambitious one that is challenging as a through-read. Twenty-four prime ministers (PMs) dispatched chronologically, from Dick Seddon to John Key, is not an easy assignment. Many will, I suspect, explore this celebrated roll call randomly. You might pick out a shadowy, short-lived incumbent of whom you know little (like Thomas Noble McKenzie, whose three and a half month reign in 1912 brought the curtain down on the great Liberal era that began in 1891); or ferret in the (voluminous) footnotes to tie down the manoeuvrings of a contemporary survivor like Michael Moore or Jenny Shipley.

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Posted in Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Off the main drag, John McCrystal

Gravel Roads Peter Butler David Ling, $29.99, ISBN 9781877378461   The Widow’s Daughter Nicholas Edlin Penguin, $40.00, ISBN 9780143204091   Settlers’ Creek Carl Nixon Vintage, $29.99, ISBN 9781869794033   Quinine  Kelly Ana Morey Huia, $35.00, ISBN 9781869694319   Peter Butler

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

The stories pictures tell, Roger Blackley

New Zealand Portraits Richard Wolfe Penguin Books, $80.00, ISBN 9780670071777 The Power of Portraiture: Representing Leadership in New Zealand from 1840 to the Present  Erin Griffey (with contributions from Brad Jackson and Paul Tapsell) Gus Fisher Gallery and David Ling,

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Posted in Art, Non-fiction, Review

Lands lost and found, Martin Edmond

E Mervyn Taylor: Artist, Craftsman Bryan James Steele Roberts, $59.99, ISBN 1877338559 Trevor Moffitt: A Biography Chris Ronayne David Ling, $49.99, ISBN 1877378100 Joanna Margaret Paul: Drawing Jill Trevelyan and Sarah Treadwell Auckland University Press and Mahara Gallery, $49.99, ISBN

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Posted in Art, Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Another country, Catharina van Bohemen

Alice and Luigi Graeme Lay David Ling, $29.99, ISBN 1877378070 In Touch with Grace Jenny Pattrick Black Swan, $27.99, ISBN 1869417674 As we grow older,  we look over our shoulders. We want to see where we came from, whether our

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Posted in Fiction, Literature

Keyhole history, Barry Gustafson

After Me Came the Berlin Wall: Lies, Spies and Journalism Mervyn Cull David Ling, $29.99, ISBN 9781877378096 Final Approaches: A Memoir Gerald Hensley Auckland University Press, $50.00, ISBN 1869403789 Memoirs are not autobiographies intended to be comprehensive accounts of the

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Posted in Memoir, Non-fiction, Review

View from the hilltop, Rawiri Taonui

State of the Maori Nation: Twenty-first Century Issues in Aotearoa Malcolm Mulholland and contributors Reed, $39.99, ISBN 0790010429 Ngapua: The Political Life of Hone Heke Ngapua Paul Moon David Ling, $39.99, ISBN 187737802X The Maori population doubled during the two

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Posted in Biography, Māori, Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Snowflake game, David Larsen

The Geometry of Desire Linda Niccol David Ling, $24.99, ISBN 1877378054 Fish’n’Chip Shop Song and Other Stories Carl Nixon Random, $27.99, ISBN 1869417615 I set out recently to teach my nine-year-old son about apostrophes. It was pleasingly straightforward. You learn

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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review, Short stories

Call me “Sir”, Nicholas Reid

Henry Cooper of Auckland Grammar School  Andrew Mason David Ling Publishing (in association with Auckland Grammar School Old Boys’ Association), $49.95, ISBN 1877378038 Personal confession and declaration of interest. I began my 25 years as a secondary-school teacher with a

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Posted in Biography, Education, Non-fiction, Review

Under cover, Jenny Nicholls

Fronting up: Classic New Zealand Magazine Covers Richard Wolfe David Ling Publishing in association with Auckland War Memorial Museum, $49.99, ISBN 1877378062 There are too many magazines. But I would say that. For a number of years (outside the timespan

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Posted in Media, Non-fiction, Review, Sociology
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