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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 and 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 and 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 and Review

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 and 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 and Literature

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 and 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 and Short stories

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 and Review

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 and 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 and Sociology
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