Blog Archives

Revisiting the 1930s, Tony Simpson

The Broken Decade: Prosperity, Depression and Recovery in New Zealand 1928–1939
Malcolm McKinnon
Otago University Press, $50.00,
ISBN 9781927322260

In 1968, I left my home town of Christchurch and came to Wellington to work as a producer in radio in what was then the NZBC. I mostly spent the next three years writing and producing talks and historical radio documentaries. One thing that struck me as curious in retrospect was that, although I had spent six years at Canterbury University studying history (among other things), no-one had ever mentioned the 1930s Depression or WWII. It was only when I began talking to older New Zealanders that these two sets of events came into focus as the principal markers by which they measured the significance of their own lives. I therefore began collecting both written and oral recollections of the 1930s (mostly the latter); in 1974, these were published as The Sugarbag Years. I then waited for someone to follow my lead and publish a narrative history of the same events which placed the lives I had recorded in their economic and political context, but no-one did and so I did it myself, as The Slump in 1990. This second book made little impact, the world moved on, and those with personal experience of the 1930s have now almost all passed away.

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History in danger, Malcolm McKinnon

The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History J G A Pocock Cambridge University Press, $60.00 approx,  ISBN 139780521850957 J G A Pocock’s The Discovery of Islands: Essays in British History is a rich and scholarly exploration of a subject

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“Something like a cult”, Margaret Clark

Treasury: The New Zealand Treasury 1840-2000 Malcolm McKinnon Auckland University Press, $50, ISBN 1869402960 At the launch of this book a former assistant secretary to the Treasury pointed out to me that this is an administrative history of the Treasury,

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An enhancing option, David Pearson

New Zealand – By the Way Jenner Zimmerman and contributors Jenner Zimmerman, $49.95, ISBN 0 473 03631 2 Immigrants and Citizens: New Zealanders and Asian Immigration in Historical Context Malcolm McKinnon Institute of Policy Studies, $18.00, ISBN 0 908935 0408

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