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Forging an ideology, Philip Temple

Paradise Reforged: A History of the New Zealanders. From the 1880s to the Year 2000 James Belich Allen Lane/ Penguin, $59.95, ISBN 0713991720 One person’s “History of the New Zealanders” over a period of 120 years can never be complete,…
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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Review

Winged words, Jane McRae

Nga Pepeha a nga Tipuna: The Sayings of the Ancestors ed Hirini Moko Mead and Neil Grove Victoria University Press, $59.95, ISBN 0864733992 Maori sayings are “ready bits of loftiness and sonority”, to use George Steiner’s apt characterisation of formulaic…
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Posted in History, Language, Māori, Non-fiction, Review

Ghosts and disclosures, Charmaine Pountney

Lesbian Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand ed Alison Laurie Harrington Park Press, $79.95, ISBN 1560232528 Academic publications are often daunting to lay readers obscure, dense, and obfuscatory. But Lesbian Studies in Aotearoa/New Zealand, a paperback for general readers (co-published simultaneously as…
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Posted in Gender, History, Non-fiction, Review

Butting the trend, Marion McLeod

In the Lifetime of a Goat: Writings 1984 – 2000 Marilyn Waring Bridget Williams Books, $34.95, ISBN 1877242098 Journalism is an ephemeral business. “Today’s news, tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapping” – the saying may be out of date but the…
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Posted in Essays, Gender, Memoir, Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Redefining war art, Roger Blackley

I was no soldier: An artist’s war diary Ted Lewis Steele Roberts, $39.95, ISBN 1877228494 I  was no soldier tells the story of an art teacher’s experiences of World War 2. Ted Lewis volunteered in January 1941 for the medical…
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Posted in Art, History, Non-fiction, Review, War

The perils of proximity, Michael Laws

Helen: Portrait of a Prime Minister Brian Edwards Exisle Publishing, $44.95, ISBN 0908988206 Biography is a fraught art. If the subject is dead, then the Author is reliant upon a myriad of sources, often contradictory, to capture the essence of…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Politics & Law, Review

Without guilt or apology, Harry Ricketts

Tread Softly For You Tread On My Life: New & Collected Writings Michael King Cape Catley, $34.95, ISBN 0908561881 “This is the sort of letter that doesn’t look well in a Biography,” Rupert Brooke wrote Eddie Marsh in September 1913.…
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Posted in Autobiography, Essays, Non-fiction, Review

Bestriding two worlds, Alan Ward

He Tipua: The Life and Times  of Sir Apirana Ngata Ranginui Walker Viking, $69.95, ISBN 0670911887 In the Foreword, Sir Henare Ngata, son of Sir Apirana, on Behalf of the Ngata family and the Ngati Porou people, thanks Dr Ranginui…
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Posted in Biography, Non-fiction, Review

Jaunts and junkets, Linda Burgess

The Swing Around Barbara Anderson Victoria University Press, $29.95, ISBN 0864734220 There’s a certain anxiety that accompanies writing this review. Embarrassingly, it’s to do with a fear of mixing metaphors (as opposed to, say, starting a sentence with an adverb.)…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review

Not the Wairarapa? Shelagh Duckham Cox

Featherstone Kirsty Gunn Faber & Faber,  $34.95, ISBN 0571212476 The epigraph is an entry in an imagined handbook. It provides information you’d expect from a motoring guide about a small town you’ve never visited before, and it’s in the same…
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Posted in Fiction, Literature, Review
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