Posts Tagged ‘History NZ’

The NZ Series: The New Zealand Wars by Matthew Wright. Pub. Oratia 2021

July 12, 2021 Comments off

This is the latest edition to the NZ Series of historical facts that are a very valuable resource for New Zealand schools. This is a concise short version of a larger work by the same author but it doesn’t scrimp on fact and is a powerful work in it’s own right for primary, intermediate and high school students.

The book makes some very strong points about all the battles and skirmishes that took place between 1845 and 1872 when the last shots were fired and it continues into the the 1880’s with the Parihaka protests.

The book delves into who took part in the wars on both sides and makes the point that at times the wars were like a civil war as some Maori fought against their own if tribal aspirations were to their advantage.

The consequences of the wars were overwhelming for Maori who were not fought into submission but made Maori engage in the NZ economy which was to overwhelm them.

The wars never ended the battlefield just shifted to parliament and the courts and they are still being fought today.

Great descriptions , diagrams, maps, art works and photos of all the battles. The photos of Parihaka are astonishing and some i have never seen before. This series is absolutely essential in NZ schools and concise enough for students to read a whole work.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags: ,

Home from the Homer by Anya Forest

May 23, 2019 Comments off

home homerHome from the Homer by Anya Forest. Pub. Anya Forest 2018.

The magnificent cover of this novel showing the Haast Eagle, the Fiordland Moose and the Homer Tunnel puts you right in the heart of this novel before you have turned a page.

For those of you who do not know New Zealand and even those who do, will be blown away by the Fiordland setting of this story.

Zoe and Seth are 12 year old twins and quite different from each other. They go with their parents on a holiday to Fiordland passing through the Homer tunnel on their way to Milford Sound. The area has magnificent scenery, it rains heavily and it has a mysterious past with some of the animals that inhabited this area but are now extinct. In this novel they all come alive.

When the family pass through the Homer Tunnel they know things are not quite right, and as they exit they look back and the tunnel is gone. They have slipped into another time zone before the tunnel was built and they meet characters famous in the history of fiordland like John Christie the chief surveyor of the Homer tunnel project in the 1930’s.

Both Seth and Zoe get separated in different time zones going back to the 19th century and have their own adventures which are going to impact on their lives after they return to the present. Read it and see who else they meet.

I loved their encounters with the Haast Eagle, the Fiordland moose, the Kakapo, the Piopio and the lost Tribe but the bonus is the respectful and understanding relationships that they have with the people they meet.

There are historical photographs and drawings of some extinct animals and of the pioneers of the region.

Further contact to

Lucy goes to the lighthouse by Grant Sheehan, Illus. Rosalind Clark.

October 31, 2017 Comments off

lucy lighthouseLucy goes to the lighthouse by Grant Sheehan, Illus. Rosalind Clark. Pub. Phantom Tree House Books, 2017.

This picture book sized publication is the story of Mary Jane Bennett the first and only woman in New Zealand to become a lighthouse keeper.

She did so in the days when there was no electricity and at a time when women were supposed to look after their children and houses and leave the so called important jobs to me. The fact that she did both is astonishing.

It is also the story of the first official New Zealand lighthouse at Pencarrow head at the entrance to Wellington Harbour.

Well illustrated in mediums of pencil, collage pixel and ink, this would make a useful addition to any school library and a good read-a-loud about early Eew Zealand history.

The Ghosts of Young Nick’s Head by Sue Copsey.

April 10, 2015 Comments off

ghost nicks headThe Ghosts of Young Nick’s Head by Sue Copsey. Pub. Pear Jam Books, 2011.

If you stand by the door of a dank room, in a very old house, and your dog starts whimpering and won’t go in, chances are it is haunted by a ghost.

Joe and Eddy who are on holiday at an old house on the historical headland of Young Nick’s Head find that this statement is true. On the day they arrive with Joe’s parents, a wild storm erupts causing a power cut and they hear a strange knock on the door from an old man who gives then candles to light up the house.

The next day they are saved by the same man when they are trapped by the tide in some caves below Young Nick’s head. Who is this man?

When they find the name Tom carved into the bed in the haunted bedroom they decide to research the history of the house at the local library. With the help of the librarian Baz, they uncover the mystery of a boy named Tom who fell from a cliff during a storm in which a ship was wrecked. Was Tom’s  father involved because he was suspected of being a smuggler and ship wrecker in the 1890’s?

When the boys find the words GO HOME written in blood in the Harry Potter novel being read by Eddie  they tell their story to Baz and Joe’s parents and things turn sinister.

Will a TV programe on which Joe and Eddie appear find a solution to this historical ghost story and put Tom’s ghost to rest? How many other ghosts are there and are they connected to each other? Read it and find out.

Ghost stories and mysteries are rare these days especially those with a New Zealand historical connection. This is a good one for primary and intermediate students. I was particularly impressed with the research skills shown by the two boys Eddie and Joe and the use of old books in the library.