- Biographer • Anthologist
A full-time historian based in sunny Papamoa, I have a special interest in researching, writing and teaching about the interaction of Maori and Pakeha in pre-Treaty New Zealand. My primary focus is the Europeans who voluntarily and involuntarily crossed cultures in the Pacific, particularly those in New Zealand referred to in the 19th-century literature as Pakeha Maori.
A regular contributor to NZ history journals and online blogs, the five books I have written to date are: ‘Pakeha Maori’ (1999), ‘Captured By Maori’ (2004), ‘Cannibal Jack’ (2008), ‘Tribal Guns and Tribal Gunners’ (2014) and ‘Pakeha Slaves, Maori Masters’ (2019). My first anthology ‘Transgressing Tikanga’ which contains 20 Maori captivity narratives will be available in bookshops from May 2021. My current writing projects are firstly, ‘The Pakeha-Maori Narratives’ an anthology of 20 first-hand accounts by Pakeha who lived as Maori. The second, ‘Pakeha Ta Moko’ will tell the stories of many of the 72 European men and women – located to date – who were given moko kanohi (facial tattoos) or moko kauae (chin and lip tattoos) by 19th-century tohunga ta moko or tattoo specialists.
Literary awards include two Creative New Zealand research grants, a New Zealand History Trust Fund research award in 2010 and a Michael King Writer’s fellowship in 2018.
A current events enthusiast and a long term member of the New Zealand Military Historical Society, other personal interests include reading, music, family and regular magical walks around, or over that wonderful local asset Mount Maunganui with my wife Helen.