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Major biography of Richard Seddon launched by David Cunliffe

Major new biography of Richard Seddon launched by his great great-nephew, the Hon. David Cunliffe

Richard Seddon was New Zealand’s longest-serving Prime Minister and regarded as a formidable and colourful leader. Now, Hon. David Cunliffe, aims to follow in his great great-uncle's footsteps as he campaigns in Westland and seeks to run the country.

The Hon. David Cunliffe will join others to officially launch Professor Tom Brooking’s biography Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own, published by Penguin Group NZ, and preside over a significant and memorable event to be held at Hokitika's Regent Theatre onSaturday, September 6, at 5.30pm. The event will be attended by some of Seddon’s direct descendants; the oldest present will help cut the launch ribbon at the opening ceremony. Mike Havill, Mayor of Westland District, will also address the event, which has been organised by Bruce Watson, co-owner of Take Note Hokitika and the Theatre Society's President.

The evening of entertainment will also feature an illustrated account by Tom Brooking about how he came to research and write Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own; a large slide screen show of historic photographs from the Hokitika Museum Collection; oral history recordings; music; and a book signing. Tickets are $10 and include a complimentary glass of wine or beer and light refreshments; these can be purchased online at or direct at Hokitika’s Regent Theatre. Doors open at 5pm for drinks and book purchases; a cash bar will operate before and after the launch.

Richard Seddon made his mark in Westland and in 1904 said: “I love the West Coast and its people. Death alone will separate us.” Therefore, what better place to celebrate his life and work, than with the national launch of a major, new biography, Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own.

Tom Brooking’s biography was instigated by the late Michael King and sets a new benchmark in New Zealand history writing. Paul Moon, author of New Zealand in the Twentieth Century, described it as “the definitive biography of one of New Zealand’s most influential political leaders. Absorbing, far-reaching and elegantly articulated, it reframes and repositions one of our most eminent leaders and foremost founding fathers of modern New Zealand.

Professor Tom Brooking holds a personal chair in history at the University of Otago, where he has taught courses in New Zealand, Australian and British history, as well as political biography, since 1978. He specialises in environmental and political history, and the connections between Scotland and New Zealand.


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