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NZ and the Sea – A major new history

New Zealand and the Sea – A major new history from Bridget Williams Books


New Zealand’s history has been dominated by the presence of the ocean. Until very recently, everyone who came to New Zealand did so after long weeks at sea. Even today, most people live near the coast. The sea provides employment, transport and leisure; it is at the forefront of our imaginations, and days at the beach are, for many, synonymous with summer and childhood.

Yet when we think about history, we readily imagine it from the land. Our stories of the past take place in towns and cities, across farmlands, in the mountains and the bush. When the sea appears at all, it is a temporary barrier, an interruption to pass over quickly.

New Zealand and the Sea marks a significant new direction in historical thinking about this country.
It explores New Zealand’s relationship with the sea across many facets of life, from early origins until the present day, and challenges the conventional belief that history unfolds on land.

This volume brings together leading and emerging scholars to highlight the dynamic, ocean-centred history of these islands and their inhabitants, offering fresh and fascinating perspectives on New Zealand’s past to open up our thinking about our places and nation.

Contributors: Atholl Anderson, Tony Ballantyne, Julie Benjamin, Douglas Booth, Chris Brickell, Peter Gilderdale, David Haines, Susann Liebich, Alison MacDiarmid, Ben Maddison, Angela McCarthy, Grace Millar, Damon Salesa, Jonathan Scott, Frances Steel, Michael J. Stevens, Jonathan West

About the Editor: Frances Steel, a New Zealander, teaches at the University of Wollongong. Her research connects histories of empire, mobility and the sea in the Pacific World. She is the author of Oceania under Steam: Sea Transport and the Cultures of Colonialism, c.1870–1914 (Manchester University Press, 2011), and with Julia Martinez, Claire Lowrie and Victoria Haskins, Colonialism and Male Domestic Service across the Asia Pacific (Bloomsbury, 2018).

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