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Crete 1941 To Be Published On 29 October 2021

Thanks to a stellar list of PledgeMe supporters, Bernard Cadogan’s 2475-line epic poem ‘Crete 1941’ will be published by Tuwhiri on 29 October 2021.

‘A foreword by Rt Hon Trevor Mallard MP and a karakia by Trevor J Moeke starts the book off’, said author, Bernard Cadogan. ‘The epic “Crete 1941” is preceded by “Sonnet for Lieutenant Ngārimu VC” and followed by “Sonnet to Hölderlin”.’

‘In no way glorifying the violence of the Greek campaign and the battle of Crete,’ said Cadogan, ‘this epic places conflict right at the heart of our desire for peace, as well as our capacity to reason, will and love. Unlike other “war stories”, women are central to this poem, never absent.’

‘Bernard takes a unique approach to describing the emotions, the sounds, the players and the stage of the Battle of Crete within a poetic saga,’ said Tania Te Rangingangana Simpson, author of The Last Maopo and Member of the Waitangi Tribunal.

She went on to say that, ‘He captures the clash and collision of our Treaty cultures within this tale of tragedy. I hope that our future generations will study Bernard’s poetic work for its insight into the political forces at play and how this piece of history has played its part in our national identity.’

Cadogan asks: ‘Why did New Zealanders fight for the oldest site of a European palace state: the site of the myth of the labyrinth and Minotaur? What was the monster in the palace that we fought? What other ways are there of dealing with such a menace?’

‘This is a radical poem, not a fuddy-duddy poem,’ said Cadogan. ‘It is not composed in Spenserian stanzas as a conservative nostalgia trip or whimsy, but as a deliberate act of decolonisation and reparation for Edmund Spenser and our own premier Alfred Domett’s dreadfully racist “Ranolf and Amohia”.’

‘Canto I of “Crete 1941” is about law, Canto II is about war, Canto III is about love, and Canto IV is about resistance, while Canto V is about the 28th (Māori) Battalion. Many famous New Zealanders pass through the poem, as does the experience of ordinary Cretans, Germans and Kiwis as well.’

‘The PledgeMe campaign goal for Crete 1941 was easily reached,’ said Tuwhiri publisher Ramsey Margolis. ‘Supporters include Rt Hon Sir Bill English, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, Bill Moran MNZM and Sir Douglas and Lady Jane Kidd, as well as George Neonakis, Honorary Consul of Greece, Wellington, John Davidson, Secretary, Hellenic New Zealand Congress, and Tony Tsourdalakis, President, Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand.’

In good bookshops, Crete 1941 can also be found online at

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