The history of Hawke's Bay
Now out in second edition
The Battlecruiser New Zealand: A Gift to Empire tells the dramatic story of New Zealand’s gift of a major warship to Britain at the height of the ‘dreadnought’ era in 1909. It is a human story encompassing the world of the time – the people and politics behind the gift, and its place in the great naval race of the age. Oft-told myths about her affordability and role are tackled in this thoroughly researched account, and we then follow the story of the ship itself on its 1913 world-spanning tour and subsequent wartime career in the North Sea. Profusely illustrated, this hardback edition is on sale in all good bookshops across the United Kingdom, United States, and (from November 2021) in New Zealand. Also available on Amazon. Click to buy.
The New Zealand Wars is a concise, illustrated history of the New Zealand Wars of the mid-nineteenth century, a quick read aimed at schools and at everybody with interest in this crucial subject. It’s been fielding some rave reviews:
Check it out now. Click to buy.
Freyberg: A Life’s Journey is a biography of Bernard Freyberg, the swimming champion and reluctant dentist from lower-middle class Wellington who made his mark in London high society from the outbreak of the First World War – who was good friends with James Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan; who wooed Cynthia Asquith, the model for D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley; and who became best friends with Winston Churchill. And that wasn’t even half of what he did. Then there was the story of his time as a mercenary in Mexico, which he intentionally had censored, later. And, of course, there is his military career that followed – but this book is about Freyberg the man, Freyberg the legend who put his name to streets, buildings, beaches, swimming pools, schools and more across New Zealand. Click to buy.
Living On Shaky Ground is out in second expanded edition – new science and coverage of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura quake. It’s your essential guide to the history and science of New Zealand’s major earthquakes, full colour with diagrams showing just how New Zealand’s tectonics work. Click to buy. Get it now.
The History of Hawke’s Bay is a story that spans centuries and people, a tale of settlement, wars, and colonial hopes. This profusely illustrated 260-page book offers a unique overview of this district from its geological origins to the wild cowboy world of the colonists, earthquake and world wars, and ultimately the lifestyle province of the twenty-first century. Experience the journey. Click to buy.
“Matthew Wright is one of New Zealand’s most prolific and most readable historians…” – Christopher Pugsley, foreword to The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front.
“Few New Zealand historians are as prolific as Wright, and fewer still have his command of events and developments in the country during the 19th century” – Paul Moon, NZBooks, June 2015.
‘Like [Michael] King and [Keith] Sinclair, Wright has profound knowledge of his subject and uses lucid prose to convey it…He is deeply interested in the why of things, in the complex interplay of environment, economics and personalities.’
– Fritz Logan, Timaru Herald, 21 November 2009.
‘Familiar places become much more fascinating and monumental as a result of Wright’s multi-faceted treatment of his subject…the extent of his research into the archives is obvious… We can discern here the true paths of human interaction in all their complexity.’
– Mick Ludden, Wairarapa Times-Age, 17 February 2007.