The most influential person in my life was a school-teacher, Guy Bliss, who back in 1956 preached to the school’s first 6th form (about 6 of us in his history class (the rest had fled at 15, then the school leaving age, mainly for factory work) at Naenae College a single message, namely that absolutely everything without exception is interesting.

By God he was right. Mind you, being hooked on that truth comes at a price, reflected by my circa 25,000 books (and more coming in weekly) on every conceivable subject imaginable. It’s a real problem, compounded by my strong preference for reading fiction.

Someone else who shares that sentiment is Auckland history Professor Paul Moon. In an activity (academia) noted for the indolence of many of its participants, Paul is a standout exception, not merely today but conceivably in New Zealand university history.

At least yearly he researches an aspect of our history, often esoteric, then delivers up another book, always in highly readable style.

His latest, “A Draught of the South Land – Mapping New Zealand from Tasman to Cook”.

Doubtless, reading that title many folk would shrug and say why do I care about the history of mapping New Zealand?

The answer gets back to Guy Bliss again, namely because properly told (Moon is a master in writing entertainingly) it’s really interesting in dozens of different ways.

Order a copy from your bookseller and experience my point for yourself.


Peter Andrew Cameron BeveridgeY September 6, 2023 at 3:57 pm

Ordered it

I’ve recently read Mr Moon’s book ‘Auckland. The Twentieth Century Story’. An excellent experience.

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