New book draws on stories of NZ’s colonial history

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STAFF REPORTER

A new book by Tom O’Connor is a tale of early European settlement in New Zealand – complete with convicts, mutiny and murder.

The fourth historical novel covering early European settlement by the St Andrews-based historian, journalist and political commentator, Irish Convict, follows Maurice O’Brien, an escaped convict from the New South Wales penal colony.

His character – like most in the book – is an amalgamation of several real people in the early days of European settlement in New Zealand and Australia.

Tom O’Connor

Mr O’Connor says the stories in the book are a true and historically accurate account of actual, but relatively unknown, events uncovered after several years of painstaking research.

Some of these events include a mutiny and murder aboard a small ship sailing from Sydney to Hokianga in 1838, European cannibals in New Zealand, and details of the Wairau Massacre in Marlborough in 1843.

This is an account of the first gunfight over land in New Zealand as told by a witness who survived.

Mr O’Connor’s other books include a biography of Eric Batchelor, one of New Zealand’s most highly decorated World War 2 soldiers, a trilogy on the life of Te Rauparaha through the New Zealand wars, and the loss of ship Mikhail Lermontov in the Marlborough Sounds in 1986.

For more information, visit www.tomoconnor.co.nz.