Mrs Wiltshire

Mrs Wiltshire, the New Zealand pedestrian, Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 22 July 1876

Cover of Old New Zealand

Cover of Old New Zealand, Whitcomb and Tombs, 1948 edition

Jack Lovelock

Jack Lovelock breaks the world mile record, 1933, MSX-2247-042 (detail), Alexander Turnbull Library

Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales poster, Auckland Weekly News, 29 April 1920

Wellington wind

Wellington wind, Taranaki Street, 1959, EP/1959/3756-F, Evening Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library

Portrait of a Maori Chief

Portrait of a Maori Chief, 1833, MS-Papers-8349-1, Thomas Laslett journals, Alexander Turnbull Library


Artist: Douglas MacDiarmid. Helen Hitchings, 1950. Oil on board, G-390, Alexander Turnbull Library

Mrs Wiltshire

Mrs Wiltshire, the New Zealand pedestrian, Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 22 July 1876

Smith with ball 1905

George Smith poses for the camera.  (Auckland Weekly News, 21 December 1905. Image supplied by Grey Collections, Auckland City Libraries)

Here are some examples of my writing. A bibliography is here.

  • My current project is a life and times of the remarkable George W Smith - New Zealand's greatest all-round sportsman from the years before World War I. This was a time when making that long voyage to take on Britain's best was the impossible dream of most New Zealand sportsmen. Smith did it three times, in three different codes, and was successful every time. Here is a short piece from chapter four. I will put up something more substantial soon. 
  • I have been researching the royal visit of 1920, featuring a lovesick prince, his political minders, and a very besotted nation. It gives a revealing and different glimpse of New Zealand in the aftermath of World War I. This article gives a taste of what it is about.
  • From 2010-2015 I wrote a column about Wellington – 200-300 words accompanying an image from the Turnbull Library collections. They began in the weekly Wellingtonian, then in Capital Times. and until recently in FishHead magazine. I might start them up again later. You can read most of them here. Many of the early ones were worked up for my book, Wellingtonians.
  • My first book was As If Running on Air: The Journals of Jack Lovelock. This is an article I wrote for the Listener when the book came out.
  • Long ago my MA thesis was about the early “Pakeha Maori” writer, Frederick Edward Maning. This essay was written for a Jason Hall exhibition curated b Damian Skinner. Hall’s very striking jewellery and artwork had been inspired by Maning’s classic book, Old New Zealand.
  • One of most intriguing Turnbull Library acquisitions during my time as a Turnbull curator were Thomas Laslett’s lively journals of timber gathering expeditions around the New Zealand coast in the 1830s and 1840s. Here is a short article about the journals, written just after my first reading of them.
  • As you can see sports history is a big interest of mine. Here is the essay I wrote for Te Ara, the online encyclopedia, about the history of New Zealand athletics.
  • While doing that athletics research I realised how little work had been done on New Zealand professional sport before World War I. That is now another research enthusiasm. This Turnbull Library Record article tells the forgotten story of the remarkable Catherine Wiltshire, pedestrienne extraordinaire.