Author(s): Tim Ryan
Since The Colonial New Zealand Wars was first published in 1986, there have been several attempts to give a 'modern' interpretation to the facts of history by writers, parliamentarians and others uncomfortable with the facts of New Zealand history. In this new edition of the book Tim Ryan refutes many of these claims. All over the world countries are rewriting their history to suit present day sensibilities (Japan is a prime example), but no matter how absurd the claims of political correctness may be, historical facts speak for themselves. To claim that the Maori invented artillery bunkers and trench warfare, as Professor James Belich did in the television series The New Zealand Wars, is clearly ludicrous when they were known in Europe since the invention of gunpowder many centuries earlier. The practice of attributing present day attitudes to people who lived in vastly different times is at best questionable. Revisionist historians do themselves no credit. No previous book has ever featured such a comprehensive pictorial coverage of this sad chapter in the history of New Zealand. Many photographs were published for the first time in the original edition, and this new edition contains a splendid colour section. Equally important are original paintings and drawings specially prepared for this book. Tim Ryan has collected what is probably the most complete collection of paintings and early photographs of the wars. It is an illustrated military history that describes in detail the campaigns, personalities, weapons, uniforms, fighting styles, conditions and attitudes of each side. It is not a political history of the period. Written with Bill Parham, an acknowledged researcher and historian, it is also the story of land hungry settlers and a clash of cultures, in which the British Army, and later the Colonial forces, strove to impose their will.