The Making of New Zealanders

Ron Palenski

'This is as fine a work of history as we have produced, giving the clearest account yet of how we came to be who we are – a unique people with traditions of our own in which we can take pride. Every home should have one.' – Paul Little, North & South


The Making of New Zealanders is an account of how transplanted Britons and others turned themselves into New Zealanders, a distinct group of people with their own songs and sports, symbols and opinions, political traditions and sense of self.

Looking at the arrival of steamships and the telegraph, at ‘God’s Own’ and the kiwi, rugby and votes for women, Ron Palenski identifies the nineteenth-century origins of the sense of New Zealandness. He argues that events earlier held to be breakthroughs in the development of a national identity – the federation of Australia in 1901, the Boer War of 1899–1902, the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 – were in fact outward affirmations of a New Zealand identity that had already taken shape.


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Ron Palenski is the author of numerous books for a general audience, most notably All Blacks: The Authorised Portrait (2007), the Encyclopedia of New Zealand Rugby (1999) and How we saw the war: 1939–45: Through New Zealand Eyes (2009). The Making of New Zealanders is based on Palenski’s acclaimed PhD thesis from the University of Otago.


July 2012, 215 x 140 mm, 392 pages, illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 978 1 86940 726 1, $45