David Hastings

Historian and journalist.

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Photo credit: John Sefton

David Hastings’s career in journalism spans more than four decades. He began working in journalism as a copy boy on the Melbourne Sun in 1970 and ended in 2013 as editor of the Weekend Herald. In between times he worked for the Australian Associated Press, the Australasian Express in London, and the ABC in Melbourne as sub-editor, producer and then television news editor. At the New Zealand Herald between 1987 and 2013 he was a sub-editor, foreign editor, news editor, deputy editor and, finally, editor of the Weekend Herald. He left the Herald in 2013 to pursue his interest in writing history.

Hastings has an MA (Hons) in History from The University of Auckland. His first book, Over the Mountains of the Sea: Life on the Migrant Ships, 1870–1885 (AUP 2006), was based on the research he did for his MA thesis. His second book Extra! Extra! How the People Made the News (AUP 2013) emerged from a combination of his interests in history and in journalism, being a study of nineteenth-century newspapers to see if the perspective of someone who has actually worked in the industry would have anything to add to theoretical ideas about what has made newspapers what they are. His third book, The Many Deaths of Mary Dobie: Murder, Politics and Revenge in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand (AUP 2015), is the true story of a nineteenth century murder that also shines a light on the Taranaki region’s landscape of social and political tensions in the years leading up to the invasion of Parihaka in 1881.