A World Apart: Portland Island (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand) and Portland Bill (Dorset, England)

On 12th October 1769, sailing south in the Endeavour, Captain James Cook first viewed an island off the tip of Mahia Peninsula which measured some three kilometres in length.  He named it Portland Island “on account of its very great resemblance to Portland in the English Channel“. What Cook didn’t know was the island already had a… Continue reading A World Apart: Portland Island (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand) and Portland Bill (Dorset, England)

What’s in a Name?

As the campaign against the preservation of statues and street names named after persons associated with slavery gathers momentum in the United Kingdom, if we pause to look around the countries of the old empire, we can see its imprint everywhere: in place names, monuments, streets, parks, gardens, festivals and so on. This is particularly… Continue reading What’s in a Name?

Time for Cricket

The Self-Fielding Cricket Ground In Hawkes Bay, just off the main road between Napier and Wairoa, or more accurately between Whirinaki and Tutira and only a short distance from the crest of the Devil’s Elbow hill, some 400 metres above sea level, is a cricket pitch, nestled in a gully. If you were passing and… Continue reading Time for Cricket


Messaging: My experience of Learning and Teaching History in a former British Colony I was educated in New Zealand and I expect my history education was the same as for most of my contemporaries. In primary years history was included as part of Social Studies which included both geography history. Apart from learning about Abel Tasman… Continue reading Messaging

The Anteater’s Analyst

THE ANTEATER’S ANALYST By Peter Tait with illustrations by Sarah Tait The allegorical tales of Jeremiah Freak, as told to his grandson, Plumb Lucky, and passed down by their richly coloured housemate, the wealthy Macaw.    Contents:                            1. The Anteater’s Analyst                            2. The Centipedes’ Chiropodist                             3. The Walrus’s Washboard                              4. The Penguin’s Peccadillo                             5. The… Continue reading The Anteater’s Analyst

Empire? What Empire?

Empire? What Empire?  One of my regrets in recent years is not being able to get to the Chalke Valley History Festival which for some years now has been a wonderful celebration of Britain’s history. Of course, I have always realised that such festivals are commonly used to flog books or wares and that the… Continue reading Empire? What Empire?

The Class Divide

We sometimes forget just how polarised British society is. Class underpins everything that we think and do, however subconsciously. Whereas in most of the world, the mere presence of loadsamoney is enough to open doors and define your social status, in England that only nudges the door ajar. Class – the division of society by… Continue reading The Class Divide

Repairing the Damage

Repairing the Damage ‘And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People… Continue reading Repairing the Damage

Wairoa – Hometown Blues

Before the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, ‘The Independent’ newspaper ran a story telling their British readers that there was a violent underbelly to New Zealand society, citing gang troubles in the northern Hawkes Bay town of Wairoa as evidence. The examples they used were graphic, including gang shootings and a culture of… Continue reading Wairoa – Hometown Blues

Making a Difference

Making a Difference As a society, we spend an inordinate amount of time, resources and money looking at how to improve the quality of education in our schools. The questions we ask ourselves are always the same. How do we improve the quality of teaching and learning? (and its corollary, our examination results?) How do… Continue reading Making a Difference