The Interregnum

The Interregnum

Rethinking New Zealand

‘The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.’ – Antonio Gramsci

Is New Zealand’s political settlement beginning to fray? And does this mean we’re entering the interregnum, that ambiguous moment between society-wide discontent and political change? In BWB’s latest book of essays, edited by Morgan Godfery, ten of New Zealand’s sharpest emerging thinkers gather to debate the ‘morbid symptoms’ of the current moment, from precarious work to climate change, and to discuss what shape change might take, from ‘the politics of love’ to postcapitalism.

The Interregnum interrogates the future from the perspective of the generation who will shape it.

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BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Spanning contemporary issues, history and memoir, new BWB Texts are released regularly, and the series now amounts to well over fifty works.

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Morgan Godfery is a writer and trade unionist based in Wellington. He is an online columnist for Overland Literary Journal in Australia and a regular book reviewer for Fairfax. His writing regularly appears in the Guardian and the Herald. He also appears on radio and television as a political commentator and has authored several academic chapters and lectured extensively on Maori politics. He graduated in law from Victoria University in 2015.


Andrew Dean is an Ashburton local based in the United Kingdom. In 2012 he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and is currently studying towards a doctorate in English literature at the University of Oxford. He is also the author of Ruth, Roger and Me, the acclaimed BWB Text.

Max Harris is an Examination Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He has worked as a clerk to Chief Justice Elias in the Supreme Court and his writing has been published in The New Statesman, openDemocracy, The Huffington Post, and The Pantograph Punch. He's currently working on a book about the future of progressive politics and policy in New Zealand.

Lamia Imam is a Christchurch-born communications consultant based in Austin, Texas. She recently graduated with a Masters in Public Administration from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She has presented at the Congressional Research Service in Washington D.C. on Congressional committees' use of social media and previously worked in Wellington for the Labour Leader’s Office and at the Office of Treaty Settlements. She blogs on New Zealand politics at and tweets under the handle @LI_Politico. 

Chloe King is a writer and activist based currently based in Auckland. Chloe has been involved in movements for social change and Indigenous rights since she was 14. She holds a post graduate diploma in Visual Arts and Art and Design and is the former editor of Debate, the Auckland University of Technology student magazine.  

Daniel Kleinsman is a lawyer and activist currently based in the Philippines. He is a dual citizen of New Zealand and the Netherlands. After graduating in law at Victoria University of Wellington in 2014 he worked as an adviser at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and is currently training as a Catholic priest.  

Edward Miller is a Kuala Lumpur-based campaign advisor for the Building and Wood Workers' International, a global trade union federation. Edward has been widely published, including and the Pantograph Punch, and until late-2015 organised national opposition against the TPPA. He holds undergraduate degrees in law and philosophy and a postgraduate degree in law from the University of Auckland.

Courtney Sina Meredith is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician of Samoan, Mangaian and Irish descent. She holds a degree in English and Political Studies from the University of Auckland, where she also co-edited Spectrum 5. She is a former writer-in-residence at the Bleibtreu Berlin and her first book of poetry, Brown Girls in Bright Red Lipstick, was published in 2012.

Carrie Stoddart-Smith is an Auckland-Wellington commuting senior policy analyst of Ngāti Tautahi, Ngāti Rēhia and Ngāpuhi descent. She holds a BA and LLB from Auckland University and an LLM in International Law and Politics with First Class Honours from the University of Canterbury. She has written extensively on Maori politics.

Wilbur Townsend is a writer and economist based in Wellington. He is a former feature writer for Salient, the Victoria University student magazine, and is the winner of the Sir Frank Holmes Prize. In 2015 he graduated with a BA in Economics and Philosophy and a BSc in Mathematics, in 2016 he will complete an MCom in Economics.

Holly Walker is a writer, children's advocate, and former Green MP. In 2005, while at the University of Otago, Holly edited the student magazine Critic Te Arohi. After graduating with a BA(Hons) in Politics and English, she won a Rhodes Scholarship and graduated from the University of Oxford with a Masters in Development Studies. Holly publishes essays and reviews of women writers and co-hosts a parenting podcast.

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Mar 2016
Pages: 172
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9780947492649
ISTC: A02201600000003A
DOI: 10.7810/9780947492649

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'SenateSHJ recommended reading: sixth edition', Senate SHJ, 12 July 2016

'The Interregnum', Morgan Godfery, Overland Literary Journal, 25 June 2016

Morgan Godfery on Saturday Morning, Radio New Zealand, 15 March 2016

Max Harris talks to Charlotte Graham, Radio New Zealand, 23 April 2016

'A question of values', Tom McKinlay, Otago Daily Times, 23 April 2016

'The Interregnum – review', Ryan Holder, New Zealand Listener, 8 April 2016

'Morgan Godfery — politics is in the blood', Dale Husband, e-tangata, 3 April 2016

'Baby ban in NZ debating chamber remains', Holly Walker on Q&A, ONE News, 26 March 2016

'Reading: The Interregnum with Anna Bracewell-Worrall', 95bFM, 18 March 2016

'The Catton conundrum: What attacks on the novelist say about public debate in NZ', Andrew Dean, The Spinoff, 18 March 2016

'Race is the Trump card', Lamia Imam, The Wireless, 17 March 2016

'Morgan Godfery on the new popularism, the politics of love and his new book, The Interregnum: Rethinking New Zealand', Henry Oliver, idealog, 15 March 2016

Extract: Contributing to Public Life from Afar, The Pantograph Punch, 15 March 2016

'Debating New Zealand: NZ Writers Week 2016', 24LiveBlog


'...there is much finely woven and bright material in The Interregnum. If you are dissatisfied with the general discourse on the present sociological set-up in New Zealand, this is a good, accessible book to read; it raises the standard.' 'Raising the Standard', Denis Harold, Landfall Review Online, 17 October 2016

'Ultimately...we sincerely appreciate the book as a collective project to critique New Zealand's recent past and engage in progressive thinking about what could be.' Alix Jansen and Jordan Carnaby King, New Zealand Sociology, Volume 31, Issue 1, 2016

'Morgan Godfery has herded together a talented group of writers who have pulled off quite a stunt. They give me hope.' Kerry Tankard, Green Party, Te Awa, Issue 50, May 2016

'Thankfully, all the young writers in The Interregnum have a sense of progress. None of them mourn a forgotten utopia nor eulogise the death of the Kiwi Dream (which never existed anyway). They place themselves at the beachhead or vanguard of an infant movement which seeks to overturn and destroy the prevailing consensus, and de facto rejects the crustiness of some of their comrades who maintain that the best elements of our society lay in our past. Those zombies need not rise again. But Morgan Godfrey does resurrect an important concept: the idea of the human being.' James Robins, NewstalkZB, 16 March 2016