Journeys in time and place

In Migrations Rod Edmond traces the journeys of his Scottish forebears as they separately made their way to New Zealand. The migration story begins with Charles Murray leaving Aberdeenshire in 1884 to become a missionary on the island of Ambrym. On the other side of Scotland, Catherine McLeod and her family had already abandoned their small coastal croft and sailed for Tasmania.

Encounters in Scottish and Pacific villages, a reconciliation ceremony, visits to country churches in New Zealand, and the shock of a city’s history transformed by earthquake – all are woven into an exploration of ‘migration’, of what it is and what it means in our lives. Evocations of place are quietly infused with an understanding of the past, subtly shifting perceptions of identity for current generations.

Emeritus Professor at the University of Kent in Canterbury, Rod Edmond has published in the fields of Victorian and postcolonial writing, and in the history and literature of empire. In 1998 he was the joint winner of the Trevor Reese Memorial Prize for Imperial History for Representing the South Pacific: Colonial Discourse from Cook to Gauguin.

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Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. St Fergus
3. Aberdeen
4. Ullapool
5. Ambrym I
6. Ambrym II
7. Tasmania
8. New Zealand
9. Afterlives
10. Returning

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Jul 2013
Pages: 248
RRP: $39.99
ISBN: 9781927131466
ISTC: A0220120000222D6
DOI: 10.7810/9781927131466

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Media Coverage

Read a review of Migrations in the recent issue of Journal of New Zealand Studies

Migrations was recently reviewed in Landfall

Read a review of Migrations in the Otago Daily Times

Listen to Rod Edmond on Sounds Historical


'Rod Edmond's achievement in this outstanding book is to reflect in an engaging and considered way on his own life, on the lives of his colonial forebears, and on the enormous impact of migration on individuals, families and cultures. Migrations is a compulsive page-turner, but it is also deeply thoughtful and though-provoking.' New Zealand Journal of History, October 2013

'This is my kind of book, and a book for any New Zealander descended from European immigrants, particularly from Britain. In a narrative that is learned, atmospheric and often gripping, Rod Edmond reflects on identity and migration with the penetrating insight of a still tenderly attached exile.' Fleur Adcock.

'A poignant meditation on the significant but largely forgotten story of missionary enterprise, and an eloquent commentary on the back-and-forth lives so many people have led, and continue to lead, between Britain and New Zealand.' Nicholas Thomas, Trinity College, Cambridge