New Zealand and the Sea

New Zealand and the Sea

Historical Perspectives

As a group of islands in the far south-west Pacific Ocean, New Zealand has a history that is steeped in the sea. Its people have encountered the sea in many different ways: along the coast, in port, on ships, beneath the waves, behind a camera, and in the realm of the imagination. While New Zealanders have continually shaped and altered their marine environments, the ocean, too, has shaped their lives.

A richly illustrated and multi-disciplinary work encompassing history, marine science, archaeology and visual culture, New Zealand and the Sea explores New Zealand’s varied relationship with the sea, challenging the conventional view that history unfolds on land. Leading and emerging scholars highlight the dynamic, ocean-centred history of these islands and their inhabitants, offering fascinating new perspectives on New Zealand’s pasts.


Atholl Anderson, Tony Ballantyne, Julie Benjamin, Douglas Booth, Chris Brickell, Peter Gilderdale, David Haines, Susann Liebich, Alison MacDiarmid, Ben Maddison, Angela McCarthy, Grace Millar, Damon Salesa, Jonathan Scott, Frances Steel, Michael J. Stevens, Jonathan West

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Nov 2018
Pages: 384
RRP: $59.99
ISBN: 9780947518707
DOI: 10.7810/9780947518707

‘Reframing the history of nineteenth-century New Zealand around the ocean and the maritime connections that were central to migration, warfare, economic life, and the development of communities, opens out and transforms our vision of the colonial past.’ – Tony Ballantyne

‘The sea can both connect and divide, integrate and segregate, thereby mirroring life on land.’ – Angela McCarthy

‘It is a strange fact that New Zealand can be literally all at sea in the Pacific Ocean, and yet pay that ocean, and neighbours and relations within it, so little attention.’ – Damon Salesa

‘We are tāngata whenua. But many of us also cling to the coast, to islands and to the sea. We are also tāngata moana, and always have been.’ – Michael J. Stevens