Work in Progress

Joel Polack

An outsider in pre-colonial New Zealand

Kororareka

Ngapuhi and other Maori tribes in Northland were in turmoil after the capital of New Zealand was moved in 1841 from Kororareka in the Bay of Islands to Auckland. The number of ships coming to the Bay of Islands declined, the dues the Maori tribes collected from…

The boy from Maungatautari

Ken Gorby, Te Papa to Berlin: The Making of Two Museums

Otago University Press, NZ$40.00

Ken Gorbey, the then young director of the very successful Waikato Museum turned museum consultant, was hired by the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, at the early stages of planning to take charge of ‘visitor experience’. The spectacular, successful Te Maori exhibition had just toured the US followed by…

The Duel

Trouble was brewing in Kororareka in March 1837 and Joel Polack, the Jewish trader knew it. He had just returned from Sydney. There were whispers, rumours, curious looks. Joel Polack, was not liked and he didn’t care. He was an artist, an educated man. He was also a successful businessman…

The fight 1

There was a fight. The cry went out: “Fight! Fight! And boys were running from all corners of the playing field and the quadrangle to the area behind the cricket pavilion. Within seconds the whole school was milling in the space between the rifle range and the cricket pavilion. Peter…

Going home

It was so kind of them to invite him along, such a nice family; his son’s friend and his partner, or was it his wife, perhaps his second wife. You can’t tell these days. Such a pretty young woman. His son and his son’s friend had asked him to come…

You could hear Larry from the other end of the store when he came in. He remembered everybody, had a few words with all the staff, flirted light-heartedly with the buyers, older women, who giggled and said, go on, Larry, but it was Larry’s infectious laugh that people that people…

Time, Linda thought, as she was setting the table, that her son was home. It was getting dark. She didn’t like Matt hanging out after school. She looked forward to hearing about his day at school, giving him his afternoon tea, and having him to herself. This was the best…

Freedom

I didn’t know my mother. I only have this image of her sitting on the back of a motorbike behind a rugged, muscular man, with strong knocked-about features, someone who was perhaps no stranger to a fight. His fair hair was long, untrimmed. …

The Meaning of Words

Everybody knew Joe, a little old man with a large head and bushy white hair, but people knew nothing about him. He had drifted here and stayed. You would see him out, walking. He seldom spoke to anyone. He just looked at you with intense, unblinking eyes. If he did…

The farm

‘This is the farm’, Frank said, just as the bus reached the top of the hill. ‘I worked on this farm one summer .’

‘Somehow I can’t see you as a farmer, Frank’ June said.

Frank looked more like a trade union organizer, with a full shock of hair, more…

Steven Sedley (Cegledy)

Bookseller, publisher’s representative, teacher and occasional writer of both fiction and non-fiction.

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