Our Stories, edited by Ian Wishart

our storiesI’ve just finished reading Ian Wishart’s book “Our Stories: The Way We Used to Be: The New Zealand Time Forgot,” (published by Howling At the Moon in 2014) and wanted to share it with you.

It’s actually a collection of newspaper articles written in the 1800s and 1900s. Wishart has searched them out from Papers Past(1), and written his commentary in between the articles.

It was a format I’m not used to, and the age of the articles made them a bit heavy-going, so Wishart’s summarising notes helped a lot. I still loved the way it came together as a simple, honest look at what happened in New Zealand and what New Zealanders used to be like. The chapter called “The Telephone Comes to NZ” was especially amusing.

The whole book comes from Wishart’s viewpoint of discussing history they way it happened, no matter what’s politically correct in our day. He includes things that I’d never heard of, like the tsunami in 1868, and the big Christchurch earthquake in 1888 (read the Oamaru Mail article here).

I liked being able to read a book about New Zealand history from a different perspective, and enjoy the fruits of Wishart’s labours chasing down the old newspaper stories.

…the most fascinating forgotten tales of our past, told through the eyes of the people who were there. (quote from back cover)

So if you are interested in hundred-year-old news stories, or in New Zealand history, or you just love to read Ian Wishart, this is a book for you!

~I did not receive any compensation or reward for reviewing this book~

P.S. This book review serves as an introduction to my blog, Rhoda’s Reviews

(1) Papers Past is an amazing resource of searchable historical newspapers which have been digitised by the National Library of New Zealand curators.


4 thoughts on “Our Stories, edited by Ian Wishart

  1. Hi Rhoda,

    Sounds like an interesting book! I love reading historical things, or people of the past, and learning about other countries. For example, last month my family watched a documentary video on Ireland, and it was interesting to get a peek at the history of Ireland, things I never knew before.

    I will check and see if this book can be found in my local library, though I have a feeling it might be just published in New Zealand. Thanks for the review!


    • Hi Becky,
      Sounds interesting – can you tell me the name of the documentary?
      It is a lovely book. I hope you’ll be able to read it. Did you have a look at the newspaper article?
      Just curious – do the libraries over there have any books published in New Zealand?
      Lol. I have asked you three questions!


  2. The documentary was a set of 3-4 DVDs called “The Story of Ireland” by BBC. Though it was interesting, we found it quite biased (not surprising since it was done by BBC), and quite pro Catholic and against Protestants. We got to watch only 1 DVD, but we knew how to watch it critically, and so it was interesting to learn details about Ireland’s history. You can actually find it in 5 parts on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN0ndWAgA6o

    I didn’t read the article, I’ll take a look.

    It doesn’t seem like our library has this book. But I saw it has books by the same author, so I think they may have some books published in New Zealand too!


    • Thanks, Becky! I’ll have a look at that series.
      I have read quite a lot of Ian Wishart’s books. He’s an investigative journalist, and his books are very much in that style. He’s a Christian, but not a Creationist.
      It’s cool that your library has books from New Zealand 🙂


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