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Dear Oliver
Dear Oliver

Dear Oliver

Uncovering a Pakeha history


336 Pages, 5 x 8

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB

Trade Paper, $30.00 (US $30.00) (CA $40.00)

Publication Date: March 2018

ISBN 9780994147363

Rights: US & CA

Massey University Press (Mar 2018)


eBook Editions Available

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Price: $30.00


When writer and historian Peter Wells found a cache of family letters amongst his elderly mother’s effects, he realised that he had the means of retracing the history of a not-untypical family swept out to New Zealand during the great nineteenth-century human diaspora from Britain. His family experienced the war against Te Kooti, the Boer War, the Napier earthquake of 1931 and the Depression. They rose from servant status to the comforts of the middle class. There was army desertion, suicide, adultery, AIDS, secrets and lies. There was also success, prosperity and social status. In digging deep into their stories, examining letters from the past and writing a letter to the future, Peter Wells constructs a novel and striking way to view the history of Pakeha New Zealanders.

Author Biography

Peter Wells is a writer of fiction and non-fiction, and a writer/director in film. His fiction looks at a world of secrets, identity, subterfuge and illusion, frequently using the lens of a gay narrator. His first book, Dangerous Desires, won the Reed Fiction Award, the NZ Book Award, and PEN Best New Book in Prose in 1992. His memoir Long Loop Home won the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Award for Biography, and he has won many awards for his work as a film director. He is co-founder of the Auckland Writers Festival. In 2006, Wells was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature and film. His most recent histories examined William Colenso, a resident of Napier, and Kereopa Te Rau, the Pai Marire follower who was hanged in Napier for murdering Reverend Carl Völkner. Dear Oliver brings to an end this Napier trilogy.