Journey to a Hanging is gay author Peter Wells latest published work. It methodically investigates the murder in 1865 of missionary Rev Carl Volkner and the ultimate hanging of Kereopa Te Rau for this crime. But did Te Rau commit the murder? Or was it really just a case of Pakeha Utu?
These events undoubtedly had an enormous impact on race relations in New Zealand and this work sets the scene with remarkable clarity on the small mindedness and official bureaucracy of the period. But not everyone was after revenge and both Colenso and Sister Mary Joseph Aubert displayed remarkable resistance to the colonial administration’s determination, 6 years later, to send Te Rau to the gallows.
This book, the result of over 2 years work, was published in July 2014, just before Te Rau’s official pardon. If you wish to get an understanding of colonial life and Maori – Pakeha relations this book is highly recommended. Very readable – yet clearly a work of some academic standing.
Article | Richard Todd.
Journey to a Hanging is published by Vintage. RRP: $44.95.