A lively new illustrated history of the South Island by Matthew Wright, Old South tells a story of triumphs, tragedies and earnest hopes. It covers: early Maori-Pakeha conflict, the Wairau Affair, colonial settlement planned and unplanned, the Gold Rush, the growth of farming and the pastoral elite, and the development of towns and cities.
Wright, a noted and prolific historian, paints a vibrant picture of mainland life from the 1840s. In particular he focuses on the rise and fall of the first privately founded Pakeha settlements with their hopeful framework of social idealism, business enterprise and religious conviction.
As history shows, they were doomed before they began, overwhelmed by the developing southern frontier - a colourful, vigorous world of gold and wool, of social climbers, would-be aristocrats and ambitious ne'er-do-wells.