Picture every artwork of colonial Aotearoa New Zealand you can think of. Now add a chain gang. This was the reality of our country in the 19th century: hard-labour men guarded by other men with guns, moving heavy metal, picking at the earth. The work of prisoners has shaped the making of Aotearoa New Zealand and Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa in profound and unsettling ways, yet these stories remain largely unknown.

Award-winning historian and Turnbull Library Research Librarian Jared Davidson joins Max Harris to discuss the untold stories in his Ockham NZ Book Awards longlisted book of how prison labour has shaped the country we know today.

Supported by Friends of the Turnbull Library.

Also at Auckland Writers Festival 2024

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Last updated: 12 March 2024