Old Black Cloud

A cultural history of mental depression in Aotearoa New Zealand

Jacqueline Leckie

book cover for Old Black Cloud
Title Info Sheet Sample Pages

Soft cover


A timely contribution to understanding mental health

Mental depression is a serious issue in contemporary New Zealand, and it has an increasingly high profile. But during our history, depression has often been hidden under a long black cloud of denial that we have not always lived up to the Kiwi ideal of being pragmatic and have not always coped.

Using historic patient records as a starting place, and informed by her own experience of depression, academic Jacqueline Leckie’s timely social history of depression in Aotearoa analyses its medical, cultural and social contexts through an historical lens. From detailing its links to melancholia and explaining its expression within Indigenous and migrant communities, this engrossing book interrogates how depression was medicalised and has been treated, and how New Zealanders have lived with it.

To look inside, click here.

Old Black Cloud is authoritative, erudite and highly readable. It should be mandatory reading for all those interested in the social and cultural dimensions of depression and mental health in Aotearoa New Zealand.’ — Solomon Lewis, North & South

‘Highly accessible, uniquely insightful, and in-depth exploration of mental depression as an intrinsic part of our national fabric.’ — Allan McEvoy, Kete Books

  • CATEGORY: History, Contemporary issues
  • ISBN: 9781991016720
  • ESBN: 9781991016737
  • PUBLISHER: Massey University Press
  • IMPRINT: Massey University Press
  • PUBLISHED: 13/06/2024
  • PAGE EXTENT: 312
  • FORMAT: Soft cover
Profile image for Jacqueline Leckie

Jacqueline Leckie is a researcher and writer based in Ōtepoti Dunedin.