The Unsettled reviewed in Taranaki Daily News


Helen Harvey reviews The Unsettled: Small stories of colonisation for Taranaki Daily News (hosted on Stuff):

‘Richard Shaw’s second book has been written out of the response to his first.

He wrote The Forgotten Coast telling his Irish great-grandfather’s story of being involved in the invasion of Parihaka and farming on confiscated land, and what that meant for Shaw, a professor of politics at Massey University, today.

The people who contacted him about the book led him to write The Unsettled: Small stories of colonisation, he said.

“The majority of people who got in touch said ‘it touched a chord’, or ‘that’s made me think about something that’s been bothering me for years’, or ‘this is my version of your story’.”

Those people, like Shaw, grew up with family stories which turned out not to be entirely correct, or had some things left out, Shaw, who went to Highlands Intermediate and Francis Douglas Memorial College, said.


“It bothered them and unsettled them, they didn’t know what to make of it. There were quite a lot of them.”

The Unsettled told their stories.

All of the people in the book had different versions of the story, but were all saying the same thing, he said.

“Many of us talk about the pioneer story or the settlement story but it generally obscures or forgets to mention some of the stuff that had to go on in order for the land to be available for settlement.”

He wanted to be clear that he was not judging his or anyone else’s ancestors, and it wasn’t about guilt.

“I would imagine most of us would have done exactly the same thing had we been in those circumstances.”’

Read the full review here.