New Zealand Historiography and Transport

in Mobility in History
Author: James Watson
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New Zealand has a rich historiography related to transport, but almost all of it looks at particular sectors, such as railways or shipping, or at parts of these sectors. The most substantial attempt to look at transport throughout New Zealand’s history (and even prehistory) is my own book, Links: A History of Transport and New Zealand Society. It outlines forms of transport as they were introduced and proposes an argument explaining why various forms became preferred. Links also explores transport’s impact on the development of New Zealand society since initial human settlement and indicates how social values have shaped its use. Alan H. Grey’s Aotearoa and New Zealand: A Historical Geography also stresses the importance of transport through New Zealand’s history. More specifically, Rollo Arnold has demonstrated the influence of transport on settler society in New Zealand before the First World War.3 David Hamer explored the importance of transport links, breaks in transport and the general pace of early transport in New Zealand to explain the origins of many of its towns.

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