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The Many Deaths of Mary Dobie
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'Dreadful murder at Opunake', said the Taranaki Herald, 'Shocking outrage', cried the Evening Post in Wellington when they learned in November 1880 that a young woman called Mary Dobie had been found lying under a flax bush near Opunake on the Taranaki coast with her throat cut so deep her head was almost severed. It is a murder story, starting as a whodunit then becomes a whydunit. It takes the reader on a journey across the landscape of social and political tensions in the couple of years leading up to the invasion of Parihaka in 1881: Pakeha feared it was an act of political terrorism, Maori thought it would be the cue for the state to use force against them. Was it rape or robbery, was the killer Maori or Pakeha? It is also, in a sense, a sequel to Over the Mountains of the Sea. Mary Dobie features prominently in that book through her sketches and paintings of life on a migrant ship as well as the diary she kept with her sister. Illustrations by Mary are an important part of the new book as well as diaries and a memoir written by her sister.
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About the Author

David Hastings holds an MA (Hons) in History from the University of Auckland. A former editor of the Weekend Herald, he is the author of Over the Mountains of the Sea: Life on the Migrant Ships, 1870-1885 and Extra! Extra! How the People Made the News, both published by Auckland University Press.

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