Hocken Librarian, Sharon Dell, introduced the event, and was followed by Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen who formally launched the book. As Erik pointed out, there had not been a comprehensive biography since R.M. Burdon’s 1955 biography on New Zealand’s most successful Premier perhaps due to the the giant shadow that Seddon cast. Tom’s biography opens up considerable new perspectives and information on the man.
Tom Brooking then discussed the topic of his research, recounting Seddon’s many achievements and his ability to connect with Māori, with workers, and the general public. However he was also a man of his own times, and his imperialist jingoism and anti-Chinese sentiment would not meet with such popular acclaim today.
At 584 pages this is a substantial book, but also one destined to be a classic within New Zealand historiography.