One of the best $2 purchases I've ever made (this was bought on Saturday just outside the antiques fair at the racecourse), this book Land Uprooted High, subtitled "New Zealand's Rise to International Insignificance", is a hoot. Written by A. K. Grant and K. P. Gabara, in 1971 it is EnZed's version of the classic 1066 And All That.
A couple of excerpts:
And ..."Hobson's next action was to choose the site of the new colony's capital. Running his fingers down an alphabetical list of New Zealand towns he came first to Auckland and chose that conurbation as the site of the seat of Government. The decision caused much bitterness among the New Zealand Company settlers at Wellington and in a last-minute bid for selection they tried to secure alphabetical pre-eminence for their settlement by changing its name to Aardvarksville. Hobson was not impressed by this chicanery, ordered the original name to be restored, and wrote to the Duke of Wellington apologising for the colonist's discourtesy.
The victor of Waterloo was typically gracious. "They can call the place what they damned well like, for all I care," he remarked to his secretary, "provided they don't name it after my wife's nephew, the young whelp."
Gold was one of New Zealand's main exports during the latter half of the century, especially after the advent of refrigerated shipping enabled it to be transported to England without going bad in the tropics. The first refrigerated consignment to arrive was declared by Treasury and Bank of England officials to be quite as delicious as foreign varieties, though their enthusiuasm was slightly moderated by the discovery of a dead rat in one of the bars.
The book was later updated and reissued as The Paua and the Glory in 1982, but this version is the original. Surprisingly hard to find at a price below $10, at that.