Monday, November 11, 2019

Gavin McLean's final word on New Zealand's heavy toll of shipwrecks

New Zealand maritime disasters
Gavin McLean, edited by Kynan Gentry

Gripping stories of New Zealand’s major shipwrecks with extensive illustrations and colour paintings 
Before his untimely death in April, maritime history expert Gavin McLean was creating this definitive edition of his works on the tragedies that have plagued New Zealand shipping since the first waka reached our shores from Polynesia. 

Brought to completion by his colleague and friend Kynan Gentry, Shipwrecked is a gripping, richly illustrated account of the hazards and heroism that distinguish our maritime history.  

In the last 200 years, in fact over 2500 ships have been fatally wrecked on our shores, sometimes with horrific loss of life. Many more have been salvaged only after epic struggle.

Disasters at sea are no longer the regular occurrence that led to drowning being known as ‘the New Zealand death’, yet recent wrecks like the Rena show that perils persist in the age of GPS and satellites.

Shipwrecked  is a story of terrifying storms, inhospitable coastlines, human error, the malicious hand of fate, and courtroom dramas. It is also testimony to courage, endurance and self-sacrifice. 

In addition to more than 150 photos and ephemera, Shipwrecked reproduces 16 superb colour paintings of notable ships lost to the sea, by renowned artist Eric Heath. 

The author
Gavin McLean wrote or contributed to over 50 books in a distinguished career as an historian. He was an authority on New Zealand shipping, and published widely on the topic while working as a senior historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Gavin passed away in April 2019; this work has been prepared for publication by his colleague Kynan Gentry, research fellow in history at the University of Western Australia.

Gavin McLean (1957–2019)
Publication: 11 November 2019  |  ISBN: 978-0-947506-66-7 |  RRP $59.99
Jacketed hardback, 280 x 215 mm portrait, 264 pages (16 pages colour)

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