'A Bloody Difficult Subject': Ruth Ross, te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Making of History

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Ruth Ross is hardly a household name, yet most New Zealanders today owe the way they understand the Treaty of Waitangi — or te Tiriti o Waitangi as Ross called it — to this remarkable woman’s path-breaking historical research.

Taking us on a journey from small university classes and a lively government department in the nation’s war-time capital to an economically poor but culturally rich Māori community in the far north, and from tiny schools and cloistered university offices to parliamentary committees and a legal tribunal, Attwood enables us to grasp how and why the place of the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand law, politics, society and culture has been transformed in the last seven decades.

A frank and moving meditation on the making of history and its advantages and disadvantages for life in a democratic society, A Bloody Difficult Subject is a surprising story full of unforeseen circumstances, unexpected twists, unlikely turns and unanticipated outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAuckland New Zealand
PublisherAuckland University Press
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9781776710966
ISBN (Print)9781869409821
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Indigenous History

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