UC academic publishes new history of Tonga

20 November 2015

Tonga's most comprehensive history now includes chapters covering the last decade's shaky transition towards democracy, bringing the island kingdom's story up to date.

UC academic publishes new history of Tonga

Tonga’s most comprehensive history now includes chapters covering the last decade’s shaky transition towards democracy, bringing the island kingdom’s story up to date.

Canterbury University Press (CUP) has published the third edition of Dr Ian Campbell’s Island Kingdom: Tonga Ancient and Modern. This book has been Tonga’s only comprehensive history since it was first published in 1992.

Author Dr Ian Campbell says it is vital New Zealanders learn more about Tonga and the Pacific. 

“The Pacific is the only part of the world where New Zealand is a great power. We loom over the Pacific Islands the way the United States looms over Central America, and so we have an undue amount of influence over what can happen in the Pacific. That influence needs to be well informed.”

Underpinned by detailed research, photographs and prints, Island Kingdom takes the reader from the first human settlements in Tonga to its dramatic transformation when it converted to Christianity in the mid-19th century, to its more recent social, political and economic changes. 

“Island Kingdom is a companion volume to my history of the Pacific, Worlds Apart, where it develops the same themes in the context of a single country,” Dr Campbell says. 

The recently published third edition also revises chapters on Tongan prehistory, due to new archaeological research findings.

CUP publisher Catherine Montgomery says Island Kingdom is an engaging read.   
“Dr Campbell’s history of Tonga is highly accessible as well as being comprehensive and authoritative – and that readability is an important part of the book’s enduring appeal.”

About the author
Dr Ian C. Campbell is an accomplished historian, who spent some early years in Tonga. Educated in Australia at the universities of New England and Adelaide, he was subsequently on the academic staff of the University of Canterbury for two decades, and was later Professor of History and Politics at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. He is the author of numerous academic publications, as well as Worlds Apart (Canterbury University Press, 2011), a general history of the Pacific islands.

For more information please contact:
Bridget Gourlay
Canterbury University Press Publicist
Phone: +64 3 364 2260 ext 6260


Margaret Agnew
Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 2775 margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz


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