Irish Convict

Irish Convict

(2 customer reviews)


The story of the Irish Convict tells the tale of many true NZ stories pulled together into one character; Maurice O’Brien. It follows his adventures from Ireland to New Zealand via Australia. He befriends ‘Cannibal Jack’, marries a local Maori woman, becomes a whaler and fights Te Rauparaha among many other adventures.

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Published 2019 by John Douglas Publishing

ISBN 978-0-9941059-2-9

Softcover. 155 x 230mm. 744 pages!  It’s a big one.

In the late 1950s the remnant walls of a little rammed earth farm shed on the outskirts of Nelson were finally demolished. The door and two small windows appeared to come from an old sailing ship.  Locals knew it as the home of an Irish settler and his Maori wife but their names are no longer remembered. Investigations for this amazing and true story started here.

In the early 1800’s Irish convicts were often sent to Australia, many escaped to New Zealand. Some were adopted by Nga Puhi at Hokianga and others met and fought with Te Rauparaha and his Ngati Toarangatira in Marlborough. They also joined whalers on Kapiti Island.

The story of the Irish Convict is true history told in a novel, woven together by a fictional character; Maurice O’Brien. It follows his adventures from Ireland to New Zealand via Australia.

Maurice marries a local Maori woman in Hokianga, joins a whaling crew on the Kapiti Coast, builds a rammed earth cottage in Nelson and became involved in the first armed conflict over land between Te Rauparaha’s tribe and European colonists in Marlborough.

Most other characters in the Irish Convict are genuine people. They include; Captain William Blogg who died at sea after being thrown overboard by William Secker and the crew of the Industry. Secker and the others were hanged in Sydney a year later. ‘Cannibal Jack’ was John Marmon an escaped convict who joined in with the Nga Puhi people of Hokianga including their wars and subsequent cannibalism. Nene the Ngapuhi chief who took the baptismal name Thomas Walker and became Tamati waka Nene

Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata are well known Maori leaders in New Zealand history. The relatively unknown details of the gun battle at Tuamarina in 1843 come from old newspaper reports and tribal legends.

There is plenty of reading in this book, it could have been split into three publications.

Please make a comment on your order if you’d like to receive a copy signed by the author Tom O’Connor.

Additional information

Weight 0.6 kg

by Tom O'Connor, mint condition – no autograph

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2 reviews for Irish Convict

  1. Kuia Byford (verified owner)

    Purchased this book for my husband and read it myself, we both loved it! Have reccommended it to so many of our friends, its a book you cant put down.

  2. Tim Duff (verified owner)

    Brilliant, hard to put down and life changing read !
    Never have I learnt so much from reading with an incredibly well written and fascinating storyline. I learn more history from Tom’s books than I did in school ..easy !
    I was totally blown away by this book, way better than I expected.
    Some of my friends have picked up the book and seem daunted by how thick it is. Its such easy reading with a gripping story line, I wished it had kept going forever, but it had a brilliant ending!
    Its the same time period as the trilogy Toms written, but this time the fictional character is Irish. Over about a 15 year period he is living with Moari and you gain even understanding of how they lived at the time.
    Fascinating insight into how Europeans were able to settle here in NZ and why and how the treaty was formed.
    Also I gained better understanding of why and how Convicts were sent to Australia, what it was like for those people at that time living in Ireland and the consequences of Englands actions.
    Incredible read ! Should be read in schools as part of the history curriculum, would make learning fun!
    Thanks Tom O’Conner your an absolute legend in my mind for producing these works.
    Toms writing is based on four decades of research into the old ways of Moari at the time. You will learn how they lived, sustained themselves like catching and growing food, how they travelled and fought in wars. The incredible thing is that all the events that happen in the book are believed to have actually happened, as those stories have been passed down through generations and now thanks to Tom have been documented.
    These books are true treasures that should be shared and read by everybody who wants to get a better understanding of Moari way of life around the time that Europeans started visiting and then settling in NZ.
    I found the way Tom describes detail in his book to be exceptional accurate, for example sea fearing. Ive spent a lot of time on the water paddling different Waka and Tom nails the description of what it would be like.
    Wonderful writing Tom O’Conner !

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