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Telling it how he sees it.

A fresh, personal account of New Zealand, now, from one of our hardest-hitting writers.

Following Once Were Warriors, Alan Duff wrote Maori: The Crisis and the Challenge. His controversial comments shook the country. A quarter of a century later, New Zealand and Maoridom are in a very different place. And so is Alan – he has published many more books, had two films made of his works, founded the Duffy Books in Homes literacy programme and endured ‘some less inspiring moments, including bankruptcy’.

Returned from living in France, he views his country with fresh eyes, as it is now: homing in on the crises in parenting, our prisons, education and welfare systems, and a growing culture of entitlement that entraps Pakeha and Maori alike.

Never one to shy away from being a whetstone on which others can sharpen their own opinions, Alan tells it how he sees it.


Duff's new book A Conversation with My Country continues his nonfiction engagement with some of New Zealand's most divisive problems . . . Duff's examination of contemporary New Zealand is a personal one. It is the analysis of a man raised within a family that was itself a conflict zone, where race and culture battled in physical terms. His damaged mother was often the instigator of mass-brawls on the family front-lawn: "shrieking, panting, struggling, writhing". This autobiographical background forms the basis of Duff's examination. It is a rich perspective and his impassioned opinion provides the basis for constructive criticisms. A Conversation scrutinises contemporary parenting, education, welfare, and the prison system. With statistical and anecdotal back-up, Duff makes his case, often a damning one, against the worst of Pakeha and Maori society. . . . there is no doubt that A Conversation continues a necessary dialogue.

David Herkt, Sunday Star-Times

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 2, 2019

    Random House NZ

    256 pages

    RRP $38.00

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  • EBook


    July 2, 2019

    Random House New Zealand

    248 pages

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