Author(s): Peter Wells
"I love doubters: of a truly honest doubter I have great hope." Printer, botanist and missionary, William Colenso was a nineteenth-century maverick, a true original. He protested at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, arguing that Maori did not fully understand its implications. He became a troubled conscience during the white-hot period of colonisation, maintaining his dissident voice throughout his career. Peter Wells refreshes our vision of this awkward, highly talented man, who lost his family after the church expelled him for fathering a child by a Maori woman. Rejected by church, family and friends, Colenso made botany his home and lovingly described the plants of New Zealand. At the same time he wrote a series of remarkable pamphlets that open up our past. 'I write for future generations,' he noted in 1881. The time has come to welcome Colenso back.
New Zealand Post Book Awards 2012 Finalist: Non-Fiction
'Peter Wells is a writer and film-maker. He studied history at Auckland University and the University of Warwick, England. As a writer, he has won the NZ Book Award for Fiction for his first book of short stories, Dangerous Desires which was published by Viking Penguin in New York and Secker and Warburg in London. The book also won, among other awards, the PEN (NZ) Best First Book in Prose Award in 1992. He has since published another book of short fiction, The Duration of a Kiss, ( New York, Sydney and London) and a novel, Boy Overboard which was shortlisted for the 1998 Commonwealth Prize (Pacific-Asia Region). His memoir Long Loop Home won the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Award for Biography. Iridescence was the runner up for the Deutz Medal Winner for Fiction at the Montana Book of the Year Awards and a finalist in the Tasmania-Pacific Award. Lucky Bastard, a novel, was published in 2006. In 2009 Peter Wells won the CLL Award to write a book on William Colenso. In 2011 Peter Wells was awarded the Michael King Fellowship which is one of the NZ's largest writing fellowships and supports established writers to work on a major project over two or more years.'