Irish Convict: Troubled Waters

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Tom O'Connor
November 2023
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Having tempted fate and revisited Ireland, Maurice O'Brien is grief-stricken at the state of his homeland following the devastation of the potato famine a few years earlier. Disease, starvation and forced immigration have all but depopulated many parts of the country. His family no longer exists, and the country is in ruins. In spite of a tempting offer, he decides to return to New Zealand and remain there. But finding a ship home proves difficult, and he is forced to find work in England to survive. At last, he finds a ship bound for New Zealand. After an eventful voyage across the oceans, the ill-fated Oliver Lang limps into Port Nicholson with her cargo of 300 British settlers. Maurice rights a few wrongs before the final leg across the Cook Strait to his waiting wife and children. When it comes to conflict between Maori and Pakeha, Maurice is faced with deciding which side he is on. The one thing he is certain of; he is no longer an Irishman, he is a mariner, whaler and bar-room brawler. Who does he stand for? Tom O'Connor is a historian and writer specialising in Maori and New Zealand history.