Historian's book published posthumously

Pat Greer, of Dunedin, holds the published book titled Salutary Punishment, written by her...
Pat Greer, of Dunedin, holds the published book titled Salutary Punishment, written by her brother the late Ian Church, who passed away before it could be published. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The last book of Dunedin historian Ian Church has been published - six years after his death.

Ian Church
Ian Church
Mr Church's sister Pat Greer, who arranged for the book, Salutary Punishment, about Maori prisoners sent from Taranaki to Dunedin in the mid-19th century, to be published posthumously, took delivery of some of the first copies this week.

Mrs Greer, of Dunedin, said she pushed for the book to be published as an honour to her late brother, who died in 2013 aged 71.

"After I got over the initial shock of his dying, I started to think, I wonder what's happened to the book ... it was the last thing I could do for him as his sister.".

The book has been published in time for the 150th anniversary, in November, of the arrival of the Maori prisoners to Dunedin.

Mrs Greer said her brother, who had been diagnosed with cancer, had taken the project to a publisher early 2013 to ensure it would be published even if he died.

About 18 months after he died, Mrs Greer tried to get the book published, but due to unforeseen circumstances the deal fell through. She decided to find another publisher.

After nearly five years, the book was taken on by the Patea Historic Society, in Taranaki.

Mr Church had been a member of the society while teaching at Patea High School as head of social studies from 1974 to 1983.

The book was researched and written over 25 years, and was Mr Church's 37th book.

Mrs Greer said her brother was interested in the history of the prisoners because he was from Dunedin and lived part of his life in Taranaki.

Maori Rd in Dunedin was named after the historical event, something Mrs Greer had not known.

"He felt it was a story that was never published properly, never researched properly."

Mr Church's book was fact-checked by a descendant from one of the Maori prisoners before going to print.

Five hundred copies of the book, which is to be launched this weekend, have been published.

Mrs Greer, a retired Auckland city council supervisor, said getting the book published was not easy, but she knew the struggle would be worth it, as it honoured her brother's memory.

"It's been a long journey for me, too, to find out lots of things about books that I never even knew about because Ian was a scholar, but I certainly wasn't."

 - Hope Burmeister

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