NEW ZEALAND AND THE WORLD: Past, Present, and Future
Editors: Robert G. Patman, Iati Iati and Balazs Kiglics
Published by. World Scientific Publishing Co, Singapore, 2018, 469pp, US$168 (hb).
This is an impressive book. To mark the 50th anniversary of the Otago University Foreign Policy Schools Professor Patman and two colleagues have assembled 28 essays covering a wide range of New Zealand's international relations. Their formidable team of 31 authors come from the academic, diplomatic, political, media, military and public service worlds. Their contributions are arranged under five themes: history and national identity; economy and regionalism; morality; geopolitics and national security; and diplomatic engagement and multilateralism.
This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date single-volume multi-author symposium to be published about New Zealand's place in the world. It is a very hefty book to handle, weighing in at 880 grams. It is also very expensive (one Wellington bookshop lists it at $265).
As with all such symposia, the quality varies in style and content but the general standard is high and the best essays excellent and original. It is not feasible to attempt to do justice to all the essays, and as the work is clearly targeted at a global audience, a lot of the factual background will be familiar to readers of this journal. However, as many of the authors are distinguished practitioners in their field, there is much that is of interest.
It kicks off by considering the impact of the Otago Foreign Policy Schools during their first decade. Started by Arnold Entwhistle, of the University's Extension Department, in 1966 as a 'school or workshop', not a conference, it was intended for informed discussion of foreign policy by diplomats, armed service people, academics, students and interested citizens. Initially attracting 22 participants, it was exceeding 100 by the 1970s and was supported by senior External Affairs officials. Contacts made at the school may have been influential in enabling officials to deter the government from hosting an Omega navigational system. The one occasion when the school was addressed by the prime minister is the subject of the chapter by Ken Ross, who places David Langes carefully considered address to the 1985 school as the public launching pad for the nuclear-free New Zealand policy. Ross also found that Lange had an influence on the Clinton White House in the postponement of President Chirac's visit...