Historian's condition improves, still serious

The condition of historian Dame Judith Binney, who received head injuries after being hit by a truck, has improved but remains serious, Auckland City Hospital staff said today.

Dame Judith, 69, was described as being in a serious but stable condition, after being critical but stable yesterday.

She was struck by the truck in heavy rain about 5.30pm on Friday when crossing Princes Street, near Auckland University, where she is emeritus professor of history.

The incident happened just four days after the launch at Ruatoki Marae of her latest book, Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921, which tells the 100 years of Tuhoe after European contact.

Tuhoe academic Wharehuia Milroy said Dame Judith's husband, Sebastian Black, told him that the launch was "one of the happiest, happiest days of her life".

Dame Judith has a strong bond with Tuhoe and Mr Milroy said the tribe was in shock over what had happened.

"It took me a long, long time to be able to talk to Sebastian at all," he told the New Zealand Herald.

"We'll all hoping and praying that she will recover."


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