The Waikato River will be bringing historian Paul Moon to Hamilton next week — or at least his new book about the river will be.

The history professor at the Auckland University of Technology will be speaking at a function at The Meteor Theatre about his new book The Waikato: A History of New Zealand's Greatest River.

The event at 7pm on June 21 is part of the Literary Salon that Browsers book store organises together with The Meteor. The $15 tickets include a free glass of wine.

Moon spent several years researching the history of the Waikato River — he deliberately decided from the onset that the only way to do justice to the topic would be to explore as much of the river as possible, with numerous locations visited numerous times.


His book follows the path of the river as it wends its way from the Tongariro National Park, through Lake Taupō, all the way to the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato.

Along the way he uncovers stories from the various locations: there are episodes of battles, forgotten villages, tourism ventures, sports events, fishing, farming, damming, and just about everything associated with the river.

The book is the story of the river, the Waikato is the main character, and the connections it has with the people and places along its 425km route.

It is a story full of surprises, tragedy and adventure.

Countless hours were also spent researching the more than 170 images in the book. What emerges is an intimate portrayal of a remarkable stretch of water, that has provided for communities and facilitated wars.

The 'everyday' nature of life along the river at different periods of its history is also given prominence, making this history very much a living experience for its readers.

The Waikato: A History of New Zealand's Greatest River is available at Browsers in Victoria Street, Hamilton, and will also be available on the night.