Jewish Lives in New Zealand


The immense impact Jewish people have had in New Zealand has been encapsulated in a new book.

Jewish Lives in New Zealand, Random House, is co-edited by Dr Leonard Bell of the University of Auckland Art History Department, and Dr Diana Morrow, a professional historian.

Jewish Lives in New Zealand is a compelling look at the disproportionately profound impact Jewish people have had in New Zealand since the 1840s, when just 20 citizens were registered as being Jewish. Today, the total number is probably more than 20,000.

The roll call for New Zealanders of Jewish decent is impressive - John Barnett, Vincent Ward, Marti Friedlander, Sir Peter Gluckman, Dove-Myer Robinson, John Goldwater, Frank Hofmann, and, stretching right back into New Zealand’s history, eminent founding families such as the Myers, Nathans, Fishers, Paykels and Hallensteins. They are people who have given — and continue to give — so much to New Zealand society, across many fields of endeavour: politics, business, academia, journalism, medicine, science, arts and culture.

“Reading through the book, it’s hard not to be taken by the fact that Jews collectively have generally punched well above their weight and have been high achievers in whatever activity they’re involved in,” says Dr Bell.

Made possible with the warm support from Gerrard and Marti Friedlander and the Friedlander Trust, Jewish Lives in New Zealand slots another important piece into the jigsaw of our history.

Listen below to Dr Leonard Bell's interview about the book on Saturday Morning with Kim Hill, Radio NZ, 10 March 2012.