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Shadbolt was born in Auckland, and educated at Te Kuiti High School, Avondale College and Auckland University College. In total, Shadbolt wrote 11 novels, four collections of short stories, two autobiographies, a war history, and a volume of journalism, as well as plays. His most famous book is probably Season of the Jew (1987), which recounts the story of Te Kooti.
Shadbolt suffered from Alzheimer's disease from April 1997 until his death in 2004 at Taumarunui Hospital. He is survived by five children: Sean, Brendan, Tui and Daniel from his first marriage to journalist Gillian Heming, and Brigid from his second marriage to television presenter, Barbara Magner. A cousin, Tim Shadbolt, is Mayor of Invercargill.
His works include:
- New Zealanders: a Sequence of Stories (1959).
- Western Samoa: The Pacific's Newest Nation (1962).
- Summer Fires and Winter Country (1963).
- Among the Cinders (1965). A film version was released in 1983.
- New Zealand's Cook Islands: Paradise in Search of a Future (1967).
- This Summer's Dolphin (1969). Short novel inspired by the story of Opo the dolphin.
- An Ear of the Dragon (1971). Fictional novel based on the life of Renato Amato.
- Strangers and Journeys (1972).
- A Touch of Clay (1974).
- New Zealand: Gift of the Sea (1974).
- Danger Zone (1975).
- Isles of the South Pacific (1975).
- Love and legend: Some 20th century New Zealanders (1976).
- The Shell Guide to New Zealand (1976).
- Figures in Light: Selected Stories (1978).
- The Lovelock Version (1981).
- Season of the Jew (1987). Part one of the New Zealand Wars trilogy.
- Guide to New Zealand (1988).
- Voice of Galipoli (1989).
- Monday's Warriors (1990). Part two of the New Zealand Wars trilogy.
- Once on Chunuk Bair (1982), a play. A film version Chunuk Bair was released in 1991.
- House of Strife (1993). Part three of the New Zealand Wars trilogy.
- One of Ben's: A New Zealand Medley (1993).
- Dove on the Waters (1996).
- From the Edge of the Sky: A Memoir (1999).
- "The People Before" (1963)
- Robinson and Wattie 1998
- "Obituary: Maurice Shadbolt". The New Zealand Herald. 11 October 2004. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
- "Shadbolt, Maurice". New Zealand Book Council. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- London Gazette (supplement), No. 51580, 30 December 1988. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Robinson, Roger and Nelson Wattie (eds.). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Literature. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-558348-5.
- Maurice Shadbolt at the New Zealand Book Council
- Shadbolts bibliography in the Auckland University Library
- Maurice Shadbolt at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database