18 October 1968
Auckland, New Zealand
Paul Moon (born 1968) is a New Zealand historian and a professor at the Auckland University of Technology. He is a prolific writer of New Zealand history and biography, specialising in Māori history, the Treaty of Waitangi and the early period of Crown rule.
Paul Moon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Studies, a Master of Philosophy degree with distinction, a Master of Arts degree with honours, and a Doctor of Philosophy, and in 2003, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College London.
Moon is recognized for his study of the Treaty of Waitangi, and has published two books on the topic. He has also produced the biographies of Governors William Hobson and Robert FitzRoy, and the Ngā Puhi chief Hone Heke. In 2003, he published the book Tohunga: Hohepa Kereopa, an explication regarding tohunga of the Ngāi Tūhoe. He has also written a major biography of the Ngā Puhi politician and Kotahitanga leader Hone Heke Ngapua (1869–1909), and wrote the best-selling Fatal Frontiers – a history of New Zealand in the 1830s. In addition to writing books, Moon is a frequent contributor to national and international academic journals on a variety of history-related topics.
Currently, Moon is Professor of History at the Auckland University of Technology's Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of Māori Development, where he has taught since 1993, and estimated to be one of New Zealand's most financially successful author, based on a combination of his prolific output and estimated sales of each of his books.
In the past few years, Moon has appeared on TVNZ’s Frontier of Dreams programme explaining the history of the Waitangi Treaty, on Prime TV’s New Zealand's Top 100 History Makers programme, on TVNZ’s Close Up, Marae, Te Karere, and Waka Huia programmes, on TV3 News, on Sky News Australia, and on Maori Television as an election night analyst. He is a frequent commentator on Treaty-related issues on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme, on Newstalk ZB, Radio Pacific, and Radio Live.
Moon's criticism of Bishop Pompallier
Moon’s 2001 biography of Hone Heke caused a major controversy because of its treatment of Bishop Jean Baptiste Pompallier, whom Moon described as ‘seditious’ and ‘treasonous’ - a view fellow historian Michael King rejected as "Absolute nonsense...reflecting the anti-Catholic prejudices widespread among Protestant missionaries at the time".
Moon's 2008 book This Horrid Practice, in which he discusses cannibalism amongst historical Māori, has also drawn substantial criticism. It sparked accusations that Moon was demonising Maori, and some argued the book was "a return to Victorian values". Moon hit back in a newspaper article in which he accused the critics of the book of attempting to censor him. He also was critical of some of the superficial commentaries made by particular academics, and noted that many people had criticised the book before it had even been released.
In 2009 the auction firm Dunbar Sloane announced its intention to sell a piece of wood allegedly taken from the flagpole Hone Heke chopped down at Russell in the mid-1840s. Moon was asked for a professional opinion and stated that the piece of wood was almost certainly a late nineteenth century fake. The item was withdrawn from auction, but sold privately to the Russell Museum later in the year for an undisclosed sum.
Broadcasting Standards Association complaint
In July 2009, Paul Moon was interviewed by Paul Henry on TVNZ's "Breakfast" programme about a Maori flag. The interview was the subject of complaints made by Boyd Broughton and Pita Rickys. Both complaints were rejected by TVNZ, and when the complainants went to the BSA, the Authority also rejected them on every count.
Paul Moon was born in Auckland, the son of Evan Moon, a solicitor, and Dragica Moon (née Pavličević) who emigrated to New Zealand from Montenegro in 1966. His father's family came to New Zealand from Sussex, in the mid-1880s, and was involved in the establishment of the Auckland Star newspaper.
Paul Moon identifies as a Congregationalist, and in July 2007 completed a history of Three Kings Congregational Church, in Mt. Roskill, Auckland, for its centenary. Moon's wife, Milica, is Serbian Orthodox.
- Hobson: Governor of New Zealand 1840-1842. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 1998. ISBN 0-908990-54-5.
- The Sealord Deal. Palmerston North: Campus Press. 1999. ISBN 1-877229-09-1.
- Muldoon: A Study in Public Leadership. Wellington: Pacific Press. 1999. ISBN 0-9583418-7-7.
- FitzRoy: Governor in Crisis 1843-1845. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2000. ISBN 0-908990-70-7.
- Hone Heke: Nga Puhi Warrior. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2001. ISBN 0-908990-76-6.
- Te Ara Ki Te Tiriti: The Path to the Treaty of Waitangi. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2002. ISBN 0-908990-83-9.
- Tohunga: Hohepa Kereopa. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2003. ISBN 0-908990-91-X.
- The Treaty and its Times 1840-1845. Auckland: Resource Books. 2004. ISBN 0-908618-18-2.
- A Tohunga's Natural World: Plants, Gardening, and Food. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2005. ISBN 1-877378-04-6.
- Ngapua: The Political Life of Hone Heke Ngapua, MHR. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2006. ISBN 1-877378-02-X.
- Fatal Frontiers: A New History of New Zealand in the Decade Before the Treaty. Auckland: Penguin Publishing. 2006. ISBN 0-14-302059-5.
- The Newest Country in the World: A History of New Zealand in the Decade of the Treaty. Auckland: Penguin Publishing. 2007. ISBN 978-0-14-300670-1.
- The Struggle for Tamaki Makaurau: Auckland to 1820. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2007. ISBN 978-1-877378-14-0.
- The Tohunga Journal: Hohepa Kereopa, Rua Kenana and Maungapohatu. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2008. ISBN 978-1-877378-20-1.
- This Horrid Practice: The Myth and the Reality of Traditional Maori Cannibalism. Auckland: Penguin. 2008. ISBN 978-0-14-300671-8.
- The Edges of Empires: New Zealand in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century. Auckland: David Ling Publishing. 2009. ISBN 978-1-877378-26-3.
- New Zealand Birth Certificates: 50 of New Zealand's Founding Documents. Auckland: AUT Press. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9582997-1-8.
- Victoria Cross at Takrouna: The Haane Manahi Story. Wellington: Huia Publishers. 2010. ISBN 978-1-86969-420-3.
- New Zealand in the Twentieth Century: The Nation, The People. Auckland: HarperCollins. 2011. ISBN 978-1-86950-804-3.
- Framing the World: The Life and Art of Augustus Earle. Auckland: Resource Books. 2011. ISBN 978-1-877431-44-9.
- A Savage Country: The Untold Story of New Zealand in the 1820s. Penguin Books (NZ). 2012. ISBN 978 0 143567387.
- Turning Points: Events that Changed the Course of New Zealand History. Auckland: New Holland Publishing. 2013. ISBN 9781869663797.
- Encounters: The Creation of New Zealand. A History. Auckland: Penguin Publishing. 2013. ISBN 9780143568506.
- Ling, David (2007). "Backlist History Titles". David Ling Publishing. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
- "New Zealand Maori books". Collectible Books. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
- Weil, Barbara (2006). "Fatal Frontiers". Times Newspaper Online. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
- "...described Pompallier as insidious, mischievous, seditious and treasonous...", 14 Jan 2002, NZ Herald
- Moon, Paul (29 August 2008). "Paul Moon: Censorship alive and well and living in NZ". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- Hewitson, Michele (18 June 2011). "Michele Hewitson Interview: Paul Moon". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
- New Zealand Herald, 27 April 2007
- Dominion Post, 27 April 2007
- Review in New Zealand Books, March 2007.