Ron Crosby, author of the popular Musket Wars, profiles one of the most prominent Pakeha men of early colonial New Zealand in Gilbert Mair: Te Kooti's Nemisis. Gilbert Mair is best known as a soldier. He commanded the No. 1 Arawa Flying Column, with whom he spent several years in hot pursuit of the elusive Te Kooti. However, Mair was a many-faceted character: he was also a surveyor, land purchase agent, government interpreter, farmer, collector and botanist. He also possessed a knowledge of te reo and tikanga that was unrivalled among Pakeha. One of the first people to visit Mt Tarawera after the disastrous eruption of 10 June 1886, Gilbert Mair played a significant part in organising relief for victims of the disaster. He was present at Parihaka in 1881, belatedly awarded the New Zealand Cross in 1886, and in 1902 was appointed the first superintendent of the Maori Councils of New Zealand. Ron Crosby tells Mair's story in a way that allows us to appreciate the drama, hardship, personal joy and sadness of Gilbert Mair's life. He also managers to draw the readers attention to the paradoxes that arise when we view these events with the 20/20 hindsight of the present day.
Ron Crosby is best known for his first book, The Musket Wars, a much-lauded account of inter-iwi conflict throughout New Zealand from 1806-1845. Ron is currently a consultant to the Mariborough legal firm of Gascoigne Wicks, where he was a partner for over 25 years. He set out to write Gilbert Mair's story in order to reawaken national awareness of the contribution he made to colonial New Zealand.