Tom specialises in New Zealand and comparative rural and environmental history, New Zealand political history and the historical links between New Zealand and Scotland. This research has focused upon on environmental transformation and the role of colonising peoples in that process, particularly farming and its economic, environmental and sociological impacts.
He has published seven sole author books, two co-authored books, and three edited volumes, in addition to numerous book chapters, essays and articles. His three most recent major books are Making a New Land: Environmental Histories of New Zealand (University of Otago Press, 2013) edited with Eric Pawson; Unpacking the Kists: The Scots in New Zealand (McGill-Queens University Press with Otago University Press, 2013) co-authored with Brad Patterson and Jim McAloon and a large monogragh on the life of Richard John Seddon entitled Richard Seddon: King of God's Own (Penguin, 2014).
Patterson, B., Brooking, T., & McAloon, J. (2013). Unpacking the kists: The Scots in New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 412p.
Brooking, T. (2012). A model colony: Texts and the teaching of Scottish history in New Zealand schools, 1907-1945. Immigrants & Minorities, 30(1), 43-58. doi: 10.1080/02619288.2011.651330
Brooking, T., & Pawson, E. (Eds.). (2011). Seeds of empire: The environmental transformation of New Zealand. London: I. B. Tauris, 296p.
Brooking, T. (2011). Beyond the orderly appearance of productive rural land. In J. Ruru, J. Stephenson & M. Abbott (Eds.), Making our place: Exploring land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 91-100). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.
Brooking, T. (2011). So different from the USA: Our late appreciation of wilderness. In M. Abbott & R. Reeve (Eds.), Wild heart: The possibility of wilderness in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 123-131). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.