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Monday 12 April 2021 11:52am

The Radical Right in Aotearoa New Zealand

Matthew Cunningham, Marinus La Rooij and Paul Spoonley (eds)

The bookHistories of Hate website

Histories of Hate: The Radical Right in Aotearoa New Zealand explores intolerance and extremism in Aotearoa New Zealand, from the precursors of the radical right during British settlement in the late nineteenth century to today's QAnon conspiracists and keyboard warriors.

This volume reveals the complexities of Aotearoa's radical right traditions and discusses how, through time, various groups have been animated by a diverse mix of ideas, idealogues, organisations, social clubs and political parties.

The text puts a wide range of topics under a direct and critical lens. Colonisation, antisemitism, discrimination against Chinese immigrants, anti-communism, skinhead gangs, support for white minority governments in southern Africa, opposition to Māori Treaty rights, the religious right, and recent events such as the 15 March 2019 terrorist attacks in Christchurch and the rise of COVID-19 conspiracy theories are all covered.

In Histories of Hate, editors Matthew Cunningham, Marinus La Rooij and Paul Spoonley have brought together experts from multiple disciplines, including historians, sociologists, political scientists, kaupapa Māori scholars, and experts in religious and media studies, to create a benchmark text that will be the definitive reference for years to come.

A compelling read and an important, timely book, Histories of Hate traverses Aotearoa's socio-political and extremist landscape in both historical and contemporary contexts, shedding light on the social and cultural intolerances that continue to shape New Zealand society to this day.


Matthew Cunningham is a public servant, author and professional historian. He has a diverse publication history, including research monographs, oral histories, peer-reviewed journal articles, Waitangi Tribunal commissioned research reports, public history articles and journalistic and general interest pieces.

Marinus La Rooij has degrees in history and religious studies from the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington and has published on antisemitic conspiracy theories in 1930s New Zealand and Australia. Marinus has worked for the Waitangi Tribunal as a district inquiry facilitator and for the Crown Forestry Rental Trust as a research manager.

Paul Spoonley completed his PhD on the New Zealand radical right in the 1980s. He is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Massey University, and until 2019 was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He received the Science and Technology Medal from the Royal Society for his contribution to cross-cultural understanding in 2009 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2011.

Publication details

Paperback, 240 x 170mm, 444pp
ISBN 9781990048401, $50

Reviews & Interviews

Histories of Hate on the Unity Books Wellington Bestseller List for the week ending April 14
Read more here 

Review: 'Histories of Hate is a very good introduction to the history of the far right in Zealand, stretching from the 1880s to the present day. It situates the far right within the country’s wider political landscape, but also provides the international context. The book narrates the shifts and different permutations of the far right over the last 150 years, which will be of much interest to academics, activists, and the public alike.'  – Evan Smith for New Zealand Journal of History, Volume 57, Number 2, October 2023.

Review: David Hill reviews Histories of Hate for Nine to Noon, RNZ Listen

Feature & Interview: Histories of Hate featured in the Dominion Post (Saturday 4 March Issue) with interviews with Paul Spoonley and Matthew Cunningham Read on Stuff NZ

Editorial: Marinus La Rooij writes about extremists and disinformation for the NZ Listener (March 18–24 2023 Issue)
Interview: Matthew Cunningham speaks to Duncan Garner on Today FM New Zealand about Histories of Hate Listen

Review: "Its more academic approach provides the prehistory, as it were, to today's extremist underworld. The book is helpfully scrupulous in its definitions of populism, fascism and other terms that are often carelessly misused in these discussions." – Paul Little reviews Histories of Hate: The Radical Right in Aotearoa New Zealand for the April 2023 Issue of North & South Magazine Find out more

Extract: Read an extract of Histories of Hate published on The Conversation Read

Extract: Histories of Hate extracted for the NZ Herald Read

Interview: Co-editor Paul Spoonley talks to Kathryn Ryan about Histories of Hate on Nine to Noon, RNZ Listen

Review: "Histories of Hate is a timely reminder that the converse is also true: our remembrance of March 15 should include a rejection of complacency and a renewed commitment to our democratic institutions, as well as a productive demonstration of how they can work for all communities, across the left-right political divide." – Rowan Light reviews Histories of Hate for Aotearoa New Zealand Review of Books Read

Review: Victor Billot reviews Histories of Hate for Landfall NZ Read

Review: 'The chapters in this important, compelling collection touch upon an incredible numberof ideas, activists, and organizations, indicating that New Zealand’s radical right has been shaped by a wide range of threatening others, dystopian figures, core constituencies, activating structural factors, imagined  communities, and political solutions.'  Chamsy el-Ojeili for the Journal of New Zealand Studies

Review:We are more than ready to puff our chests out over giving women the right to vote, or our nuclear free status – these are our national triumphs, after all. Yet we have never been immune to strains of bigotry and hate.” – Zac Fairhall reviews Histories of Hate for ReadingRoom, Newsroom Read

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