No second-guessing in book of firsts

July 1, 2014
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Great Kiwi Firsts, by Astral Sligo (Allen & Unwin, RRP $25):

Us Kiwis like being claiming firsts, and let’s be honest, there are plenty we can claim: first to scale Mt Everest, first to have to good sense to give women the vote, even first country to take home the Rugby Word Cup.

Then there was the atom-splitting efforts of Ernest Rutherford and Invercargill’s own Burt Munro, who was the first 68-year-old to set a land speed record.

We all know Aotearoa is the home of the cheese roll – more specifically the south of the country, so the poor North Islanders don’t know what they are missing – and our own Glenn Martin came up with the world’s first practical jetpack but did you know our first European woman settler was a felon, a pirate and a solo mum?

This little book is packed with Kiwi firsts that will give you plenty of conversation fillers and trivia to trundle out around the dinner table at Christmas.

Many of the first contained within its covers you will already know but there are sure to be some little surprises in there as well.

I picked it up to flick through for highlights and ended up reading from cover-to-cover.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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