John Dunmore is a much-published author and world authority on Pacific exploration, recognised for his service by the governments of both New Zealand and France. June 14, 2018 will see him launch his 70th book at the right old age of 95.
This inspiring (or maybe reassuring) story of a man still going strong in his later years, is proof that we are never too old to chart new territory in our own lives.
About the book
Scoundrels & Eccentrics of the Pacific is described as a wonderfully crafted collection of tales of the men, and in some cases the women, who sought to benefit from the discoveries of the early explorers.
They were mostly scoundrels and rogues with little conscience but great craftiness, and they left in their wake others who found themselves victims of unimaginable situations.
Here are the adventurers who once made the great Pacific their playground – from likable dreamers to outright conmen, slavers and pirates, and even one self-titled Queen Emma. The book tells the extraordinary tale of James Proctor who used his wooden leg to trick natives into coming aboard his ship so he could spirit them away as slaves; or the French priest Fr Rougier who used his position to amass a fortune, eventually becoming the ‘King of Christmas Island’.
Along with rollicking tales of the outrageous and bizarre, there are gloomy accounts of those fallen prey to human trafficking, goldfield fever and unscrupulous traders. It shows that mankind, in whatever period and whatever part of the world, may have its heroes, but always has its villains.
Dunmore was a founding staff member at Massey University, establishing the Modern Languages department, and is now one of New Zealand’s oldest published authors, with a remarkable bibliography to his name. He lives in a retirement village on the Kapiti Coast, and is very sprightly and active.