Title: Events in the Life of Phillip Tapsell
Editor: Jonathan Adams
Specs: 240 x 160 mm portrait, PB, 252 pp, b&w
Published: 6 May 2021
Hans Falk, born in 1790 in Copenhagen, took to the sea as a lad, changed his name to Phillip Tapsell, and after many adventures settled at Maketū in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty. There he became the key trader for local iwi and married into the highest levels of Te Arawa, while helping other tribes to defend themselves against invasion from northern tribes.
He was, in other words, one of the original Pākehā-Māori. Yet Tapsell’s life of daring is not well known today, and the memoirs he dictated to Edward Little shortly before his death were only ever published in newspaper form. Brought together, these make an important contribution to the history of the countries of his birth and death.
Meticulously researched and edited by Dr Jonathan Adams, this book presents the original manuscript with close editing and annotation. Part 1 discusses Tapsell’s life and identity as a Pākehā-Māori; Part 2 reproduces his reminiscences as recorded by Little; and Part 3 summarises the key events in the story, examines the manuscript as an artefact, and includes accounts of Tapsell’s life and how that has been interpreted in Denmark.