The Dark Island

Bridget Williams Books

From 1906 to 1925 Quail Island was the site of New Zealand’s leprosy colony. The colony began by accident, as it were, after the discovery of a leprosy sufferer in Christchurch. As further patients arrived from across the country, it grew into a controversial and troubled institution – an embarrassment to the Health Department, an object of pity to a few, a source of fear to many. It was a place that some people wanted to forget, but its stories are worth remembering: among them are stories of remarkable generosity and selflessness, as well as of violence and great suffering.

This fascinating narrative from talented young historian Ben Kingsbury reveals a little-known aspect of New Zealand’s past. Through the tale of the Quail Island colony, the book shines a light on wider society in that period, both in New Zealand and beyond. Elegantly and engagingly written, A Dark Island heralds the arrival of a significant historical voice.

$20.00