Story: History and historians

Portrait of Howard Kippenberger

Neville Colvin’s caricature of Howard Kippenberger is entitled ‘Maker of history’. This refers to Kippenberger's role as the editor in chief of the War History Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs. Kippenberger had been a major general who eventually commanded the New Zealand Division in the Second World War, and had suffered the loss of his feet when he stepped on a mine during the battle of Cassino in 1944. Kippenberger was not trained as a historian, but while working as a lawyer in Rangiora he had read widely in military history. After the war he took on the mammoth task of organising and editing the official histories of New Zealand’s efforts in the Second World War, which eventually amounted to 44 volumes, 23 of them under Kippenberger's editorship. A number of university historians contributed to an outstanding series. In the sound file Eric McCormick, who had previously worked on the centennial publications and then on the war histories, talks, in an interview with Michael King, of Kippenberger when he was in charge of the war histories.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-091-042
Cartoon by Neville Maurice Colvin

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Nga Taonga Korero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Nga Taonga Korero (Eric McCormick Interview/Reference number ID 25835). Cartoon courtesy of Claire Colvin.

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'History and historians - Rise of academic history – 1940 to 1970', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 October 2023)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014