Final Approaches: A Memoir

Author(s): Gerald Hensley

New Zealand

This is a memoir of a distinguished senior civil servant written in a tradition of wit, elegance, learning and intelligence more familiar in Europe than in our own literary history. In a career that engaged with international and national dramas at every turn Hensley writes not about himself but about people, the famous and the forgotten; places, from Apia to Singapore to New York; political events, including two coups, one war, one peaceful attainment of independence, several false alarms. His unerring eye for the comic and the absurd is matched always by his insight and good judgement so that we gain an extraordinary view of New Zealand's changing place in the world over three decades while being constantly gripped and entertained. A treat for anyone interested in politics or foreign affairs - or good writing.
This is a superb memoir, written by a loyal New Zealander born and bred in the Garden City, who has done conspicuous service to his nation as a diplomat and senior public servant across the years 1958 to 1999 in many diverse roles. This is a splendid, at times deadpan, yet very compelling memoir. It is bound to intrigue and inform anyone interested in the shaping of New Zealand foreign policy in the later years of the 20th century. - Bruce Harding, The Press
. . . it is HensleyâÃÂÃÂs portraits of two colourful New Zealand prime ministers that are the highlights of this entertaining book. - Warren Brown, Waikato Times
Hensley's book will be valued by historians and political scientists, treasured by public servants and scholars of public policy and consulted widely by students. But the wider public, whether they have an interest in politics and foreign policy or not, will find this elegantly written book a thoroughly enjoyable read. It is aptly called a memoir and will be recognised as a classical example of the genre. - Stuart McMillan, NBR
âÃÂà. . . magisterial memoirâÃÂà- Chris Trotter, The Independent
"A must buy for political junkies." - David Farrar, DPF's Kiwiblog. On the Right
. . . a memoir made highly readable by virtue of being an insider's view packed with anecdote amusing and deadly serious. - John Armstrong, NZ Herald
. . . a fire burns within, full of blazing insights. This is a rare event: a New Zealand policy memoir richly inflected with a personal voice and some rip-roaring stories which are told with gusto and verve but laced with stylish wit and good-natured humour. It may not be the "final approach" he writes of, but Gerald Hensley has certainly done his compatriots a final service in delivering these finely honed memoirs. - Bruce Harding, The Press
[HensleyâÃÂÃÂs] account of events in 1984-85 is an important contribution to the understanding of what was perhaps this country's most serious foreign policy crisis and certainly its longest (as is his recollection of the Rainbow Warrior bombing and its aftermath). - John Armstrong, NZ Herald
It is aptly called a memoir and will be recognised as a classical example of the genre. It is wry, reflective, not once giving the sense of having scores to settle, amusing, offering insights into the prime ministers for whom he worked, done with an eye for the absurd, and filled with anecdotes that are told economically. - Stuart McMillan, NBR

Hensley, a superb writer, is wise enough to know that such a volume needs to be more than an academic and chronological account. So, he illustrates it with a vivid array of anecdotes and incidents - some of which are news revelations in themselves. - Richard Long, Dominion Post
There is a danger that a subject which is important in itself can still be presented in a way that makes watching an electric towel rail do its stuff seem like a life-changing experiences. To overcome that the author must have a capacity for using language with ease and, where appropriate, wit. Gerald Hensley does the business. - Robin List, Wairarapa Times-Age

First published 2006.


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Product Information

Gerald Hensley is a former New Zealand High Commissioner at the Department of External Affairs. He later served as the Permanent Head in the Prime Minister's Department. He is a contributing author to Celebrating New Zealand's Emergence, For the Record, Pacific Prospects, and Southeast Asia and New Zealand.

Introduction; 1. An Apprentice in Samoa; 2. Manhattan and Other Islands; 3. The Commonwealth Divided; 4. War in Nigeria; 5. A Washington Spectator; 6. New Zealand Adrift; 7. Tropical Asia; 8. The Years with Muldoon; 9. The Elusive David Lange; Epilogue

General Fields

  • : 9781869403782
  • : Auckland University Press
  • : Auckland University Press
  • : 0.526
  • : October 2006
  • : 228mm X 154mm X 29mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Gerald Hensley
  • : Paperback
  • : 1st Edition
  • : English
  • : 327.93
  • : Very Good
  • : 312
  • : illustrations