George Evans was one of those men instrumental in the establishment of Wellington about whom little has been heard. While the Wakefields and their roles in the NZ Company have been well-documented, Evans (for whom Evans Bay is named) seems to have flown under the radar until Helen Riddiford decided to change that.
Her book is comprehensive, complex and full of detail. Exhaustive references show clearly just how thorough her research has been.
Her family connection (by marriage) to George Evans was doubtless a catalyst for undertaking an enormous task. The result is a detailed, interesting and often enlightening work about a man who cared deeply for the new colony, and worked hard to help bring about its success.
He was clearly a complex man, and it’s an interesting book, but particularly recommended to those with a deep interest in early NZ history.
Reviewed by Sue Esterman
A Blighted Fame: George S Evans 1802-1868: A life
by Helen Riddiford
Published by VUP Books