In 1864 politician John Gorst wrote: "Every country has some staple manufacture, and there can be no doubt that laws are the staple manufacture of New Zealand."
And so New Zealanders ended up with a welter of rules, regulations, edicts, recommendations and advisories, including:
Never work on the land or in the woods on a Sunday.
Never eat fish with a steel knife.
Never abuse the bath by bathing too long.
Never play the National Anthem at less than M. M. 60 crotchets.
This lively romp through the regulatory arcana of our past shows our social history in a fresh new light.
From the stern instructions to the Rev Henry Williams from the Church Missionary Society on the eve of his departure for New Zealand in 1822 to Ettie Rout's advice to troops posted abroad on avoiding venereal disease, from the best technique for raising poultry to the rules of the Antediluvian Society of the Order of Buffaloes, New Zealanders have lived by some unusual and quaint