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Neil Matheson

Greg has been a baker, bank teller and English teacher in Japan. He has climbed in the Himalayas, hitchhiked over 40,000 km and paddled 500 km down the Congo River in a dugout canoe. But Greg’s real passion is politics. He grew up in a family completely uninterested in anything political and struggled to understand why no one around him was interested in politics. So in 2018 he undertook the first ever academic study on people who don’t give a toss about politics, which has formed the basis of this book. At least now he knows why he is strange.

Neil got an early introduction to politics in a pram at anti-Vietnam War marches, and later in the front line of US nuclear ship and Springbok rugby tour protests. After stints as a farmhand, fruit picker, postie and piano teacher, he left New Zealand to bus, hike, hitch and cycle around the world. Highlights include canoeing PNG’s Sepik River and getting shot at and arrested while cycling from China to Pakistan. Neil now lives relatively uneventfully with his partner and children. He teaches writing at Auckland University, an institution he barely graduated from due to all the time spent protesting.

Author relationship

Greg and Neil met travelling in Papua New Guinea in 1987 and went on to trek the Baliem Valley in West Papua together. They met ex-cannibals, caused an inter-village dispute over a pocket-knife, stumbled blindly through the middle of a local war, and survived on the local diet of sweet potato. What struck most though, was the genuine kindness and warmth of the West Papuan people. They staggered out of the jungle several weeks later, 10 kilos lighter and with one shoe each, and have been firm friends since.

Neil Matheson
Author's Books
The Apathetic Country

Why are so many people uninterested in politics in Australia, yet the same people decide who governs us? The Apathetic Country is the first book to focus on the power of politically apathetic voters. The authors show how uninterested citizens, forced to the ballot box in Australia, vote in arbitrary...

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