Author(s): Mike Grimshaw
Bishops, Boozers, Brethren & Burkhas uses cartoons from 1860s to the present day to discuss the way religion in New Zealand has been represented by our cartoonists. There is no general history of religion in New Zealand so this book is a unique contribution in providing not only a cartoon history of religion in this country but also a history via cartoons. From the 1860s, settlers viewed issues of religion and politics as problematic, but in the main, religion remained part of the fabric of society. However, religion was more of a concern for our cartoonists as New Zealand became an increasingly secular nation from the 1970s onwards. This not only reflects the generation of cartoonists whose work was published from the 1970s but also a shift in New Zealand society more generally. Overall, when religion was less of a contested identity and influence, cartoonists tended to leave religion and the church alone. However, as the country became, very quickly, a secular society from the 1970s onwards, religion was a target of cartoonists. Religion and the religious were increasingly presented as representing religious and social attitudes and beliefs regarded as out of step with a modern society.