5 Nov 2022

Paul Diamond: the remarkable fall of Charles Mackay

From Saturday Morning, 10:05 am on 5 November 2022
Cover of Paul Diamond's new book "Downfall the destruction of Charles Maclay" and headshot of the author

Photo: Supplied

In 1920 Whanganui residents were rocked by the news that their mayor had shot D'Arcy Cresswell, a young gay poet, who had been blackmailing him.
Mackay was sentenced to hard labour and later left New Zealand, only to be shot during street unrest in Berlin during the rise of the Nazis.

This remarkable story, says Paul Diamond is at its heart about how society conspired to control and punish homosexual men 100 years ago. Diamond’s book Downfall: The Destruction of Charles Mackay has been many years in the making, involving numerous trips to Europe and Australia.

Paul Diamond (Ngāti Hauā, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) is Curator, Māori at the Alexander Turnbull Library and author of A Fire in Your Belly: Māori leaders speak, Makereti: Taking Māori to the world and Savaged to Suit: Māori and cartooning in New Zealand