New Book: Connecting the Clouds: The Internet in New Zealand

A new book from Activity Press documents the rise of the Internet in New Zealand and looks to its future as it becomes an increasinglyBook: Connecting the Clouds - The Internet in New Zealand vital part of our economic and social infrastructure.

Controversial and enlightening, Connecting the Clouds takes us from small beginnings to today’s borderless world where fast, pervasive always-on Internet has arrived at our digital doorstep.

It backgrounds the evolution of electronic communications in New Zealand from the telegraph and telephone, through to advances in computer and Internet technology which continue to transform government, business, communities and our personal lives.

[UPDATE: Connecting the Clouds is now online in its entirety at  It is available in Wiki format, allowing visitors to comment and contribute to it, as well as read the book].

From promising beginnings—New Zealand was the first nation in Asia-Pacific to fully connect to the US-based Internet backbone—we’re lead to the question of what went so wrong that a nation of early adopters of technology and the Internet plummeted to the bottom of the OECD scorecard for broadband, research development and technology reinvestment. We look at just why New Zealand has had to re-regulate the telecommunications market and, looking ahead, examine what happens when telecommunications, broadcasting, entertainment and computing converge on a common platform.

Connecting the Clouds takes the reader on an informative and entertaining ride through our telecommunications history and the people who have shaped it. This comprehensive, thoroughly researched and illustrated book provides invaluable insights into the evolving communications framework that helped New Zealand shift from an isolated outpost of the British Empire to a nation of digital pioneers intimately connected and active in the emerging global village.

Writer Keith Newman has conducted over 100 interviews with visionaries and scientists, computer programmers, telecommunications experts, engineers, business leaders and politicians, including those who have played a part in the rise of the Internet and those who will drive it forward into the next wave. The result is a fascinating, highly readable account that marks a key chapter in New Zealand’s development as a modern nation.

Appropriately for a book about the the internet in New Zealand, Connecting the Clouds will be simultaneously published as a book and as a Wiki, a website in which the book’s entire content can be viewed, commented on and contributed to by the public.


Keith Newman is an Auckland-based journalist with over 30-years experience. He is a former news editor of Computerworld, editor of Network World and founding editor of PC Magazine New Zealand. His journalistic awards include the Qantas Media Award for Best Magazine Feature Writer in information technology and communications as well as the Telecommunications Users Association (TUANZ) Journalist of the Year Award. His last book was Ratana Revisited (Reed 2006). Newman is married with two children.

Connecting the Clouds: The Internet in New Zealand, ISBN 9780958263443, Paperback 230 x 170mm, 720pp, NZ$49.99

Buy this book

Table of Contents


1 The tyranny of distance: Reaching out to the world


2 Battling with big iron: Unscrambling the code


3 No. 8 wire networks: Patchwork quilt of protocols


4 Nuclear free reforms: Nothing is what it seems


5 Selling the family jewels: Telecom holds back the tide


6 Craving for connection: Dawn of the dial-up community


7 Craving for connection II: The pioneering ISPs


8 The rhythm method: Regulation by litigation


9 Local loop languishing: Battling bandwidth blues


10 Diminished capacity: Whose foot is on the hose?


11 Deluge in a paper cup: Knowledge wave wake-up


12 E-government lumbers on-line: Presenting a public face


13 Clicks and mortar: Beyond on-line pamphlets


14 Battle of the names: Taming of the domains


15 The proxy revolution: Changing of the guard


16 Cyberspace junk: Nailing Net nasties


17 Bitstream boundaries: Sorting out speed bumps


18 Download culture: Infotainment on demand


19 Mobile momentum: Weaned off the wires


20 Digital refresh required: Government learns to share


21 Broadband breakthrough: The battle to unbundle


22 In the recovery room: Remedial reading required


23 IP channel surfing: Digital vision evolving


24 Leaping the loop: Cloud cover continues


25 Next step: Internet High-fibre diet required


26 20/20 visionaries: Beyond the seven Cs








People appearing in Connecting the Clouds: The Internet in New Zealand

(NB List is not exhaustive)

Alan Brown Alan Marston Alan McCormick Allan Freeth
Andrisha Kambaran Andy Linton Andy Williamson Angus Tait
Annette Presley Anthony Flannery Arron Scott Bart Kindt
Bill Birch Bob Gray Bob Johnstone Brendan Kelly
Brian Eardley-Wilmot Brian Sweeney Bruce Simpson Cecil Alexander
Chris Kelliher Chris Loh Chris Thompson Colin Beardon
Colin Jackson Colin Yates Darian Bird David Baragwanath
David Cunliffe David Diprose David Dix David Farrar
David Russell David Skilling David Zanetti Debbie Monahan
Dipankar Raychaudhuri Dmitry Shapiro Don Wallace Donald Clark
Doug Graham Doug Stevens Dougal McKechnie Edwin Bruce
Ernie Newman Ewan McNeil Frank March Garry Sheeran
Garth Biggs Gavin Adlam Geoff Cossey Graeme Rowe
Graham Walmsley Greg Patchell Greg Winn Helen Clark
Ian Quinn Jack Matthews Jamie Baddeley Janet Mazenier
Jenny Shipley Jim Anderton Jim Higgins Jim O’Neill
Jim Sutton Jim Tocher John Blackham John Fellet
John Hine John Houlker John Thackray John Vorstermans
Jonathan Coleman Jonathon Cooke Jordan Carter Jos Van Herk
Judith Tizard Judy Speight Julius Vogel Katherine Rich
Keith Davidson Keith Davis Kerry Prendergast Kevin Roberts
Larrie Moore Larry Smarr Laurence Zwimpfer Lawrence Lessig
Leanne Buer Lyall Watson Maarten Kleintjes Malcolm Dick
Marc Corlett Marian Hobbs Mark Burton Mark Gosche
Mark Mackay Mark Ottaway Mark Ratcliffe Mark Rushworth
Marko Bogoievski Martin Wylie Matt Crockett Matt Freeman
Matthew Bolland Maurice Williamson Max Ehrmann Michael Foley
Michael Newbery Mike Cranna Mikki Barry Murray Brown
Murray Jurgeleit Murray Milner Nathan Torkington Neil de Wit
Patrick O’Brien Patrick Pilcher Paul Allen Paul Budde
Paul Cressey Paul Ducklin Paul Gillingwater Paul Norris
Paul Reynolds Paul Swain Paul Twomey Pete Hodgson
Peter Dengate Thrush Peter Drucker Peter Gutmann Peter Macaulay
Peter Mott Peter Shirtcliffe Peter Sykes Peter Whimp
Phil Harpur Philip Burdon Philip King Ralph Little
Ramin Marzbani Ray Delany Ray Kurzweil Richard Hulse
Richard Naylor Richard Simpson Richard Uechtritz Rick Barker
Rick Ellis Rick Shera Rob Sweet Rod Drury
Rod Snodgrass Roderick Deane Roger de Salis Roger Hicks
Rosemary Howard Ross Patterson Ross Pfeffer Russell Stanners
Scott Bartlett Scott Mathias Sean Weekes Seeby Woodhouse
Shane Cole Simon McCallum Simon Riley Stanley Milgram
Stephen Bell Stephen Marshall Stephen Selwood Steve Browning
Steve Canny Steve Maharey Steve O’Brien Steven Clift
Sue Leader Suzanne Chetwin Terence O’Neill-Joyce Theresa Gattung
Tim Berners-Lee Tim O’Reilly Tone Borren Tony Ryall
Tony Villasenor Trevor Mallard Wamberto Vasconcelos Warren Sanders
Wayne Boyd Wayne Toddun William Renwick

Buy this book

The entire contents of Connecting the Clouds is available as a Wiki at

Comments (2)

  1. Kevin Andreassend

    Good writing Keith. Man things have changed since we both meet and started on the multi media track in Palmerston North together all those years ago. CD’s didn’t even exist and now – who even needs a CD! Look forward to Volume Two in 5 years…probably be twice as thick and you’ll sell it with a Kindle 🙂
    Your mate
    Kevin Andreassend

  2. Felicia Abbott

    Incredibly great read! Really..

Leave a Comment