“In your atlas two islands not in narrow seas, like a child’s kite anchored in the indifferent blue” are the opening lines to Allen Curnow’s 1939 poem Not in Narrow Seas. Over 80 years later the renowned NZ economist and commentator Brian Easton borrows it for the title of his Ockham NZ Book Award longlisted wide-ranging history of New Zealand, viewed through the lens of economic markers. With a strong emphasis on social and environmental impacts, he delves into everything from the geological foundation of New Zealand 650 million years ago to the evolution of the welfare state and the impacts of globalisation and deregulation. This impressive work, both accessible and comprehensive, takes its place in the canon of New Zealand history. Easton speaks with Nikki Mandow.