Late in 1995 I had the opportunity to write a New Zealand edition of an Australian guide for first-time users of the Internet. The original edition, called Surf's Up: Internet Australian Style was written by self-styled Internet Princess Katherine Phelps, and drew on her long personal experience of computers, online communication and participation in virtual communities.
In the New Zealand edition, published early in 1996 and called appropriately enough Surf's Up: Internet New Zealand Style Katherine and I included some history of the Internet in New Zealand, more information on local Web sites, and contact details for New Zealand-based Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The book was originally published under the Reed imprint, owned at the time by the Reed-Elsevier publishing empire and linked to the former New Zealand publisher AH & AW Reed, and now sadly defunct. The book has long been out of print, but copies turn up in secondhand bookshops from time to time.
The book included an offer of free setup for an Internet account through The Internet Company of New Zealand, now known as ICONZ. If you didn't have your own personal Internet account, or you wanted to get someone else online, this was a great offer. The book even included essential software to get you started, conveniently packaged on a floppy disk and sealed on the inside back cover.
If you want to see the kind of stuff Katherine and I included in the book, you can browse through the table of contents or introduction online. I played with the idea of placing all the hypertext links online as well, until I realised that Mr Google was doing a much better job of keeping the links up to date than I ever could.
These few pages of my original book are now really an artefact of the early Internet in New Zealand, and I maintain them online for purely historical purposes. For some context, and a brief review of other Internet self-help books published in New Zealand in the mid 1990s, see the Wiki discussion as part of InternetNZ's history project Connecting the Clouds: The Internet in New Zealand.
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