Anno Domini 2000

<em>Anno Domini 2000</em>

Published in 1889 – four years before New Zealand women won the right to vote – former Premier Julius Vogel's futuristic novel Anno Domini 2000; or, woman's destiny predicted that by the end of the millenium women would hold the highest posts in government and that poverty would have vanished.

A new edition of the book was published by the University of Hawaii Press in 2000. At that time the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Attorney-General, Chief Justice, Governor-General designate and CEO of New Zealand's largest company were all women.

In his introduction to the 2000 edition, academic Roger Robinson listed some of Vogel's other predictions:

  • Australian politicians move to secede from United Britain to establish a wholly independent republic
  • There is reverse migration to a prosperous Ireland
  • Europe becomes fully federated
  • British royalty is strengthened by marriage between the 'Emperor' and a commoner woman of great charisma
  • The news media and their inveterate interest in celebrity gossip exert considerable political influence
  • A social welfare system provides living comforts even for the poor, including subsidised accommodation in 'splendid edifices of many storeys, with constant self-activating elevators.'
  • In all homes, heavy manual work has been replaced by 'remarkable contrivances for affording power and saving labour.'
  • Electricity is the prime source of domestic light and heat and most houses in hot climates have air conditioning
  • Hydroelectricity is a major power source and large dams are constructed on the outflow from Lake Wakatipu
  • Tourism, fishing and horticulture are important sources of foreign exchange for New Zealand and we become a world-class wine producer
  • By changing soil chemistry, central North Island land is brought into productive use
  • Industrial technology is making significant impact on the environment
  • New Zealand is a leader in Antarctic research
  • Air travel is universal, in lightweight aluminium 'air-cruisers' powered by 'quickly revolving fans'. (This was 14 years before the Wright Brothers' flight).
  • There is instant communication technology in the form of 'hand telegraph' or 'noiseless telegraph', which politicians have fitted to their desks and journalists use to transmit copy directly to their newspapers.

Robinson concluded that, although not always on the mark, 'Overall, Vogel emerges as a utopian prophet of rare percipience'.

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