Michael Bassett is probably New Zealand's best- known political historian. He is the author or co-author of eleven books on New Zealand's political history and is currently working on more. His specialty is political biography. He was also a regular columnist for the Fairfax papers, the Dominion-Post, the Press and the Waikato Times for about six years. In 2004 he won the Qantas Media Award for Best Political Columnist in New Zealand. He still writes occasional articles and reviews for newspapers.
Dr Bassett was New Zealand's Minister of Health and Local Government between 1984 and 1987, and Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government, Civil Defence and Arts and Culture between 1987 and 1990.
He has taught history at the University of Auckland, and was a visiting professor of history in Canada and the United States between 1992 and 2002. He spent ten years (1994-2004) as a tribunal member of the Waitangi Tribunal that deals with the claims of New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori. In 2009 he was appointed to the Board of the Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa.