Might add more to this as things occur to me

The Maori

The Maori population of New Zealand look to have populated NZ from Eastern Polynesia about 1000 years ago, although this is still not definitive as more genetic investigation is required. Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki and later expeditions have shown that Polynesia was accessible from South America and so that was probably the original starting point way back when.

However it has also been shown that NZ was populated before the Maoris arrived. There is radio-carbon and other evidence of this. This population appears to have disappeared, apart from the archaeological traces they have left behind. Genetics might show us otherwise. Also we don’t know how long they had been there. Evidence seems to suggest relatively recent occupation of NZ, unlike Australia.

Hunting Moa seems to have been an early motivation for occupation. A large land-bird, the Moa was doomed to extinction as it was an easy target for the hunters. Learn more about the Moa.

Then, of course, the Europeans came, with the British probably the main colonists from the 1820s and they took the place over, entering into various treaties and battles with the Maoris culminating in the Treaty of Waitangi. See Settling and Annexing NZ for more details.

Today Maoris seem much more evident in the North Island. The book ‘Ask that Mountain’ tells of the battles between local tribes and the pakeha (incomers/invaders/white NZers) with South Taranaki being a Maori stronghold.

Today Maoris are still negotiating for their rights (the settlement process in NZ was quite different to that of Australia). A current big issue is Who Owns the Water, although this is as much about the water belongs to everybody as it is about whether it belongs to the Maoris.

Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge was taken over by the Iwi – the Maori tribe – in November 2017 and is now run completely by them.

There is no doubt that there is a huge cultural enrichment provided by the Maori influence which pervades many aspects of NZ life and adds enormously to the interest level for the visitor and for NZers generally.

Weather

The cyclone ‘remnants’ that hit the South Island and southern part of the North Island were quite dramatic with landslips blocking roads, flooding, and sink-holes. They were very inconvenient for people stuck behind them. We were really lucky as we were only affected on that first day in Dunedin. We avoided the second one by unwittingly heading north before it hit. Generally the weather was pretty good. Polo shirts and shorts all the time. All those warm clothes not needed apart from a short time at Mount Cook (which is after all a mountain).

High Points

  1. Christchurch
  2. Allan’s Beach
  3. Mount Cook
  4. Mount Taranaki
  5. Queen Charlotte Sound
  6. Coromandel Peninsula

Low Points

  1. Rain – although that’s what makes NZ so green (as with UK)
  2. Shortage of places to stay in Kaikoura and then in Picton. There does appear to have been an increase in the number of tourists especially in February (those pesky tourists – ban them all, I say.)

Generally we avoided big towns and cities this time, with the exception of Christchurch. Next time we should really take a look around Auckland and perhaps Wellington.

Politics (Sorry)

Is there something to learn from NZ as discussed in this Brexit article?
A customs union won’t help.
I mean in relation to this quote from it:
A hard Brexit – in which the UK retains complete freedom to diverge as much as it likes from the EU – would work only if we were to follow the example of New Zealand and seek to become a global hub by adopting a free-market policy of radical deregulation, drastic cuts in personal and company taxation, the ditching of agricultural subsidies, and the unilateral removal of tariffs.

Bees are alive and well (so far)

Good to see so many beehive colonies in the fields in NZ, like the one shown here:

Beehives in fields

Didn’t get a good picture ourselves as we always seemed to be driving when we saw them. You can find many other images by searching for ‘NZ beehive images’.

Aged Persons Sign

As we were driving north we passed through a few towns where we saw road signs with ‘Aged Persons’ on them, a bit like this, although I haven’t been able to find precisely the one we saw:

Aged Road Sign

Bit much really and we often found retirement villages (for the over-50s!!!) next to cemeteries. Depressing.

Lifestyle

Not quite as ‘stepping back in time’ as previously, but that could be because we are more used to it.

We love the empty roads with one lane bridges to slow you down (roads are usually one lane each way but that shrinks to one lane in total at most bridges, except on the main roads.

We also love the ‘colonial’ style houses, mostly one storey, weatherboarded and often with a verandah all the way round.

The houses by the sea get flashier and flashier.

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