Before I start blogging about my departure from New Zealand I thought it would be nice to sum up some facts and history about New Zealand. Mainly for my own reference when I look back at this blog, but hey, it may be of interest to you too. To begin I will briefly highlight the story of New Zealand from the Mauri standing. My friend dickie had relayed this story to me whilst we were walking some 4km walk downhill to a traditional Borneo wedding just south of Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo before Christmas. This was just one of many tales about New Zealand and Mauri culture that he told me. I was fascinated by the stories, not only for their content, but also because dickie has a fantastic way of storytelling that he should most definitly be complimented upon.
The legend of New Zealand:
Maui is a famous mythological figure in Mauri culture who, it is said, possessed magical powers.
Legend has it that one day, while Maui was fishing with his brothers, he hooked an enormous fish using a magical ancestral jawbone.
After a great struggle, the fish surfaced to become what is known as the north island. The waka, or canoe, used by Maui became the South Island, while the anchor stone holding the waka became Stewart Island.
Time line of New Zealand:
The ancestors of Maori reach Aotearoa New Zealand in seven waka (canoes)
Abel Tasman is the first European to sight New Zealand and names It ‘staten landt’
British explorer James Cook maps the land and renames it New Zealand.
The first European women arrive in New Zealand, making men very happy!
The treaty of Waitangi, new Zealand’s founding document, is signed making Maori British subjects (more about this in my next blog)
The New Zealand wars erupt – not all Maoris like being British subjects…
Women gained a right to vote- a world first
Ernest Rutherford, a New Zealand-born chemist and physicist, splits the atom.
Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquer Mount Everest
The Beatles tour. Much screaming ensues.
Greenpeace’s flagship, the rainbow warrior, is sunk by a bomb in auckland a harbour.
The all blacks win the inaugural rugby World Cup
New Zealand transforms itself into middle earth for the filming of The Lord of the rings.
The nation celebrates as the all blacks win the rugby World Cup for a second time.
What is a kiwi?
The kiwi is a native bird of New Zealand. It is small, flightless and nocturnal.
In 1886, the New Zealand army decided to use the kiwi on its regimental insignia. New Zealand soldiers socialised with other allied personnel in world wars 1 and 2 and became commonly known as ‘kiwis’.
The allied soldiers returned a to their homelands and told everyone they knew about a great bunch of people called ‘kiwis’. The name stuck.
Kia Ora = hello and thank you. Pronounced: key or-ra
Kei te pehea koe? = how are you? Pronounced: Kay te pe-he-a queh.
Aroha Mai = excuse me, sorry. Pronounced: are-raw-ha my
Haere Mai = welcome. Pronounced: hi-reh my
Ata marie = good morning. Pronounced: ah-tah mah-re-air
Po marie = good night. Pronounced: poh mah-re-air
Ka kite ano = goodbye. Pronounced: Kah key-tey ah-gnaw
Kei te pai = that’s cool. Pronounced Kay teh pie
Munted = damaged beyond repair
Dodgy = bad! unreliable
Sweet as = really good
Squiz = a quick look at something
Yeah nah = a non-committal response to something said
No sweat = no problem
Take a hike = go away
She’ll be right = everything will be ok! it’s not a problem.
Ripped off = made to pay too much
Stuffed up = made a mistake
Pack a sad = be in a bad mood
Ropeable = very angry
Area of New Zealand = 265,265 square km
Capital = Wellington (0.4 million people)
Population = 4.4 million
Time = GMT + 12
New Zealand has been proudly nuclear free since 1987.
New Zealand is named after an area in the Southern Netherlands.
Commercial bungee jumping originated in New Zealand in 1986.
The ratio of sheep to humans in New Zealand is 7 to 1.
A common Maori name for New Zealand is ‘Aotearoa’ meaning ‘long white cloud’.
Weighing in at 71 grams, the giant weta is the heaviest insect in the world.
The tuatara is known as a living fossil. It hasn’t changed in over 225 million years and lived therefore in the time of the dinosaurs. (And is one)
And there you have it! Some random facts and information about New Zealand!
I have loved my time here in NZ. Some of the most memorable times in my life have occurred here. It really is beautiful. So far the most beautiful country I have ever visited. The sheer quietness and the untouched vibes the country oozes with have ensured that New Zealand will stay in my mind as one of the most tranquil, calming, all-natural and self-reflecting places I have ever been. Never refuse an opportunity to go.