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Travel Image How long could it be before I finished this page - on New Zealand - the country of my birth! As there are many, many photos that can be added to a site on New Zealand, - the scenery is "sooooo" spectacular ? it is a shame that I have not done a full tour of the country for so long and taken hundreds of photos to present! Whenever you meet someone from New Zealand, they are either from the ?Mainland? or from the other island - depending on where they were born. (Whisper it ? the South Island!) While I have traveled in many parts of both islands, I am firmly of the opinion that each has its own charm, ruggedness, beauty and identity, and I hope to let you decide which one you like best by browsing these pages. I was born on the mainland, at Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, but lived most of my younger days in Hamilton. It is therefore Hamilton that I say I am from ? located just over the Bombay Hills actually! New Zealand lies on one of the major faults that span our globe, resulting in a lot of geothermal activity, from White Island, which is uninhabitable, to Rotorua and its famous thermal playgrounds. We used to be waken in Waiouru when I was there, by the rumble of the ground and wondered if it the tanks rumbling past or just another mild earthquake? Some areas, as in Napier, have been devastated in the past by earthquakes, but luckily, most are just mild tremors! New Zealand is also a land of mountains and hills, a lot of them covered with rugged bush. Every week there are many thousands that go tramping and bush walking, and many also that end up lost and get the search and rescue teams out! Our bush though is very safe with no snakes, no poisonous animals or insects and as far as I know, one type of poisonous spider that is found only on rocky beaches! A lot of our birds are only found in New Zealand but most of the mammals have been introduced, not all to the betterment of the country, as in the opossum! The Kiwi bird is our national emblem and most New Zealanders associate with this by calling themselves Kiwi's and having come from Kiwiland! New Zealand is in the southwest Pacific Ocean, being nearly 2,000 kms from Australia and 18,331 kms from London with a population today of 4.1 million. Overall, the islands are over 1,600 kilometers long, with the widest part being only 450 kilometers. The capital is Wellington, near the base of the North Island with its central position being the deciding factor in transferring the seat of government from Auckland, in 1865. Auckland is the largest city with a population having just reached one million and over 200,000 inhabitants are from the Pacific islands, which makes Auckland the largest Polynesian city in the world. From the outset, New Zealand has been in the forefront of many areas, as in instituting social welfare legislation and being the world's first country to give women the right to vote (1893). It adopted old-age pensions (1898); a national child welfare program (1907); social security for the elderly, widows, and orphans, along with family benefit payments; minimum wages; a 40-hour workweek and unemployment and health insurance (1938); and socialized medicine (1941). Another first is the flight on 31 st March 1903, when Richard Pearse flew his home constructed monoplane 150 yards, arguably the first flight in the world. There is uncertainty about whether it met the definitions of sustained flight, but it came eight months before the Wright Brothers entered the record books at Kitty Hawk North Carolina on 17th December 1903. Unlike the Wright brothers? machine, Pearses machine was of prophetic design, in that it closely resembles a modern micro-light aircraft of today in appearance. On 29 th May 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain. William Harrington Atack of Canterbury was the first sports referee in the world to use a whistle to stop a game. Ernest Rutherford made three great breakthroughs, being the first to split the atom, also proved that elements are not immutable, but can change their structure naturally and he built the nuclear model of the atom, which has became the basis for how we see the atom today - a tiny nucleus surrounded by orbiting electrons. The writer Katherine Mansfield revolutionized the 20th Century English short story. Acknowledged widely as the most outstanding soldier of the Second World War, Captain Charles Upham is the only combatant soldier to receive the Victoria Cross and Bar. Jean Batton was the manifestation of triumph and hope when in 1934 she smashed Amy Johnson?s time between England and Australia by six days. The following year she was the first woman to make the return flight. In 1936 she made the first ever-direct flight between England and New Zealand and then the fastest ever trans-Tasman flight. New Zealand was first discovered about 1000 years ago by the great Polynesian navigator Kupe who sailed here from his homeland Hawaiki - probably from Tahiti. He named the islands Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud. Kupe returned to Hawaiki and left instruction on how to get here. About 400 years later Maori arrived back in Aotearoa with seven great canoes and all Maori claim decent from one canoe or another. Previously, the only Maori culture known to most people was the haka, the challenge issued on the rugby field, and in my school days not much was learnt of the history and culture of the Maori. I am glad to say, that there seems to be a revival though, and schoolchildren today are taught both language and culture as part of our shared heritage. The Dutchman Abel Tasman landed in 1642, charted part of the coastline and named it Staten land, believing it was part of the Australian continent. When his mistake was discovered the country was renamed Nieuw Zeeland. In 1769 James Cook came to New Zealand, extensively charted both North and South Island and gave many sights their English names that are presently in use today. Captain Cook is credited with the main mapping of New Zealand and the "claiming" of the land for the crown of England. It was Able Tasman though, who was the discoverer and who named New Zealand after Zealand in Holland and also gives his name to the Tasman Sea, between Australia and us.
 
Travel Image The first white settlers in New Zealand were the farmers, the timber cutters, the whalers and other peoples of tough composition, along with the missionaries. T hey were a mix of nationalities, being British, the Americans and the French. Deep-sea whaling commenced during the years 1791-2, the first arrival being the whaler, "William and Ann". Shortly later, in 1792, the whaler "Britannia" began operating in Dusky Sound (South Island). From 1797, American whalers arrived, and during the 1830s, the French whaling ships turned up in significant numbers. The early history of New Zealand is one of the British colonists and the Maori working together and living with each other, and it was not until the retributions of the Maori War did some injustices take place that is still being rectified today. Some of my ancestors actually fought in the Wars and we can claim membership in the Founders Society of New Zealand due to our early arrival in the country. I have always felt sorry there is not more of my heritage that could be associated with one of the first indigenous settlers of New Zealand! Wait - maybe there is - as there are various theories and bits and pieces of "evidence" around that New Zealand may have been visited and even "settled" for a time by various groups that ranged the globe before recorded history. Is it really New Zealand shown on maps of the Phoenicians, and were the tales of lore from the Celts referring to the two islands with rugged mountains referring to New Zealand, and what about the Arab, Tamil and Indonesian travelers visiting New Zealand before Maori and leaving behind some small pieces of their lives here and there? Presently nobody knows for sure, but one day we may begin to know more than what we do now! In 1840, a treaty was signed between the Maori and the Crown concerning sovereignty, but needless to say, it was not always adhered to and the Maori wars developed around 1860. The Maori never signed a surrender in the Wars and were known as ferocious fighters, including their women folk! Through the use of ingenious tactics and innovative fortifications the Maori side was able to withstand the British attacks for many years and it is these fortifications that became the main defense method in the First World War, leading to the trench warfare that this war is most renowned for. Part of the original Treaty of Waitangi is seen here, signed between the British Crown and the Maori people.
 
Keri Keri river inlet in the Bay of Islands, a quiet haven for yachties, with the Stone store shown behind
Waitangi Bays in the Bay of Islands where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840
Weather beaten sea frontage in Coromandel and bush covered hills
One of the schooners sailing New Zealand waters, where there is a high proportion of the population having some sort of water craft, from these yachts to small run abouts
Lake Taupo in the central North Island, - trout fishermens paradiseand formed by one of the largest volcanic eruptions ever in the world
90 mile beach at Northland, usedas a road to get to Cape Rienga in good weather and according to thetides, it is actually closer to 90 kiloters or about 56 miles long
The Maori are particularly famous for their elaborate carvings, which can be seen on meeting houses, boats and jewellery and has special symbolic meaning, like on this carving above the entrance gate to a Marae
A Maori war canoe like those that traversed the lengths of New Zealand waters when one tribe attacked their opposition tribes
White Island of the east coast ofNew Zealand which is continually smoking sulphur fumes and isuninhabited due to the poisonous fumes
The Taranaki Bight on the west coast around Mount Egmont where is found the Maui gas and oil fields off shore
Giant Kauri trees located in the Kauri Forests in Northland include this one - one of the most massive trees on earth - the 2000-year-old Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest)
New Zealand bush scene, great for tramping and camping in, with a ponga or tree fern showing on the right
Mount Ngauruhoe which is New Zealands most active volcano with 61 eruptions since 1839, and continually emitting smoke and ash
Mount Egmont, located in Taranaki and famous for its cone shape, second only after Mt Fuji in Japan
The highest mountain in New Zealand is Mount Cook, located in the South Island alps. It is called Aoraki by Maori and stands at 3750 meters
Mount Aspiring, also called the Matterhorn of the South, it stands at 9,929 feet and elegant ridges and icy summit stand alone, in the Alps providing unsurpassed views
The mountains of Ruapahu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe form the central set of mountains in the central plateau of the North Island, where Waiouru is located and I was based for a couple of years
Sunset looking out over one of the many bays in New Zealand. New Zealand is shaped by its waters, being a temperate to cold climate with plenty of rainfall and miles of coastlines
A full-scale reconstruction of a kainga (unfortified Maori village), with a kitchen, meeting house and storerooms, providing a good example of early Maori life
The houses of the Maori reconstructed Rewa village located at Keri Keri in the Bay of Islands
The whare runanga or Maori meeting house at the Marae in the Maori village at Waitangi, where the Treaty was made and finally over 500 chiefs signed while Te Wherowhero of Waikato, Taraia of Thames, Tupaea of Tauranga, the Te Arawa of Rotorua, and the Ngati Tuwharetoa of Taupo did not
The Treaty House at Waitangi where New Zealand history was made in 1840 with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi that made New Zealand a Crown colony
The Maori war canoe at Waitangi which is New Zealands largest canoe at 35 meters long named as after Kupe, the famous Polynesian explorer, as Nga Toki Matawhaoru and made out of two large kauri trees
Cape Reinga and the promontory where there is a small pohutukawa tree which grows out of its eastern side. According to ancient lore, this was final departure point for the spirit of the Maori back to the homelands  
New Zealands oldest surviving Roman Catholic building was built in 1841-42 of rammed earth on the ground floor and pan rammed earth panels in a kauri framework on the second
Christ Church, the old church at Russell which bears the scars from the Maori Wars and has bullet holes still showing in its planks
The Stone Store located in the Bay of Islands at Keri Keri is New Zealands oldest European stone building was built between 1832 and 1835
Kemp House in Keri Keri, NZs oldest wooden building and the only surviving one of three mission houses built in 1832 
Pohutikawa trees, or commonly called the New Zealand Christmas tree, found on shorelines in the North Island and blooms at Christmas time
The silver fern, the emblem of our country and worn on the famous All-Black rugby jerseys