Sunday, August 31, 2008

The ant and the elephant are now good mates...

The ant and the elephant are now good mates...

When did New Zealand gain independence from Britain... I was recently asked when did New Zealand gain full independemce from Britain?

Lets read a bit of background material and history about New Zealand, the small dual island nation in the South Pacific,about 1200 miles or 2,000 km from Australia. I say dual island because the two main islands are still known as the South Island and the North Island. The south is the larger of the two, but the North has about two thirds of the population, with the capital city being Wellington, at the bottom of the North Island.

The population today has a majority of caucasians with Maori and Pacific Islanders making up the two largest population minorities. The Maori are not indigenous to New Zealand despite claims to the contary, perpetuated no doubt because of longstanding land claims.

Until the late 13th century NZ was uninhabited, apart from the odd island-hopping visitors from other Pacific Islands in previus times. There have been recorded visits to Aotearoa by the legendary Kupe and his waka(ocean-going canoes)in the late 9th century. That is another historical story within modern day New Zealand history.

In the 15th century Dutch explorer Abel Tasman visited NZ during his voyages here and around Australia, naming New Zealand after the town of Zeeland in Holland.

In the late 18th century British explorer Captain James Cook made about three voyages of discovery and mapped NZ.

Whalers and sealers set up their posts around NZ in the early 19th century. Missionaries arrived in the country to save the natives from their pagan ways, and also to get their hands on land.Settlers arrived to purchase land too, with the organised colonising of NZ.

In 1835 a number of Maori tribes signed a so-called Declaration of Independence with the Crown. But this was ignored and not recognised by those seeking to colonise NZ and get their hands on as much land as possible. Then the French began to make their presence felt too around present day Banks Peninsula, which is now part of modern Christchurch City, the largest city in the South Island.

As a consequence to the above the British Governor arranged a treaty to be signed by a majority of maori tribes throughout NZ - known as the 'Treaty of Waitangi', this was done in 1840 and the British flag was raised on NZ to keep the French out of NZ.

During the next few decades there were wars with some Maori tribes, much land was confiscated by the British Crown, and the country was colonised. The causasian population increased until they were the majority, and the Maori population decreased drastically through disease and other reasons.

In 1901 New Zealand had been invited to become part of the amalgamation of colonies to form the Commonwealth Of Australasia, but NZ declined mainly through transport distance and lack of easy means of communication with Australia; it took days to sail to Australia. The Commonwealth Of Australia was formed instead, and New Zealand went on its own.

In 1907 the Dominion of New Zealand was formed - an independent self-governing overseas territory of Great Britain as it was known then.

Full independence was not given to NZ until 1931, but it did not ratify this until 1947, when the WW2 was over and the mood of "where Britain goes, NZ goes" was long gone.

So 107 years after the signing, the Treaty of Waitangi is still fully recognised as a founding document of this country, and probably one of the few treaties in the world to survive, NZ become its own man, so to speak. Less than 20 years later NZ would in point of fact be discarded by Britain's entry to the European commonmarket, which is now the European political Union.

NZ lost its guaranteed markets to Britain and had to find its own way in the world. NZ would also establish its own foreign policy and became alienated from the US because of its anti-nuclear policies and stance, something still in force today. The US considered NZ a friend, but no longer an ally and denied NZ military training and security information.However there are signs of the two countries becoming locked in embrace again. The US and NZ have actually been friends and allies for many, many years.

The ant and the elephant are good mates and cobbers once again!

I hope you enjoyed this little look at NZ history today.

Read here

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The longest place name in the English speaking world in New Zealand...

The name "Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaurehaeaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu" has 92 letters, and has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the longest officially recognized place name in an English-speaking country. It is the second longest place name in the world. In comparison, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's longest place name is Bangkok's full ceremonial name given by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, and later edited by King Mongkut, nearly doubles that and is called "Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit."

A longer version,Taumata-whakatangihanga-koauau-a-Tamatea-haumai-tawhiti-ure-haea-turi-pukaka-piki-maunga-horo-nuku-pokai-whenua-ki-tana-tahu, has 105 letters and means The hill of the flute playing by Tamatea — who was blown hither from afar, had a circumcised penis, grazed his knees climbing mountains, fell on the earth, and encircled the land — to his beloved.

Tamatea, explorer of the land:

Taumata sign, March 2007Tamatea-pōkai-whenua (Tamatea the explorer of the land) was the father of Kahungunu, ancestor of the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.Mention of Tamatea's explorations of the land occur not only in Ngāti Kahungunu legends, but also in the traditions of iwi from Northland, where he is said to have explored the Hokianga and Kaipara harbours. In traditions from the Bay of Plenty region, he left a son, Ranginui, who is the ancestor of Ngāti Ranginui of Tauranga. Legends from the East Coast of the North Island tell of his explorations in Tūranga-nui (Gisborne), Māhia, Wairoa, Ahuriri (Napier), Heretaunga (near Hastings) and Pōrangahau. He travelled via the Mangakopikopiko River, over the Tītī-o-kura saddle via Pohokura to Lake Taupo. The Ōtamatea River and swamp is named after him. Tamatea is also the name of a place in Napier. Early South Island legends say that Tamatea sailed down the east coast. His canoe was wrecked in the far south, and transformed into Tākitimu mountain range. Tamatea then returned to the North Island, and travelled via the Whanganui River.

Read here

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tom is now the new chairman of the board - wins New Zealands third and final Olympic gold medal...

Tom is now the new chairman of the board - wins New Zealands third and final Olympic gold medal...

Tom Ashley from Auckland won New Zealand's third and final gold medal in the RS.X Board Sailing. Tom is also the reigning world champion for this event.

The Olympics are over for the NZ team who added the 4000m Cycling Team Pursuit bronze medal to their tally: 25 year old Lower Hutt born and raised Nick Willis, reigning Commonwealth Games Gold medalist for that distance, added the Olympic Gold medal for the distance with a withering late run; and Aucklander Brian Docherty added the Bronze for the Triathlon to the team tally as well.

There was every indication early in the week that New Zealand athletes would win a few more medals for their country, if not gold at least more silver and bronze. But it wasn't to be. There was some creditable performances, but many disappointing results. Results are important in the Olympic Games, not just the participation. New Zealand has finished somewhere about 20th in the list. Still very good for a small nation of 4 million people.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Couldn't handle kindergarten rock...

Would you believe this? A noise control officer was called out to a kindergarten disco in Auckland, New Zealand, recently.

He closed down the annual disco which had been running for one and a half hours of the planned two hour late afternoon session. Why?

A neighbour couldn't handle the loud rendition of "Bob the Builder", so he rang the local council's noise control officer, who arrived rather sheepishly at 6-13pm to inform the parent organisers that they had to close the kindergarten aged disco down immediately. A parent present claimed the music couldn't be heard two doors away. There are plans for another disco and "Bob the Buider" again next year.

You read about it here first!

Hear audio here

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wait until your number is called, love...

Wait until your number is called, love! I really liked that one, friends...

One Friday night many years ago in a crowded downtown Wellington hotel bar, a very large, and florid faced man sat down beside me and started banging the bar with his fist.

A very busy and flustered barmaid with three pints of beer in each hand said she would be right back to serve him.

But the extremely impatient customer started banging the bar again with his fist for service.

Going to the cash register, the barmaid wrote the number 567 on a piece of paper and laid it in front of him. "Wait until I call your number, love!" she said to him.

Then turning to the bar she said," Now who has number one?"

I think that impatient customer learned a valuable lesson that night. And I had a most peaceful evening from then on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Zealand 1500 metre Olympic medal legacy continues...

New Zealand has returned to the podium in the Olympic 1500 metres for the first time in 32 years with Lower Hutt born and raised Nick Willis collecting bronze. The legacy continues!

Nick Willis has joined Jack Lovelock, Peter Snell, John Davies, Rod Dixon and John Walker to have won medals in the event, running three minutes 34.16 for a bronze.

He says it feels great to live up to expectations and he owes a lot to the support of everyone who helped him to do it. His brother Steve had taken a year off work along with his family to help achieve the task as mentor, with University of Michigan coach Ron Warhurst. Steve says it was a big ask to win a medal but Nick has done it. Willis was near the rear but improved and ran on into third short of the line.

His bronze medal brought the NZ medal tally to eight. Two gold, one silver and five bronze.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Super Golden Saturday - New Zealand's greatest day in Olympic history...

First pubished at Qassia:

Super Golden Saturday - New Zealand's greatest day in Olympic history...

Super Golden Saturday - New Zealand's most successful day in Olympic history...
New Zealand has won more than one gold medal in a day in an Olympic Games before - Peter Snell and Murray Halberg achieved this on the track in Rome within an hour in 1960, but have never won five medals in one day before.

New Zealand had five boats through to the finals in rowing:

Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell, the twin sisters, repeated their achievement in Athens four years ago by winning the gold medal for the women's double scull, by one 1/hundredth of a second, a sensational performance in getting up to win after their trials and tribulations of the last year or two, sickness, loss of form and failure in the world championships. We have a saying in New Zealand: The cream always rises to the top!

Hayden Roulston, almost an unknown before the games, rode off for first and second place in the men's Individual Pursuit track cycling at the Velodrome. He achieved silver against the seasoned world champion.

The valiant sick and dehydrated Mahe Drysdale, three times world champion struggled through to finals by the barest margin, swept through to the lead in the men's single scull, before collapsing - but managed third and the bronze medal. He needed medical and ambulance assistance, but still made it to the podium to receive his bronze medal. Not a winner, but a real champion to be proud of.

Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater, so brave and consistent through to the Men's Pairs rowing final and the bronze medal for third place.

And V stands for Victory and our VALERIE VILI, former youth, junior and world champion, and Commonwealth Games champion in the Women's Shot Put - Gold from her first throw in the finals. The rest of the field failed to reach her mark of 20.56 metres. All of her races were in excess of 20 metres.

Valerie made a victory lap round the stadium with a New Zealand flag draped around her shoulders, putting security into a mild panic. She wanted to honour those who supported her, her fellow New Zealand team members and other athletes. She is a new champion and super star in her specialist event - the Shot Put. The reigning Olympic Champion from Athens in 2004 could only manage second place and silver this time round.

Five medals in a day, and hopefully more to come. Some Kiwis were getting paranoid that NZ had not won any medals in the first six days, but our athletes have traditionally done better in the secon week of Olympic competitions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Two days to the Olympics opening ceremony...

Two days to the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing,China...

Our New Zealand athletes wait in positive anticipation. For a small country we do well on the international stage; we have a definate chance of winning and placing in a number of events. Three to four gold medals are a distinct possibility, with a number of silver or bronze also excellent prospects.

A big throw from our Valerie and some fast rowing from Mahe would consolidate their world championship form. If a number of others also compete at their WC form we can expect a successful Olympics. See you all on the rostrum!