So, There I was....* Russel, Bay of Islands New Zealand, the final port we visited in our vacation prior to disembarkation in Auckland. (I guess, technically, this is an anchorage, not a port as we tendered ashore, in the lifeboats, more to follow on that.)
|The blob in the center is the ship as we're returning. And this was calm seas. I'd hate to be in a life boat in heavy seas, course if I was in a life boat, the alternative is probably worse.|
In any, any case, our fellow voyager said that Paihia was too touristy to be interesting and we should visit Russell. Russell was more bucolic and better for sightseeing. So, we took his advice.
But, first we had to drop my daughter off with the group she was meeting in Paihia. Seems she wanted to scratch something off her Bucket List.
So, we did and she did.
A fifteen minute water taxi ride and we've arrived in Russell where I immediately scratch something off my bucket list.
I know a couple of dozen folks in the school district that exposure to this would be a good thing. In any, any, any case, after a couple of
We wandered around a bit and stumbled upon, what on further research, turned out to be a remarkable piece of history. A simple church, which turned out to be the first church in New Zealand. Turns out that Russell, which in 1840 was known as Kororāreka , was the main city in the colony and something of wild town. The church was built to be a mediating influence between Settlers, and their women, and the Maori.
I found it very interesting to walk through the cemetary and read the headstones. Some were very interesting.
I thought I took a picture of another headstone that mentioned HMS Hazard but must have been having camera issues still, so borrowed a copy from this site.
I guess in the mid 1840's deploying a ship to New Zealand was not a short time thing. The ship was going there and staying there for quite a while. And being a ship's Captain was a bigger burden than possibly today with instantaneous
But this led me to wonder what happened that required an 18 gun Sloop from the Royal Navy to make an extended stay in Bay of Islands. Turns out I was about 100' from a major clue.
Turns out that in 1840, the Maori and the British signed a treaty at Watangi. (Watangi being the place we put ashore that morning.) The treaty had three parts.
Sounds simple enough, but as with most things human, words mean different things to different people. Passions became inflamed and fighting broke out between the Colonists and the Maori.
My impression is that this misunderstanding (to put a charitable word on it) has been going on ever since and is still an issue today. There were articles in the Auckland paper about the Waitangi Tribunal which was set up in 1975 to resolve disputes about the treaty. The article alluded to decisions made for reparations going back several generations.
None of this I knew as I stood at the door to the church.
There was this one guy that pretty much everywhere I went that day, he'd show up shortly thereafter. Now granted, Russell is a small town and there's not an awful lot of things to see and do, but still, we'd go somewhere and then there he'd be. Perhaps it was his headgear that weirded me out.
So, we ordered some wine (You knew we'd do that dincha?). An outstanding bottle of NZ Sauvignon Blanc.
Which went well with some Fish and Chips
|Why is my glass empty? Waiter! More Wine!|
|Not a bad view from the table, not bad at all!|
On the way back to the water taxi, we saw a veteran of the fighting in the town.
And with that, the sun set on our last full day in New Zealand.....Drat! I wanna go back!