Monday, January 25, 2016

Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Our vacation back in November proved to be an excellent time for all of us.  The five members of my family and the four friends (two couples) who went with us got along well and have similar interests.  One couple owns a winery near us and we’ve been friends for years.  In fact, they’re the reason we’re not in the winery business.  (Growing grapes is called farming, farming is not for someone who feels a need to be in control of the situation, AKA moi).  On the other hand, We’re very interested in wine.
A relaxing afternoon at an excellent winery in the Hunter Valley.

The other couple are Army Reserve Colonels and since I can speak Grunt (Hooah?), we have similar outlooks on life.  So, visiting Australia and New Zealand was a great time.

One of the best, and unplanned, parts of the trip occurred because we were on vacation during Veterans Day.  While America seems to celebrate Veterans Day more as “a midweek day off, prior to the mid-Winter buying frenzy”,  New Zealand (which is where we were during that week) celebrates Remembrance Day.  Remembrance day is a much more solemn day, much more like our Memorial Day should be.  I can understand why they might do so.  According to this site,  The percentage of the population sent to fight in WWI from New Zealand was the highest of all the combatants.  Additionally, almost 2% of the entire population of the country was killed.  18,166 out of 1 million. 

So, suffice it to say, New Zealand takes Remembrance Day seriously.  I’ve written about the museum in Wellington, Te Papa, and its fabulous exhibit on Gallipoli.  We visited that museum just prior to Remembrance Day, and the exhibit was packed, primarily with school children on official visits. 

On the last day, the ship docked in Auckland and we disembarked.  We had cleared the ship by about 9 and our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 6 PM, so we had some time to kill.  Fortunately, Celebrity had booked a conference room at a nearby hotel where we could check baggage while we waited for the shuttle to take us to the airport.  We used that time to do some sightseeing.

Since I had allowed the family to drag me to Hobbitown(which actually was kind of interesting), I called in that marker and dragged them to Tāmaki Paenga Hira .

The name means “Auckland’s memorial to fallen chiefs and their gathered taonga”.  Taonga means treasure.  So, the Auckland War Memorial Museum.


Fortunately, it is also much like our Smithsonian and the War Memorial was only a small part.  The females of the group went to the Maori culture section and stayed there for the duration. 

Small digression, as we were in line purchasing tickets, we noticed the older couple in front of us had Texas regalia on.  We asked where they were from, and they replied with the name of our town.  It really is a small world.

In any case, my son and I had a great time. 

I'm always enthused to see a member of my favorite airplane group.
Put the picture of the engine HERE Blogger! (It took me several, ok many, tries to not have this picture as the first thing on the page.  Somehow, as soon as I typed that in, voila', I'm going to use that technique frequently now.)
Along with a Merlin Engine, that would rotate the prop when you pushed the button.

There may be other displays of an actual Zero in other Museums, but I don't remember any in this good condition.  It was evidently left at an airfield that was captured by the Kiwis who brought it home.

They had one other "airplane" on display.
 V-1 Buzz Bomb
When I saw the next object and knowing our host's enthusiasm for all things Waterloo, I knew I needed this picture.

This veteran actually fought at the battle, then was shanghaied into the navy serving on a couple of ships until retirement.

They had an entire room dedicated to the display of handguns.  

They also had some very unique weapons.  Bragging rights to the person who can identify this and why it is unique. *

I did not know that, other than the Air Force and Navy, the Kiwis also fought in Europe on the ground.  The Museum had a section displaying memorabilia from their participation at  Monte Cassino.

They had the ship's bell from HMNZS Achilles.

As well as some armor plating blown off in her run-in with the Bismarck Graf Spee. (Doh!)

They also had an interesting story about the innovative spirit in the Naval Enlisted Personnel in both the Kiwi and American Navies in the Pacific.  Seems that as the Kamikaze threat heated up, some of the Kiwi vessels were light on AAA weapons.  The folks on one of these ships arranged a trade with an American ship.  They received two 20MM Oerlikon Guns and in exchange, the Americans got 2 bottles of Gin for each Gun.
I'm not sure if this is the right story, but I remember the exhibit saying something about minesweepers and ramming a submarine, so could be
The WWI exhibit is a bit different from the WWII.  More somber and with less "things".  Throughout the exhibit, there are marble tablets with the names of New Zealand's fallen.  Interestingly, of the 18,166 killed in WWI, 5325 have no known gravesite.  This exhibit was built to help families remember their loved ones.  There was a small chapel there still festooned by flowers from Remembrance day.

As I said, there were tablets throughout the Hall of Honor.  I liked this one the best.


* It's a Grenade Crossbow.


  1. Crap, always one more switch to throw or button to push.

    1. I had the feeling that Blogger was messing with you. They've changed some things (which aren't apparent) which make the interface less deterministic.

      As The Naviguessor mentioned in Sandy Eggo, "Freaking programmers at Google change things because they're bored, not because something needs changing!"

      No, he didn't actually say "freaking." But I try to keep things family friendly here.

      Another great post Juvat!

    2. It is a sure sign that Gargle must have some non-essential employees.

    3. I'd change "some" to "a lot of" but I think you're on the right track.

  2. I guessed it was a cross-bow, but that's not much of a guess. The grenade part? I never would have guessed. I guess even RPGs had to have a first edition too.

    1. The grayish green part is a tube with a slit cut into it for the bowstring. Kind of innovative, but I'm wondering about the flight time/fuse time ratio.

  3. At the Reno Air Races in the paddock I saw a Merlin with the cam covers off and realized that it wasn't much different from an engine design today - minus the electronics.

    As far as the artillery piece, that whitish conical piece seems odd but i don't know what it does.

    In Auckland a few thinkgs struck me - the beautiful harbor, and the plethora of sailing boats.

    The amusement parks dedicated to the tourist trade.

    The way the locals pronounce "Auckland" which i could never enunciate.

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure what that was either, and the signage around the exhibit talked about Monte Cassino and Kiwi participation rather than the equipment. I'm sure one of the readers with land forces experience might be able to shed some light. Didn't have time to do much else in Auckland, but we did have a bit of concern when we left the Museum to find that bus service was interrupted by a protest downtown. Managed to make it back to the hotel in time though for a time "the issue was in doubt."

  4. A nice capper to a wonderful trip. Something shared together but separately with the ladies, each happier where they were.

    1. It WAS a wonderful trip and we really enjoyed NZ. Unbelievably beautiful at every stop.

  5. Great post.

    "Why, that's obviously an AT crossbow" the smartarse in me said...

    I've been thinking about building a survival hobbit house.

    I'm reasonably sure that field piece is a QF 25 pdr. I believe the cone is part of the calibrating sight. It's got range and charge and shot scales and works a bit like a whiz wheel to yield the correct elevation setting. I read about the gun in a book by a Brit cannon cocker; name of the book slips my mind.

    Good stuff and thanks for sharing.

    1. That book wouldn't have been written by Ian Hogg would it?

    2. Now that you mention it, I think it was his book on WWII artillery.

    3. Thanks. Once again your talents amaze me. An expert on Artillery who ranches and jumps out of helicopters in the middle of the ocean. Do you have any kind of costume to go with your superhuman power? JKOC!

    4. Hahaha! That's kind of a lame superhero lineup.

      As to the costume, weekdays:


    5. A Slim Pickens fan I see. You and Juvat, Renaissance men.

    6. I can see Shaun in the first one, me in the second (STRONG resemblence in the second, steely eyed stare masking a clueless mind)


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