Monday, February 1, 2016

Remember to hit PUBLISH this week :-)

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.)

We tendered from the ship to the little peninsula just to the right of the Watangi National Reserve (the green area center left), took a bus into town (center bottom) then took a water taxi across the bay to the peninsula just to the right of the ship.  The view from the lifeboat tender was spectacular.

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 case, we have navigated our way to the small town of Russell.  We had been advised by a fellow voyager to bypass the town of Paihia which, I believe if I understood the young Kiwi lass who drove the bus, is pronounced Pie' yuh, but, since she only had us for a very short time and seemed determine to cram as much tourist information as possible in that drive, it is quite possible I'm mistaken.  

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 hours minutes, we let him go, a reformed man.

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  supervision, secong guessing, interferrence communication with National Command Authority.  

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.

Seems the Kiwis, much like the US at Pearl Harbor, are willing to leave Battle Damage in place to remind folks about the lessons of History.

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.  

  1. that the Queen (or king) of Great Britain has the right to rule over New Zealand;
  2. that Maori chiefs would keep their land and their chieftainships, and would agree to sell their land only to the British monarch; and
  3. that all Maori would have the same rights as British subjects.
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.

In any, any (how many do I need?) case, it's now time for lunch.  We managed to find a small place with a decent view.

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!
I decided to try my hand at a Selfie.
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!



  1. A new thing to tell people...

    "You may be cool, but you're not retired-fighter-pilot-sitting-on-a-beach-in-New-Zealand-snapping-selfies-and-sipping-wine cool."

    Think it'll catch on?

    Another great post from Kiwi-land, if it wasn't such a long-ass-flight I might put it on my to-do list. Still, I can do it vicariously!

    Love the post title, seriously thought you were going to change it before publishing. Glad you didn't. It's clever. Well, I think it's clever...

    Then again, what do I know? (Insert clip of Fredo proclaiming his "smartness" in Godfather II...)

    1. Thanks
      YmbcbynrfpsoabiNZssaswc? Don't know, seems harder to acronym than to type it. It IS a long flight, stopping each way in Hawaii was a good idea, but as I said, I think two nights would have accomplished the objective better.

      Re: the title. I was attempting to proclaim "smartness" with it, but thought about changing it in my last proof before I went to bed. Decided against it. 0245 SD time this morning, I snapped awake and couldn't remember if I'd pushed publish after that proof. I realized I wouldn't get any sleep unless I checked, so I did. Fortunately....I had.

    2. NEHTBA* Though it's not a bad idea...

      I get the "trying to remember if I did something in a post (or not) then getting up in the middle of the night to check, then not being able to go back to sleep". It's some sort of blogger syndrome I think.

      *Not Everything Has To Be Acronymized

  2. "...willing to leave Battle Damage in place..."
    The Irish have done the same at the General Post Office in Dublin,
    NZ is on my list, as is OZ.
    Then, so, too, are a number of places much closer to home.

    1. Both places are extraordinary places to visit. Cruising NZ was I think the best option for a first visit as we got to see 6 entirely different climates, topographies and sites. If I went back, I'd probably stay in only a couple of places and get deeper into those areas. Most likely, they'd be Bay of Islands and on the South Island, Dunedin. Dunedin would put us close enough to visit Fjordland and Milford Sound.

  3. The one area I didn't go to was the Bay of Islands, and it is supposed to be the prettiest area of NZ (which has a lot of pretty places).
    Those Mauri were/are a fierce lot.

    Before I went there I just lumped NZ and Australia together but they are very different. After awhile I could even detect differences in the accents.

    BTW if you want to see a movie with a lot of local NZ scenery get the movie The Worlds Fastest Indian with Anthony Hopkins..It's about a fellow who hot rodded his ancient Indian motorcycle and his quest to go to Bonneville and set a record.

    1. I too was of the opinion that NZ and Australia were basically the same and agree that they are not. Two things stand out. Australia - Flies by the ton. NZ, I don't remember any insects, so well with in acceptable tolerances. NZ most hillsides I saw had noticeable rock slides from earthquake activity. Australia, again I don't remember any.
      And yes there were differences in accents.
      I'll have to look into the movie.

  4. Great post. Whenever I see Brit graves around the globe I always think of Rupert Brooke's The Soldier..."If I should die, think only this of me; that there is some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England."

    If I read the image correctly, your daughter's bucket list item had something to do with abandoning a perfectly good aircraft? I visited that website, looks like fun, and the "free" tee shirt is right up there with the $100 fly-in hamburger.

    Here's my attempt at a selfie:

    1. Yep, her # of takeoffs in an aircraft no longer match her # of landings in an aircraft. Funny, she was supposed to go with some members of the ships crew, they all chickened out, so she was the only one. Somehow, every guy on the Sky Dive staff somehow wanted to go along. The video of the jump is hilarious.

      The cows look cold!


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.