Thursday, December 31, 2009
I found the interaction between Cook and the Maori
very interesting. While there was some bloodshed, the
encounter was relatively peaceful compared to others. Cook did
not understand the Maori completely, but he recorded his
observations and eventually came to respect their culture.
When the Maori and Cooks men were exchanging insults, both
parties seem to have come to an understanding even though it
may not have been the most functional or peaceful.
I also thought it was surprising that there is still
conflict between the Maori and the Pakeha; I thought that most
of the conflicts had been resolved after the treaty Waitangi
was signed. It turns out that there is still tension in
between the Maori and the Pakeha especially when examining the
history of New Zealand. Different individuals see Cook
differently as either a hero or villain.
While in New Zealand, I am looking forward to seeing
the Maori culture first hand and trying to find out how it has
changed over time. The Pakeha culture has influenced the Maori
culture and the Maori culture has influenced the Pakeha
culture. I would like to see these two cultures interact.
I also look forward to taking pictures of some of the
landscape that we will see throughout the trip, especially
night landscapes of the cities we stay in, and the sky from
the southern hemisphere. I am excited to learn about the
geology New Zealand and the different marine organisms that
inhabit the beaches we will study.
One of the most intriguing things I learned from Blue Latitudes is that there is a fairly deep divide between the Maori and Pakeha perceptions of Captain Cook and his impact on New Zealand's history. I think that to a lot of Westerners, it's just a given that Captain Cook sailed around the world and discovered new places, but, much like how people may take for granted the effects of European explorers and colonists on the natives of the Americas, no one really thinks about how much Cook changed the history of the lands he encountered. In the way Horwitz describes it, the Pakeha of New Zealand, at least up until the late 1900s, seemed to share this western tunnel vision. I also found it interesting that the Maori took inspiration from such civil rights figures as Martin Luther King Jr. in their own struggle for legal recognition and their efforts to broaden the history and culture of New Zealand to include the Maori perspective. I also find it interesting that this cultural "renaissance" is similar in many ways to the reorganization of Native American heritage in American history in the last century. Perhaps only fifty years ago, if you were to visit New Zealand as a casual tourist, you may not have even known of the Maori's existence before you arrived – and even then you still may never have encountered any public acknowledgement in New Zealand society. Nowadays, though, the Maori are included as a distinct part of New Zealand's heritage and are even a selling point for tourism, as shown on New Zealand's tourism guide (http://www.tourism.net.nz/new-zealand/about-new-zealand/maori-culture.html). When thinking about New Zealand as an ideal paradise, especially from a naturalist point of view, it's easy to forget that there are internal human struggles as there are in every other country.
I also was surprised to learn that Cook was a collected man, not the "shoot first, ask questions later" type that the stereotype of early European explorer tends to provide. He gave the Maori the benefit of the doubt, and even defended their virtue against his own men. This isn't to say there was no bloodshed, even from him, but altogether the first meeting between Cook and the Maori seemed, to me, to be one of exploration history's more civil meetings.
I have always been fascinated by the similarities, differences, perceptions of, and cultures of people from other areas of the globe. I am very excited to have the chance to meet kiwis who I hope will share their own culture with me, and also give me their viewpoints and opinions on mine. I am excited to see what the cultural settings of the various places we will be visiting are. I can't wait for the marae stay, but I also look forward to the bigger cities and being able to assess the differences and similarities in urban life between New Zealand and the United States.
I also am excited to explore the natural settings of New Zealand. I already know how breathtaking the land is, which compared to the East Coast of the United States where I am from, is relatively pristine. I am very interested in exploring the biological differences between the Pacific Ocean, which I have only set foot in once before, and the Atlantic Ocean, which I have lived around all my life. Ever since I was in grade school I have always been fascinated by volcanoes, so the chance to explore and learn about islands formed by them is very exciting. In short. . . I can't wait!
It's never a surprise that historical accounts of European exploration are filled
with bias and reflect the personal agendas of those telling the story. Looking
back, I am displeased by how I was taught to portray Columbus as an honest
and good person, who gave Christianity to the savage natives. How misinformed
we all were of the mass genocide that occurred upon Columbus' arrival. While
reading about Cook's journey around New Zealand, I anticipated learning of the
same harsh realities that are associated with European exploration of a new
land. However, I was surprised to find that the author talked about Cook as
being a decent man. I began to trust the author's words, that Cook did his best
to be good to the Maori people; however, as he started retelling the Maori
perspective of Cook's arrival, I began to question the author's perspective. After
hearing all sides of the story, I am certain that each one holds a bit of truth,
masked by a lot of biased opinion. Of course the Pakeha regard Cook as an
active contributor to the greatness that New Zealand is today. The Maori, on the
other hand only see that Cook took from them their land and their dignity.
The reading was interesting in that it gave a good, overall account of Cook's
exploration, including both modern and historical aspects of New Zealand's
cultural perspectives and personal opinions of Cook himself. The most amusing
thing I learned was the presence of the Crook Cook; it made me realize that
historical landmarks are insignificant if that true connection with your ancestry
does not exist.
My personal objective for this program is to be a traveler, not a tourist. I want to
learn about New Zealand through personal experiences with the culture and the
landscape. I don't want to look at New Zealand through the eyes of an
indifferent tourist, who sees no further than the superficial "sights" and
landmarks. I want to go deeper, to explore the sounds, the smells and the
overall "feel" of the environment around me. I want to explore New Zealand and
appreciate the beauty of its topography, shaped by environmental and cultural
Studying and learning about the geology and the biology of New Zealand's
landscape will help me achieve my objective for this program. It will force me to
think of this as more than just a vacation; it will enable me to truly understand
how invaluable this trip really is.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
1. The Horwitz reading was very interesting. I did not know much about the Europeans expedition to New Zealand or any of the interactions between the Europeans and the Maori. Cook seemed to understand the Maori quite well from the observations he had written down. I enjoyed reading about the way Cook viewed the Maori. He seemed to respect their ways more than most European expeditions that encountered a new land and new people. Some of the reading even compared Cook's explorations to the explorations in the Americas, which I thought was very interesting. The Maori gang the narrator visited was surprisingly not as vicious as you would think. They seemed to have a good sense of their history and wanted to stand up for their way of life. Despite this, one of the gang members when speaking of Cook did admit he was happy with the warm water that Cook and the European technology brought to the island.
The Maori were did not know what to make of Cook's ship initially. Obviously, they had never seen anything like this before. Someone called them goblins that could see from the back of their heads when they were paddling backwards in the canoes. That was somewhat funny. Also, the fact that the Maori were confused that this ship had no women and children and offered boys to the Europeans because they thought they were homosexuals was surprising, but makes sense since they did not know the home land the ship came from. They offered them boys and the Europeans thought they were making fun of them. It was interesting to see some of the specific interactions like this between the groups when they first met.
2. There are many different cultural things going on in New Zealand. The Maori and Pakeha are two diverse groups, but have been connected through many years of living in the same place. It will be cool to try and see the differences or similarities between them and how they interact with each other. Meeting people of different cultures is always interesting and can broaden the way you think about certain things.
Much of the reading of Cook's adventures was about the different places they sailed to around New Zealand. It will be cool to see these places first hand especially since so much is known about what happened at all the different sites. I know New Zealand is a beautiful place and when you combine that with the history of the country at different sites, it will make learning the land even more interesting. Also, discovering ways the Maori and native people used the land to live in a place so different than anywhere else in the world will show some great incite to life in New Zealand.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
In reading the Horwitz chapter on Cook's travels in New Zealand, I was most surprised at the past and present friction between the
Maori and Pakeha; I had been under the impression that the two cultures had meshed peacefully, especially after the original treaty. I
was also somewhat surprised at the amount of bloodshed that occurred during Cook's visit to the islands, though perhaps it was
relatively peaceful compared to first encounters with exploring Europeans in other areas of the world.
I found it interesting that the term Maori is believed to have come into use after Cook's arrival, and can be translated to mean "normal"
people. The attitude and names the Maori had for the natural features of the land was also interesting, especially when compared to the
reactions of the Europeans, as highlighted by their name for the naturally circular hole in a rock outcrop that had fascinated Cook and
his crew. I was also amused by the Maori's misunderstanding of the reason for the lack of women and children on the Endeavour, and
the resulting assumption that the explorers were homosexual. I was surprised to learn that Cook's surveys of the islands were accurate
enough that they were used up until 1994.
While in New Zealand I am looking forward to seeing how the Maori and European cultures have combined; after reading this chapter I
will be sure to keep an eye out for differences or conflicts of ideas between the two groups of people. I am also curious to see and taste
the foods eaten in New Zealand.
I will probably find myself taking pictures of almost everything we see, but if I could only chose one subject to take photos of I think it
would be the native birds. I hope to learn as much as possible about the biology and geology of the country, and also look forward to
seeing the southern night sky.
Part I: I think the most interesting part of the chapter was the interactions between Cook and the Maori citizens of New Zealand. Clearly Cook wanted to show his superiority to the members of the island, and he did that by using his gun. I thought it was very interesting how the Maori people referred to Cook's guns as their "walking stick." It must have been so confusing never seeing a gun before and then see a man shot dead. It was understandable that the Maori believed that Cook and his men practiced black magic because at this point it would have been the clearly logical response.
I think I was most surprised by Cook's reactions to the Maori people when he arrived. I could understand being intimidated, but overall the Maori seemed calm enough to not attack the visitors, but during his first arrival he immediately shot a person. I know Cook wanted to show that his weapons were more powerful than the Maori's but I still think it was uncalled for. Things were much different back then. I also thought the statue of Cook that was very unrealistic was interesting. The fact that it had been vandalized showed that there was still some bad blood towards Cook.
Overall I think the fact that the Maori culture was not completely overshadowed once the English arrived is very important. The Maori culture is still a very powerful one in New Zealand, but if you compare it to something like the United States, a lot of the original culture of the first settlers is lost.
Part 2: I think on my personal journey to New Zealand, I'd like to be very open to the cultural differences. I think it will be quite an experience to live among people who live differently than I do. I'm excited to take notice to the differences between the cultures and learn from it. Things there will be very different and I am ready for that. Change is always good.
I'm interested in learning about the Maori culture and history. I think understanding this would help me understand their culture and their way of life. I am interested in the classes we are taking in New Zealand, but I think learning about the culture of New Zealand will make a huge difference in my trip. Knowing that I'll be learning everything outside of a classroom is what excites me most about this journey.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Horwitz's chapter in Blue Latitudes about Cook's arrival in New Zealand was
really interesting to read. In all of my social studies and history classes
throughout my life, I have learned about many explorers and their conquests
around the world. I learned about Cook and his discoveries many times, but I
never learned about his discovery of New Zealand in as much detail as this
chapter provided. I found it so interesting because Cook encountered a land so
far away from his homeland, with different people, plants, animals, and food
which is similar to what we will be experiencing in our trip to New Zealand. The
differences in culture between the Maori and the European explorers, which was
at that time as different as the two cultures would ever be, was fascinating
because one can only imagine how hard it was for both groups of people to
understand and attempt to communicate with the other.
I found it particularly interesting when Horwitz described Cook's adventures
into this new land and then brought the reader back to the present and related
his own adventures while visiting New Zealand. By switching between the past
and the present and tying them together through statues, locations and his tour
guides, it really allowed me to get an idea of how European exploration has
affected this part of the world. It seems as though the Europeans brought
violence, weapons and disease to New Zealand, while the Europeans think they
"saved" the Maori by bringing them medicine, modern conveniences and
religion. The statues of Cook that stand in New Zealand don't seem to be
appreciated by Maori people who make a point to state that Polynesian sailors
were the first to discover New Zealand, not Cook and his men.
The part of the chapter when Horwitz spent time with Anne, the Maori tour
guide, was the most interesting for me. I think it was really cool to read about
how the Maori interact with each other today. I think the hongi, or the Maori
nose-pressing greeting, was fascinating. I can't imagine Americans greeting
each other in such an intimate way. The women in the tribal office were very
outspoken in their dislike of Cook and the changes European arrival brought to
the country. The Maori are described as strong, brave people who are so proud
of their culture and their country. It is sad to read about how much they dislike
the European explorer and how they feel as though the story of Cook's arrival
has been sugarcoated to make him seem like a hero. Even the Mongrel Mob
tattooed their faces and bodies and sailed in traditional canoes to channel their
ancestors and honor their history. Bill, a member of the Mob, stated that every
country has its traditions and that theirs is a warrior tradition which I thought
was interesting because that is exactly how I pictured them in the stories of
Cook's first encounters. Their tattooed faces and intimidating dances prove how
different they were from the Europeans who arrived there with fancy clothing,
pale faces, guns and large ships which the Maori had never seen before.
During my time in New Zealand, I hope to learn as much as possible about
the country and its history. I want to learn about the Maori people who, like the
American Indians, lost much of their land and traditions throughout the course
of time due to modern technology and European influence. I want to explore the
culture of these people and experience what it is like to live in a country on the
opposite side of the world from where I have lived my entire life. I didn't know
much about the history of New Zealand before reading this chapter by Horwitz,
but I am extremely interested in learning more about the country by actually
immersing myself in New Zealanders' way of life.
I want to see the places and scenery like the ones described in the reading.
I hope I can get a lot of great pictures to record what I have experienced and
bring it home with me at the end of our trip. I also want to do things and try to
live as much like the people do in New Zealand in order to make the most of my
experience there. Rather than stick to what I am used to, I want to try new
things such as food and leisure activities and be completely open to a different
culture. By doing so, I hope that my perception of the world will be expanded
and that I can share my stories with my friends and family at home.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
After reading Cook's adventures and explorations I found the fact that New Zealand is the world's last land to be settled and that when Cook first came upon New Zealand noone had visited the island for six centuries or more the most interesting fact in the chapter.
What I found most surprising was that there was such civil unrest in New Zealand. I was not aware that the civil rights movement did not occur until the 1970s. To quote the chapter, "…when I was a child, the attitude, even amoung Maori, was that everything from our own culture was bad and everything Pakeha was good."
I am most looking forward to having the pleasure of visiting the new and unspoiled country of New Zealand. After reading of Cook's adventures and tales of New Zealand I am most excited to travel through the island and visit many of the places detailed by Cook. Not many will have the pleasure of visiting the world's newest colonized landmass and I look forward to viewing all the wonders New Zealand has to offer.
I am also really interested in marine studies and am really excited to see so many different types of beaches and geologic structures that can only be found in New Zealand. I hope to have the privilege of discovering all the different marine organisms and beaches that New Zealand has to offer. I am looking forward to taking lots of pictures and creating a beautiful photo journal of this majestic country.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
After reading the Horwitz chapter on Captain Cook and New Zealand, it was the tensions between the Maori and the Pakeha culture that interested me most. This reading highlighted the cultural clashes and misunderstandings of the early days of Cook, and reflected the cultural tensions that have been carried into the modern culture. Before reading this chapter, I thought that the Maori and the European cultures had gotten along amicably and that there was a strong Maori presence in New Zealand, since I had often heard of the native culture of the country. I am glad that I learned more about the situation of the Maori before going into the country with my previous misconceptions influencing my interpretations for what I experience in New Zealand.
While reading the chapter, the descriptions of the cultural misunderstandings and the misinterpreted events were amusing. The idea that the Pakeha were omnivorous and that they everything they owned was edible was falsely interpreted by the Maori, and therefore they were eating the candle sticks and drinking the oil for the lamps. I find the cultural misunderstandings comical, but it was also enlightening to hear the theory that the Maori culture ate the lipid rich oils (and that they were cannibalistic) to make up for the fact that their diets lacked fats commonly obtained through eating large land mammals. I think it is fascinating how cultures, customs, and foods develop in conjunction with the geographic area and the biological needs of the people.
For me, my personal exploration objectives are to try to experience and learn as much as I can about New Zealand while I am there as I can. I feel that I am sometimes intimidated by the prospect of talking to the locals and learning firsthand about the county. After traveling before, I know that it is the personal conversations and experiences that I have remembered and that have affected my opinions and interpretations of the country. Therefore, I will tackle the unknown and try to take the initiative to go out, explore, and learn as much as I can while immersed in the country. With these sorts of experiences, the trip will hold a greater value for me than just a month "winter session." I would like to break out of my personal comfort zone with "strangers" and get to better know the country, its history, and the psyche of the people.
As far as academic exploration and discovery, I would like to come out of this study abroad with a better knowledge of how to look and explore an area and then be able to formulate an accurate analysis of and interpretation of the area with a certain degree of certainty and confidence. In addition, I hope to be able to apply concepts I have previously learned in my other college courses to what I am seeing and what I am learning about while abroad. I think that this study abroad will offer a wide variety of experiences, both academic and more personal, and that this will be a great month of learning!
After reading the chapter about Cook's exploration of New Zealand, I was very surprised by the reaction of the Maori people regarding the way that history is portrayed by the Pakeha. I feel that this is a story that is not commonly told when you read about the history of New Zealand. This reading did an excellent job of conveying history from both the Maori people and the Pakeha people. It describes the struggles that each group have faced related to the portrayal of their people in history. It is interesting how it seems that most people in New Zealand have ancestry with both groups of people but they usually are more in touch with one group.
I found it most interesting that the Maori people had a craving for meat due to the lack of mammals that are native to the island, and because of this Maori people ate items such as candles and oil from the ships. Its seems very intriguing to me that the only native land mammals of New Zealand are bats and the Maori people believed they foretold death and disaster. The idea that the native people ate items high in fat because of their craving for lipids is fascinating and may relate to why they were thought to be cannibals.
I am looking forward to learning about the native flora and fauna of New Zealand. The birds of the island are especially interesting to me since they have such an array of birds. I would like to see flightless birds and the many sea birds that surround the island. Learning about the uses of native flora and fauna throughout the islands history is something that I would really like to learn about. I have made it a goal of mine to photograph all of the wildlife that I encounter on the trip.
While on this trip I would also like to learn everything possible about another culture. Since this will be my first time leaving the country, I want to indulge myself in a culture other than my own. I want to try every type of food, sport, tradition etc. that I possibly can. Being away from home will be an eye-opening experience and I want to enjoy every minute of it. I am interested in learning the language and talking to the native people about their way of life and emerging myself in a culture unlike my own.