Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chapter Response

Alison Gutsche

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.

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