What I found most interesting and surprising about Chapter 4 of Blue Latitudes is how much Cook is disliked by a majority of New Zealanders today. I understand why the Maori can hold a grudge towards the man responsible for putting an end to their way of life and forever changing their country, but for so many people, with English and Maori backgrounds, to detest Cook was very shocking to me. I could not help but to think how strange it would be in our country if Americans today had animosity towards Columbus or the Pilgrims or other early explorers and conquerors of the United States. I also could not believe that this disgust for Cook has lead to there being no record of Cook's appearance. It's comical that two statues have been created of New Zealand's discoverer and yet it is a mystery if it actually looks like him.
In addition, it was intriguing to me that some of the Maori had indeed been cannibals. It was very disturbing to learn that New Zealand's natives would actually eat their enemies, and to find out that cannibalism existed up until the 1700's when Cook arrived. It is hard to imagine that the friendly people of New Zealand could have once originated from cannibals.
Going to New Zealand is going to be the opportunity of a lifetime. As I have grown up at the beach in New Jersey I am very interested in observing the coasts of New Zealand. I cannot wait to see what the waves are like, what lives on the shore and in the coastal waters, the different types of sand, and to actually see the ocean with my own eyes. I have also always enjoyed the outdoors and am looking forward to all the excursions we will be going on. I haven't hiked in a long time, but am excited that we will be climbing volcanoes and mountains and be able to see amazing views of the country's beautiful landscape.
On this trip, I am also looking forward to not only meeting new fellow UD students, but also to meeting New Zealanders. I have never been in another country long enough before to meet the locals, am pleased to get the opportunity to do so in a country where I have heard only good things about the people who live there. I think this trip is going to be a blast and feel very lucky that I am getting the chance to go to New Zealand and see and study all the remarkable aspects this country has to offer.