I thought that the most interesting part of the Blue Latitudes chapter was Te Horeta’s account of the arrival of the European explorers. The Maori had been so isolated on the North Island for so many years that they did not even recognize that Cook and his men were human. Because of the pale skin and giant ship, the Maori thought that the Europeans were actually from the spirit world. Later the Maori decided that the explorers were goblins because of the way that they paddled to shore backwards, as if they had eyes on the backs of their heads. Te Horeta also describes the Maori’s visit to the “home of the goblins” which was actually just Cook’s ship. It’s definitely interesting to see how the Europeans were perceived through the eyes of the Maori.
One thing that surprised me was the way that Cook interacted with the Maori that he saw. The chapter described a few situations where Cook and his men would encounter different tribes of Maori as they continued to explore the coast lines. Cook was not afraid to try and meet the Maori people in a peaceful fashion. He was willing to set his weapons aside at first and only use them when necessary, either for self defense or punishing theft. Cook was also willing to trade with the Maori. I did not expect Cook to be as patient as he was with the Maori, even when the Maori tried to intimidate Cook and his men with the haka.
On this trip to New Zealand, I am definitely looking forward to seeing how the Maori and European cultures have mixed together. We will meet both people of European descent and people of Maori descent and it will be interesting to see how they have adapted to each other. It will be great to have the opportunity to experience the unique culture of New Zealand.
I am also really excited to get to see the different land forms of New Zealand, such as the mountains, forests, and coasts. It will also be cool to check out the different wildlife that we will be studying in New Zealand. I enjoy backpacking and other outdoor activities, so I’m looking forward to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which sounds pretty fun.