Friday, January 1, 2010

Danielle Lennon
Blog Assignment

There were many interesting aspects in the Horwitz article on Cook. Some of the more interesting parts include the opinion of the Maori concerning the English men's sexuality, Cook's approach to the Maori people in the beginning, the impact and importance of trade between Cook and the Maori, and the fact that cannibalism seemed to be an intricate component of Maori culture. Because the Maori only saw men aboard the ship, many of them assumed that the English were homosexual, which I thought was interesting because many of the men had wives at home and were actually interested in the tribal women, especially the Tahitian women. When Cook first interacted with the Maori he gave them a chance to not attack him and actually even touched noses with one of them, which I thought was very dignified and interesting. Many Europeans would have just open fired as soon as tribal people started shouting, but Cook waited until provoked (usually) to injure a Maori tribesman. The trade was also very interesting. Cook said that for all of their hostility and crazy dancing, the Maori people actually turned out to be good traders. The Englishmen traded weapons and cloth for water and food. Another very interesting component of early Maori culture was the fact that cannibalism was present. The Maori warriors would eat the flesh of their enemies. Horwitz even said that some people would hang the fingers of the people they ate from their ears. This fact is gross, however it is interesting.
There were also many facts that surprised me in Horwitz' article. One is the fact that there is 45 million sheep in New Zealand! Even more surprising then that is that number is actually on the decline because 30 years ago it was actually 70 million sheep. Right now there are about 15 sheep for every person in New Zealand and that's a crazy fact. Another interesting fact was that Cook and his fellow explorers found over 400 new plant species that were unknown in the West during their first journey to New Zealand. The flora in New Zealand is so diverse and different from everywhere else in the world, and that's definitely surprising. The final fact that surprised me is that many Maori despise Cook and everything he stood for. The tour guide that Horwitz' spent time with, Anne, had friends that referred to Cook as a murderer and a "five minute man" because he only stayed in New Zealand for five minutes.

I am certainly looking forward to learning about all the new and interesting things that New Zealand has to offer. Between the diverse plants, interesting animals, and various cultures there is definitely too much to learn in just 5 short weeks! The thing that I am most interested in is learning about marine animals. I know that New Zealand has some of the most beautiful, but dangerous, marine animals in the world and I would love to learn about them. Since my favorite animals are sharks, I am partial to them, but I think any marine animal would be awesome.
Since my mother is a geologist, I am almost interested in learning about the geology of the land in New Zealand. She has visited there and brought home samples but I am dying to see them for myself. Between the volcanoes, and the beautiful beaches, and the geysers I don't think there is anything I'm NOT interested in learning in regards to that. I am most excited about going to Tongariro National Park because I have heard it is absolutely beautiful and the geysers and volcanoes will be a blast to learn about. Mostly, I am interested in exploring everything to do with the flora and fauna of New Zealand, both on land and at sea.

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