Friday, January 1, 2010

Natalie Molz
I enjoyed how the chapter wove in quotes from Cook himself and also modern experiences from the author visiting New Zealand. It allowed for me to see how the "hero" Cook was and is perceived today. It reminded me of the story of Christopher Columbus. Growing up we always learned about Columbus as a virtuous hero and only later in life did we learn of his deception and greed. I guess with every conqueror and explorer there are two sides to his or her story. I had never realized the island was so divided. To this day is seems there is some stark tension between the Pakehas and the Maori. It was odd to read how riled up some Maori get when things like cannibalism are mentioned. Although almost every islander has a mix of lineage between the Maori people and the Pakeha people, I guess the real distinction lies within the color of the people's skin and their willingness to embrace or reject the native culture.

It was interesting to see the differences within the people's cultures as well. I had never heard of the nose pressing greeting still used there today. I found it amazing that most Maori people could retrace their lineage back 15 generations. I think they are right in that most Europeans could not do that same. Anne recounted in the text that growing up, everything Maori was bad and in contrast, everything Pakeha was good. Even in games of cowboys and Indians the children used to fight over who got to be the cowboy because they 'always won'. Obviously, the people are still bitter about the way they were socialized as children. They were taught to shun their culture. It is interesting that things started to change around the same time of the American Indian Movement. The Maori also successfully mimicked the Civil Rights Movement, staging sit-ins and protests. The government caved and offered the minority more rights in its amendment of the Treaty of Waitangi. Although our countries and cultures may be very different, this made me realize how similar our histories really are.

During my trip to New Zealand I would like to really experience the Maori culture. This article made me realize that most of the Maori islanders are really passionate about their culture and their past. I want to see everything through the eyes of a Maori. I think it is sometimes hard for us to think of people like Cook as a bad person as we tend to take it a little personal. But I want to try to walk into this experience open minded and get a grasp of what it means to live in New Zealand and have a history there as well. I want to try and talk to as many people as possible, not just tour guides but gang members as well. I would like to visit all the places discussed in the chapter and also see the new and old Cook statues. It would be neat to see if Anne got her wish in the institution of the crook Cook in the museum with the plaque reading 'not Captain Cook'.

I would also like to try and at least familiarize myself with the slang of the people. It makes the island unique in that while it is English speaking, they also have a slang that is unintelligible to most English speakers. While it may be rather easy to start to recognize and recall the meanings of slang words, I can bet that the reading and pronouncing of certain words including street signs will be very difficult. I want to become able to recognize different plants of the thousand or so that Cook found native to the island and see the hills full of sheep. Hopefully this trip will broaden my horizons and make appreciate the culture of New Zealand. I doubt that after spending more than a month there I will be able to come back less educated and enlightened about a people, culture, and land halfway across the world.

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