Archive for September, 2012

It’s that time again, for another installment of Trivia New Zealand! I will be breaking the topic of history into a few posts because there is quite a bit of information. regarding my Visa, my application arrived at the New Zealand Embassy this morning and I will hopefully hear back from them late next week.

So, here are some historical points about the youngest country on earth:

  1. The indigenous people of New Zealand are called the Māori people and are of Polynesian decent. Today they make up about 15% of the total population of 4 million.
  2. Recent work in archaeology, language studies, and anthropology has broadened understanding of Māori settlement by canoe, pointing to a history of about 700 years beginning in 1300 where peoples arrived from the Cook Islands. However,  some believe New Zealand was settled around 800 AD.
  3. Māori cultural creation myths are similar to those of Egyptians where there is separation of two parent beings known as the earth and the sky in order for there to be room for light. In Genesis 1:6-8 the Bible discusses a separation of the waters with a space in between. Māori myth discusses how woman is shaped from elements of the earth. This is also similar to the Biblical account where instead man is formed from the earth and woman is formed from Adam’s rib. Personally I believe the reason why many creation myths have parallels to the Bible is because of the truth and originality found in the Biblical passages.
  4. A legend of origin says that Maui was fishing in his canoe which became the South Island where his anchor stone was the small island at the bottom of the country. He threw his grandmothers jawbone into the sea as a hook and pulled out a giant fish which remains as the North Island.
  5. In many Māori traditions Kupe was the first Polynesian to discover New Zealand. He chased a great octopus across the ocean in his canoe, and finally killed it at Cook straight between the two islands. He then went on to explore the islands.
  6. There was speculation that a terra australis incognita (unknown southern land) existed, but European settlers in the Pacific remained well north of New Zealand before the mid 1600’s
  7. In 1642, Abel Tasman sighted New Zealand on a Dutch business voyage to find a southern route to Chile. He left after several of his crew were killed by the Māori. Plans were made to return again in 1643 but the Dutch never followed up on those plans.
  8. The British Captain Cook sighted New Zealand in 1769 and was first to map the entire coastline and to debunk the theory of an undiscovered great continent in the South seas.
  9. These and other explorers all met with violence in New Zealand. This convinced many Europeans that New Zealand was a dangerous place. From the 1790s onward though, sealing and whaling gangs forged practical commercial interactions with the Māori.

Until next time, Have a wonderful Sabbath and new week!


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So, I realize that I initially said I was going to post about once a month. However, this may change to more frequent posts, especially during my first couple of months in the country. I hope this does not make you feel overwhelmed or bored.

I’ve been thinking of ways to implement an educational aspect into my blog, as most people don’t know very much about New Zealand. Thus the ‘Trivia New Zealand’ title. Each Trivia installment will cover a different topic. Obviously, I will eventually run out of topics and the trivia will have to end, so I’d like to spread these out over a bit of time. I have several ideas for topics, but please do comment and ask for something in particular if you want! I love new ideas.

So, today’s trivia topic is: Weather! Enjoy…

  1. In New Zealand, summer is December – February
  2. Winter is June – August
  3. The average maximum temperature is 20-30 ºC/ 68-86 ºF
  4. The average minimum temperature is 10-15-ºC/ 50-60º F.
  5. Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, summer and winter temperatures in most NZ locations differ by less than 10 ºC.
  6. New Zealand weather can change unexpectedly. The locals joke about having four seasons in one day.
  7. Wellington, the country’s capital, gets more wind that the ‘windy city’ of Chicago!
  8. New Zealand experiences relatively little air pollution. This and the country’s proximity to the ozone hole over Antarctica makes UV rays very strong.
  9. New Zealand receives over 2000 hours of sunshine a year
  10. New Zealand gets more rainfall during the winter in the north, and more rainfall during the summer in the south.
  11. On Average, New Zealand receives about 24-63 inches of rain annually, with some mountainous coastal areas receiving around 400 inches per year!
  12. All this rain makes New Zealand an ideal place for farming and agriculture.
  13. Snow can appear from June – October with most falling in the mountains. Some inland areas in the south receive heavier snow as well.
  14. Snow rarely falls in the coastal areas, with the exception of the South Island’s east coast. See Dunedin on the map.
  15. New Zealand has every climate in the world. The following pictures give a taste to the diverse climates found there. Click each picture to enlarge.

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Have you ever noticed how when you’ve been in a place for a while a special aspect of that place starts to reveal itself? I am positive that you’ve experienced it, but perhaps you’ve never given it much purposeful thought.

I find it fascinating to compare the way I think about a place when I first arrive to the way I think about it after having been there for a long time. I remember  the first day of my life as an Andrews University student. My recollection of the layout of the campus from that first day is one of disorder and confusion. Compared to today, everything was in pieces, rather than an integrated whole. It took a while for my mind to create an internal map of where things were. And even when that happened, the longer I was around, the more detailed the place became. Things and places that were always there, suddenly became a new part of the map. Finding these places is almost like opening a secret passage way. It changes everything.

I can remember first hearing about the hidden peach orchard on campus. It was my third year I think. How could I have missed that!? As it turned out, there was a whole myriad of trails and paths behind Burman Hall that I had no idea about. I’ve since taken good advantage of these trails.

The same goes for Bell Hall. It was always there of course, but I had never really explored  it until my fourth year. The downstairs portion was a complete mystery to me until then, a blank expanse in the mind map. It was a place where large portions of time were spent when it was discovered, as the education department was housed there.

The same thing happened when I was at Wisconsin Academy. One of the great things about being a Senior is that familiarity with the campus and buildings that you possess. It’s a special ‘in’ to the workings of the place that grants you a back stage pass of sorts.

What I’m getting at here is that when I finally arrive in New Zealand, my mind will have to start all over on a brand new mind map. I won’t have the ‘in’ to the workings of the place until I’ve been there a while. Perceptions of the place will likely change a huge deal from those first few months to what will turn into years. Familiarity will begin to set in and brand new things will be learned where I thought I new everything. It will be then, that the place will start to feel like home. This same process happened at Wisconsin Academy, at Andrews University, and will happen again at Longburn Adventist College.

All the shortcuts around the surrounding towns and cities will even be learned, as they were in these previous places. the feeling of home will settle in and I’ll stay until that chapter of life closes and a new one begins.

You too can learn from this. Aspects of your life may not feel familiar, but given some time, they will. It’s so easy to compare the new to the old as a way of protecting yourself from the sheer shock of the new experiences. But there can be a drawback to doing this. By comparing everything to the old, rather than taking the new for what it is, your growth and integration into the new will be prolonged and stunted.

So, with each new aspect of your life be careful to keep your comparisons to a healthy minimum. Take the new as it comes and let it be what it is, rather than comparing the old and familiar. Each new experience needs a new way of handling. Your experiences from the past can help you, but shouldn’t define how things are done.

Flexibility is key, and acceptance of the unfamiliar is pivotal.

There will likely be a large number of things in New Zealand that may seem different or even the ‘wrong’ way. But I have to remember, to be flexible.

I’ll be leaving for NZ in about a month now or perhaps a few weeks. It turns out that the Visa processing time is much shorter than I thought. 🙂

In closing, I’d like to ask, what are some places that have been ‘home’ to you? Did it take a while for you to feel that way? Has comparing the old to the new ever caused trouble for you in integrating with the present?

Have a happy week! 🙂

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