Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A History Lesson #1

Hi again all! 

I must confess that we’ve all been pretty bad at updating our blog recently for many different reasons – one of us is on a short holiday, I am suffering from a cold, and the rest of us are stuck back into our daily routines for the year, which leaves little time for writing. And collaborating also takes a lot of time and effort! Not that we mind! 

So to fill in the gaps, I thought that perhaps I (Violet) could give you occasional tours on what I am learning throughout the year. An ex-homeschooler, I am now in a secular environment, which poses many problems of its own. Particularly taking the subjects that I do (all social sciences – history, geography, classical studies, social studies - as well as English!), I sometimes find it very difficult to weigh up what I am being taught with what I believe, and with what the Bible says. So whoever you are, your prayers would be much appreciated! Smile And of course comments are welcome and greatly appreciated, particularly if you have any advice for me. Thanks!

And just to warn you in advance – I am a novice at this, and so am likely to get my facts a little muddled up at times, as after all, I am only reporting on what I am learning as I am learning it! What I am trying to say is, if you are a fellow history student, please, please, please do not read this as you would an encyclopaedia or some other academic source. Rather, I hope this will encourage you to look further and investigate more on what I am writing about, as it really is fascinating (at least, I think it is)! I am, of course, aware that some of you would find this mind-numbingly boring – I will attempt to make it as interesting as I can, but history is honestly not for everyone! Feel free to skip these blog posts and look at other things which are of more interest to you (I see that Daisy posted a delicious-looking pizza recipe recently . . . )

This year in history we’ve been looking at New Zealand history in the 19th century (1800 to 1900), so for all of those people outside of New Zealand who look at our blog, you may learn some really interesting new things! Enjoy . . .

First encounter (with Tasman) between Maori and Europeans
I guess I’d better start at the beginning of the topic, although I am proud of the fact that we have now finally graduated from chapter 1 in our text book and are now into chapter 2! But to be fair on those of you who have not been learning with me, I will get you to cast your mind way back now, into 1642 AD, when Abel Tasman was making a long sea voyage. In December of that year, they spied land, and cast anchor in a region now known as Golden Bay (New Zealanders will hopefully know where it is, if you don’t, click here).

Captain James Cook
However, Abel Tasman was not the first human to see New Zealand. In fact, some descendants of East Polynesians, who were later to call themselves collectively as “Maori” had already been residing there since around 750-1200 AD. They had quickly adjusted to the dramatic changes New Zealand’s different environment provided (for example, in New Zealand were huge birds known as moa, utterly unknown elsewhere around the world – now extinct for those who may be wondering!), and had developed their own form of social hierarchy and organisation. The immediate problem for Tasman and his crew at this point though, was language barriers! Neither side understood the other, and so this initial encounter ended in some bloodshed and death, enough to scare Europeans away from the country for a further 127 years.

The next European to come to New Zealand was Captain James Cook. I don’t have time to go into much about him now, but he had a Tahitian aboard called Tupaia who was able to do basic translating between Maori and Europeans. There were still some small skirmishes, but this and Captain Cook’s intelligent decision to not stay too long in one area meant that they avoided any major confrontations. The thing I find most amazing about Captain Cook was his ability to draw stunningly accurate maps despite limited technology (obviously they didn’t have satellites back then!). I read or heard somewhere that one map he drew of New Zealand was so accurate that they continued to use it in school textbooks over a century later. I don’t know whether that is true or not, but this map he drew certainly makes me believe that it is likely (click here to see it).

That’s all I have time for now, I’m afraid! Sad smile I look forward to hearing your thoughts on any of this, and if I am inaccurate with anything, please let me know!


Sorry that this wasn’t a very informative post on the history side of things, I just did the typical Violet thing, which was to ramble on and on and therefore run out of time! Hope you enjoyed the little I did share and I look forward to writing more soon!

The sources I used were:
  • The notes my teacher gave me (thank you)!
  • Pictures are from wikipedia (just click on them to follow the links!)
  • Olssen, Erik, Stenson, Marsia,  A Century of Change, Auckland, Longman Paul Ltd, second edition, 1989 (pages 1,2)


Indy said...

Thank you for this interesting lesson :-)

Violet said...

Not a problem Indy, glad you found it interesting!

Wild Horse said...

Thanks for that! I can't wait to

Violet said...

Thank you Wild Horse! NZ history is very interesting isn't it? By the way, for anyone who is interested, I just found this neat video on youtube!