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Ciaran and Ruth's Worldwide Adventures

Wellington

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 8 August 2007 | Views [448]

A Carrolls type tourist shop that we wandered into in Auckland was selling upside down maps. Arguing that there's no nautral up or down in the planet -  they repainted the globe with New Zealand occupying a spot around where we'd normally find Ireland, and Ireland all the way down where New Zealand should be. Funnily enough, 'though we'd never thought about it, upside down New Zealand looks a lot like Italy - a boot, indeed a Wellington boot. We only pass comment because today we left Auckland for the sunnier(ish) Wellington, on the south of New Zealand's north island. We're using Wellington as a base for our brief assault on the south island - to begin tomorrow.

The city itself, though, does have a few of its own treasures. One of which, the Te Papa Museum, tells the story of New Zealand from the perspective of the native and the settler. Of primary interest here is the document which tells of when the two stories converged. The Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 by representatives of Her Majesty's British Government and elders of the Maori people, serves as the foundation for the claim of the white man to this set of islands, and on the flip side, it also serves as the basis of the Maori claim to much of the land. You see, the document was written in both English and the Maori language, but both documents were imperfect translations of each other. In fact, given that the Maori version was a lot less clear on what loss of sovereignity and loss of chiefdom would mean for the natives, there is something of a feeling that the English were being a little mischievous when they took control of New Zealand for their queen. Interesting stuff, not just for historical reasons, but much like the natives of Australia, there are ongoing title claims and land disputes in this country. The whole story is told with balance and honesty in the excellent Ta Papa.

Tags: Sightseeing

 

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