Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Higgs Live!

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  • Chris Waugh,

    I'm just browsing through what Google Books has of Michael King's Penguin History of New Zealand. Unfortunately my dead tree copy is in our village 120km away, and Google Books doesn't have all the pages. I seem to remember him describing the early phase of Maori settlement as maintaining close contacts with Island Polynesia, but I can't find a specific reference - it's either on a missing page or I'm scanning badly.

    Starting on page 73 he describes a cultural shift from "unequivocally east Polynesian" to a more firmly-rooted in their own islands Maori. Page 77:

    In other words, over succeeding generations the cultural focus shifted steadily away from cultures of origin to a singular awareness of and commitment to the adopted homeland.

    Earlier, on page 30:

    At some point in the past millenium, however, possibly around the fourteenth or fifteenth century AD, the era of widespread Polynesian voyaging ceased. This may have occurred because of the change in climate that produced colder, windier weather and rougher seas, or, possibly, because of a change in cultural priorities.

    Then he has this end to "widespread Polynesian voyaging" leaving colonists in the more far flung corners of Polynesia like New Zealand and Easter Island isolated from the rest of Polynesia. He also suggests this may have brought the end of settlements on Pitcairn, Henderson, Norfolk and the Line Islands, which were apparently only viable so long as they maintained regular contact with the outside world.

    Also on page 30 he mentions evidence of Polynesian visits to Enderby in the Auckland Islands, as well as the Kermadecs.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    A lot of the hydro we need to balance wind can be built on existing sites, e.g. pumped storage on current hydro schemes.

    That's one of the great beauties of hydro, the way it can be turned on or off so rapidly for load balancing. It can even be pumped back in, when there is excess power from other sources. Tidal power goes through a 6 hourly sine wave of production, presumably, with the peak points being the half tides, which slowly shift throughout the month, so smoothing/storing potential is quite important. And wind is erratic.

    Wind farms may have a contribution to make, but they are noisy and I don’t think there’s much point destroying the beauty of our unique landscapes with them.

    There is a point, it's to make affordable renewable electricity. Their beauty is a matter of opinion. I personally like the look of them, because they speak to me of all that coal not getting burned. I don't have anything against tidal, but if it won't get off the ground because of high set up costs and the extremely damaging environment of the sea, wind is a good alternative.

    Concrete is not really an environmental hazard.

    Solar PV is a growing developing technology, but I agree with the statement that banking on what it might be able to make in the future is dangerous. It might also NOT be able to do that. Or it might take another hundred years to get to the point where it's a viable mass energy source (and who can say what will happen with other technologies at the same time?). The same reasoning regarding fuel cell cars, fusion power, etc. All exciting, all promising, and we might all die waiting.

    I'll chuck in biofuel as another technology well worth considering for NZ's energy independence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    lso on page 30 he mentions evidence of Polynesian visits to Enderby in the Auckland Islands, as well as the Kermadecs.

    drat! My copy of Michael's book (complete with his last emails, and last written card to me) is stashed over the hill-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    So you knew him? He seems to have been a pretty interesting bloke.

    I like how he starts the Penguin History of New Zealand by looking at the geological origins of our islands and the development of the flora and fauna before humans showed up. He seems to raise the possibility that the very earth itself is just as much a part of our nation and its history as our very late arriving peoples.

    You can see most of the first 101 pages here, with little notes in the bottom left of each page proclaiming it to be copyrighted material. Not enough, I know, but no amount of fancy technology is ever going to be good enough to replace the good, old fashioned book. My Mum sent me a copy (I'm almost totally reliant on her for my ANZ literature) in, from memory, 2004, and a copy of Being Pakeha Now - another fascinating book, pity about the crap binding that fell apart the first time I read it. I'm hard on books, I know, but no other book I have ever owned has broken that quickly.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Kia ora Chris!
    Have spent nearly the last hour & a half scrabbling around my book piles (in preparation - haphazard, unorganised- for moving from here, I've been -errrm- rearranging things....) and Yeeessss! I do have the 1st ed. copy of Michael's book! The one I bought!

    Yes, I knew, admired & respected him. He was v. supportive of "tbp" when it was initially published, and because we ultimately shared a publisher (Hodder & Stoughton) I got to know him as a colleague. It was a bleak bleak day when I learned of his, & Maria's, deaths...*

    In one of his last messages to me, just after Irihapeti had died, is the heartrending line- "I couldnt go to Te Wheke because I wasnt a husband - the other 2 could even though they werent anymore."

    Michael was a highly civilised man, who was an excellent scholar, and advanced
    appreciation of te taha Maori through his research & friendships with knowledgable & eminent Maori & Moriori. I loved him (tho' - not quite in the way that Iri did!)

    OK, quote coming-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    “The Penguin History of New Zealand” Michael King, p.36 (1st edition:)

    “At some point in the past millenium. however, possibly around the 14th or 15th century, the era of widespread Polynesian votaging ceased. This may have occurred because of the change in climate that produced colder, windier weather and rougher seas, or, possibly, because of a change in cultural priorities.”

    I certainly know that, in the South, we’d experimented as much as we were able with growing kumara (the border is supposed to have been Banks Peninsula but I have pretty reliable info it was grown as far south as Temuka) and – importantly- the trade trails had been established. You haz kumara? We haz pounemu!
    And – not unimportant – we had learned how to harvest brackenroot…

    We had, in short, become Maori (rather than dislocated Eastern Polynesians…)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    *deaths

    I first learned that they had died in a carcrash, on this site.

    I went out to the beach & built a fire, and sat by it, mourning, for hours-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Islander,

    *deaths

    I first learned that they had died in a carcrash, on this site.

    Just when NZ needed his wisdom the most, too.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    O, you are not wrong Deep Red-
    got a wee bit overcome there for a minute - what I should have added was, Michael King was a scholar, and the voice of temperance. He relished and enjoyed his Pakehadom while making sure what he had learned from very estimable Maori & Moriori people was made available to the rest of ANZ. Judith Binney is his only equivalent-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Islander,

    for moving from here

    That's rather sad. Leaving an old home is a death in a way too.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Kracklite,

    Yep.
    I've been here for 40 years. I know this place very exactly, very intimately.I love my self-built home BUT - I am no longer physically able to do the necessary upkeep of my place (o thank you, osteoarthritis) and dont have sufficient funds to pay for that upkeep - so-
    a)win Lotto
    (nope, hasnt happened yet)
    b)sell here
    (has been on the market since I went public in my tribe's magazine: am not surprised there hasnt been a rush of offers!)
    c)work on getting over the hill where I have my mother & other much-loved/esteemed family
    (doing that-)

    -cheers n/n Keri

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Islander,

    *deaths

    I first learned that they had died in a carcrash, on this site.

    You know, I didn't know him at all, except through his work. But I cried when I heard the news, and went out in the garden and planted a tree. His death was a loss for NZ.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Well "(c)" sounds good - best wishes!

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I personally like the look of them, because they speak to me of all that coal not getting burned

    What he said.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to BenWilson,

    Concrete is not really an environmental hazard.

    It makes restoring the landscape unlikely in the future. We're stuck with it.

    Solar PV is a growing developing technology, but I agree with the statement that banking on what it might be able to make in the future is dangerous. It might also NOT be able to do that. Or it might take another hundred years to get to the point where it’s a viable mass energy source (and who can say what will happen with other technologies at the same time?). The same reasoning regarding fuel cell cars, fusion power, etc. All exciting, all promising, and we might all die waiting.

    But my point was if we don't try these things, then they will definitely never happen. I don't see research as an alternative to short- and medium-term planning with the technology we already have. Of course we can't know the future, but we have to strive to make things better, don't we?

    I’ll chuck in biofuel as another technology well worth considering for NZ’s energy independence.

    Yes, agreed.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Islander,

    I was working at the Turnbull Library when he was researching his Te Puea book in the late 1970s. He seemed to be a very generous person always ready to help others with their research or prepared to engage on aspects of NZ history.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3214 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lilith __,

    You know, I didn’t know him at all, except through his work. But I cried when I heard the news, and went out in the garden and planted a tree. His death was a loss for NZ.

    There’s a kowhai & a lacebark I planted here, still happily growing… may all those kind of trees continue, a benefice for the future...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Hilary - he'd help *anyone* -and that was why, I suspect, Maori (including some of Te Puea's immediate family) were so willing to help him (and defend against the misguided attacks by such as Witi Ihimaera.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Islander,

    There’s a kowhai & a lacebark I planted here, still happily growing…

    Mine was a wineberry. The birds loved it even when it was small, and now it’s huge. I don’t live in that house anymore, but I left it with a lot more ecosystem than it had. It started with just roses, now there are tall native trees and also shrubs and grasses. And I can still walk past the fence and giggle about the current owner’s attempts to kill the cabbage trees. Futile. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3891 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lilith __,

    And I can still walk past the fence and giggle about the current owner’s attempts to kill the cabbage trees. Futile. :-)

    With any luck at all, the cabbage trees shall be wifflling their lovely long leaves over the benighted idiots' bones!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lilith __,

    It makes restoring the landscape unlikely in the future. We're stuck with it.

    Sure. It seems like a pretty small cost to me. Odds are, not only will it not be restored, but the windmills would continue being used, or at least the sites, having been chosen for their windyness.

    But my point was if we don't try these things, then they will definitely never happen. I don't see research as an alternative to short- and medium-term planning with the technology we already have. Of course we can't know the future, but we have to strive to make things better, don't we?

    Is anyone suggesting that PV research and development should stop? The point of putting in the tried and true renewable stuff is that we can benefit from it right now. That doesn't preclude us being able to use even better things in the future. If they come.

    There's really big money in improving PV, so I'm not really concerned that it's being held back. But it's just not that good, for how much it costs, at the moment, when it comes to making a lot of electricity. It's fantastic for some purposes, mostly remote, low powered devices.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Islander,

    Brian Easton, in a Listener column from 7 Nov 2009 (vol 221 no 3626), p. 54, cites Bruce McFadgen’s book Hostile Shores in arguing that —

    About 500 years ago the North Island and north of the South Island were hit by one or more great tsunami. […] Given the widespread impact and that most Maori lived on coasts, a third of the population may have perished […]. […T]he tsunami triggered a significant change in the way Maori lived. The kainga they rebuilt were set further back from the sea. Single-hulled canoes replaced double-hulled ones. The quality of stone adzes declined, and fishing gear, ornaments and other artefacts were simplified. The whakapapa of some tribes go back to the 15th century but no further, possibly because many of the knowledgeable were lost […]

    Presumably this was one important factor in the isolation of Māori from other Polynesian cultures?

    (Also, though not stated in the column in question, it should be made explicit that the simplification of design was temporary, and later design developed in new directions not found together in any other Polynesian culture.)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock, in reply to linger,

    Single-hulled canoes replaced double-hulled ones.

    That, at least, can't be ascribed to a tsunami that happened 500 years ago. When Tasman sailed into Golden Bay in 1642 the Māori he encountered used double-hulled waka. When Cook arrived he noted that the double-hulled waka had disappeared and been forgotten about in the intervening 120 years. It seems to me that its more likely that the establishment of inter-island trading routes that Islander describes is responsible. My guess is that the double-hulled waka were more suitable to sea-faring, whereas the single-hulled ones were more useful for coasting and warfare.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Actually, I just looked through my notes and can't find the Tasman account that would be evidence of that. Perhaps I'm perpetuating a myth.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris, in reply to Jake Pollock,

    Actually, I just looked through my notes and can’t find the Tasman account

    This sketch of a double-hulled waka was made by Abel Tasman in his journal while at Tongatapu in 1643.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

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