New Zealand: ‘Hokey Pokey’ in ‘The Land of the Long White Cloud’*

January 28, 2018

‘Rubbish’ found under the Kemp House floorboards when renovations were done in 2000


Day One: The Bay of Islands (aka Russell)

When the Mãori first sighted these islands in the 1250’s-1300’s, they called it ‘the land of the long white clouds.’ A Mãori elder we met would not say exactly where the original native discoverers came from — some say from Taiwan, but his mother taught him that they came in their longboat canoes from South America. Why? Because sweet potatoes and corn found here are native South American plants. By the way: it’s pronounced to rhyme with ‘how-ree.‘

The Hokey Pokey will show up later.

Everyone loves New Zealand and it’s easy to see why. Anglophiles might outnumber other admirers, since it resembles the lush green sheepy hills of England. Polynesia was (for the most part) lush and green, but wild. What we’ve seen so far here is woody copses and green nibbled fields filled with cattle, horses and sheep.

Russell at the top of North Island was our first stop. I never made it into the town proper, just the surrounding countryside, where we visited the oldest European house in NZ and a couple of waterfalls, in the prosperous town of KeriKeri.

Kemp House was built of wood by English missionaries, come to convert the local Mãori. The oldest extant European-built building in the country, it was constructed by ‘Mãori sawyers and missionary carpenters’ in 1820-21.

Remnants of old wallpaper.

The dining room. Note the ‘willow ware’ platter, possibly Canton ware.

Besides the organ, there was also a pianoforte in the room.

​The house was surrounded by English style gardens — the oldest of their kind in the country. The Georgian-style stone store was right next door.

Both overlook a small river. Idyllic spot. 

Inside the store.

Afterwards, we were driven to two waterfalls... the aptly named ‘Rainbow Falls,’ then Haruru Falls. 

Home Sweet Home. Note the parasailor.

After 6+ weeks in Cuba, Jamaica, Central America and French Polynesia, there is one word for this leg of the trip: Civilized.




















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