I often wonder where is New Zealand on the map – because sometimes, quite often, New Zealand is not on the map – it’s disappeared completely!
It seems I’m not the only one to ask that question – in fact, recently a world map was shown to many in Britain who were asked ‘what’s missing?‘ It seems, according to this news snippet in the local newspaper (Dominion Post) that many of the Brits did not notice New Zealand had apparently sunk below the sea.
So, why is New Zealand left off maps? I wondered is it our size – and checked other island countries to see where we compare sizewise.
Japan – which is on the map – is 377 915 km.²
New Zealand – not on the map – is 268,000 km.²
And, the UK,smaller than New Zealand, at 243 610 km² is on the map
And even tiny Tasmania, the island at the bottom of Australia, weighing in at only 68,401 km² is also on the map. Seems many cartographers need to get a little perspective on their drawings.
So, let me show you where New Zealand is on this globe – a photo I took at the Canterbury Museum, in Christchurch, New Zealand: that’s us, to the right, and a little south of, Australia , which is about a four hours flight away – if you were wondering.
As you can see, New Zealand is directly above Antarctica and which is why Christchurch, New Zealand has for many years been the jumping off place, the gateway, for most polar expeditions.
The very first feathered signs of spring arriving have landed in my old home city. Along with the daffodils, the godwits have landed in Christchurch (New Zealand) – arriving from the Alaskan Arctic Tundra where they raise their young.
Christchurch (and a few other places in New Zealand) is where they escape the Alaskan winter and have a summer holiday while feeding up large, building up their weight and strength before heading north again to reproduce.
So, in a few months, this annual, epic journey by some 80-thousand Eastern Bar-tailed godwits will migrate back to their breeding grounds.
Their journey – of 11,500 kilometres – usually takes about six days! Its nonstop when they head south while heading north they have a few stopovers in Asia
Christchurch locals farewell them from our shores and when they return the bells peal out to welcome them back to their summer feeding grounds here on the Ihutai/Avon-Heathcote estuary such a short distance the centre of our city.
Yesterday my Monday morning walking group joined a public tour of New Zealand’s Government House. (Check their website to book a tour )
This was my first visit there as when public events have been on I have missed out because of number restrictions or have had other engagements on. We all enjoyed it and intend making a booking for just our group to visit the gardens in particular.
I will blog about Government House (1910) and our Governor-General’s later but for today, here are a few photos of the beautiful gardens.
It’s 124 years since our wonderful New Zealand suffragists, won us the ability to vote in our general Parliamentary elections.
Some, (usually landowners) but certainly not all, women had been able to vote in various non-Parliamentary elections. Female ratepayers, that is landowners, had voted in local body elections from 1875; two years later they could stand for school committees, then in 1893, after years of campaigning, New Zealand women, whether landowners or not, became eligible to vote in the national, NZ-wide, Parliamentary elections.
Our suffragists certainly led the way, with the USA, in the face of most states allowing voting, it granted the same right to their women in 1920 (19th amendment) then in 1928 all women in Britain were able to vote before that, from 1918, only female property owners over 30 years old had been able to vote.
Given our proud and world leading history I get upset at the lack of knowledge by a wide swathe of New Zealanders, including the media, who often use the term ‘suffragette’ to refer to our suffragists. Here is an example from last week … shame on Stuff.co.nz
Did you know the term ‘suffragettes’ was coined about 15 years after New Zealand women were voting so New Zealand women were never suffragettes?
The term was first used in a British newspaper as a derogatory word but eventually was captured by the women of the USA and UK, and should never be used in relation to Kate Shepherd and our women ancestors, including my great-grandmother Elizabeth Rowe.
One of the great things about New Zealand’s 1893 Electoral Bill was that Māori women, who had fought for and been given the vote too. It was not ‘just’ women with land, but sadly, Chinese women, in fact all Chinese, did not get the vote in New Zealand until the early 1950s!
Suffrage day (19th November) is also called White Camellia day, as women who supported enfranchisement wore a white camellia, and in Christchurch women wear the flowers and lay them at the wonderful memorial in Christchurch – where our Kate was from.
The national memorial was unveiled in 1993 – the 100-year anniversary – and at the same time a new white camellia variety was created and named ‘Kate Sheppard’. When in Christchurch, take a walk along the Avon, in the Botanic Gardens along the camellia walk and remember with gratitude the women who worked so hard to get us the vote. That same year, 1993, a women’s program, Women on Air, began on Plains FM, and although it was scheduled for one year, it was so successful it continued, for some fifteen years: many thanks to Ruth Todd and Morin Rout for all their hard work.
Last week I attended a performance of the rock musical “That Bloody Woman’ at the Wellington Opera house – the best stage performance I’ve seen in years. Kate would have been thrilled!
Esther Stephens as Kate Sheppard
the cast of that Bloody Woman
Don’t waste the courage and strength of those brave 19th century women – always vote
For more about New Zealand and the three documents, our taonga, or national treasures, the signatures that shaped our country, visit the free, permanent exhibition He Tohu at the National Library, 70 Molesworth Street, central Wellington. (open 6 days week)
The recent CubaDupa festival – based in Wellington’s funky Cuba Street – included a wonderful show of “Reynard the Fox” with Orchestra Wellington performing in Hannah’s Courtyard.
Renardis the main character in a literary cycle of many allegorical European fables. Those stories – about Reynard an anthropomorphic red fox and trickster who deceives other anthropomorphic animals for his own advantage – or tries to avoid retaliations from them.
The core of these stories – written during the Middle Ages by multiple authors – are often seen as parodies of medieval literature such as courtly love stories and satires about political and religious institutions.