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Touring New Zealand 2000

Touring New Zealand 2000 is closely based on a series of lighthearted emails sent to friends under the titles of "News from the Antipodes". The write up was initially done on our old HP95 (which runs for weeks on a couple of AA batteries) then copied weekly onto the Libretto, spell checked and sent out. We tried to keep it lighthearted but to also address the question of what is so special about New Zealand that make us come back year after year and led to the "Uniquely New Zealand" section of our Site.

We continue to receive comments on how to improve our site and an important suggestion has been that we should take more account of the Maori culture with the specific proposal that we should start translating some of the Maori place names to "add an additional perspective as Aotearoa does have a rich Pre-Pakeha culture and language which describes the landscape in much more appropriate ways than by the names of dead Yorkshiremen etc." This has the potential for misunderstandings if we just uses our dictionary but we will try to do so where they are readily available. For the moment I will use an oversimplification in saying that Maori refers to the descendents of the original Polynesian settlers and Pakeha refers to the more recent settlers and predominantly the European ones. There are many legends handed down, intially by word of mouth and a strong cultural background and expressive language. I will add some more background on these aspects and hope to get my drafts checked through some of my contacts to avoid errors in the understanding of a complex culture by a Pakeha. In the meantime I will welcome any inputs and comments.

The 2000 tour took us back to many places we had previously visited and wanted to explore further as well as a number of new areas. The weather was less kind than some years and we spent less time under canvas and more in cabins than previous years but it had is compensations especially in the lack of Sandflies in South island. The sailing, this year in the Bay of Islands was a highlight and the weather was ideal during that fortnight. We were also far more successful with our fishing than previously and almost lived on fish for the last few weeks. Fishing is very popular in New Zealand and over a third of the population has or does fish. I have added a number of books on sailing and fishing to the new Book List.

Peter took a lot of digital pictures this year a selection of which will appear on the site. The pictures on these pages will provide details of where they were taken if you hover over them and they can all be clicked to open a larger version in a new pop-up Window. For those who are interested we have a new video camera - a JVC GR9500 which is tiny compared to the previous video and is fully digital. It also takes still pictures as frozen 5 second shots which one can transfer via a special serial cable and software to the PC at an adequate resolution for normal use and far higher than can be used on the web. For the technically minded it uses non interlaced scan when taking still pictures (or as an option when recording) and uses most of the 625 lines available (the remainder are used to allow focusing and image stabilisation). The resulting image is approx. 768 x 576 . Whilst this is not as good as the latest digital cameras it is better than a TV picture and is a good match to a computer monitor and one does get over 600 images on a tape in a form which mixes well with normal video.

I will end this introduction to the 2000 Tour with a quote we found and like "There are no strangers in New Zealand - only friends you have yet to meet"

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