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Further Afield's Journal

The Islands of Hawaii

Entry By: 
Joe F.

The Hawaiian Islands, situated in the central Pacific Ocean, roughly 3,000 kilometres from San Francisco and 8,480 kilometres from Manila, in the Philippines. These islands are the result of volcanic eruptions that happened millions of years ago. 

The result is the formation of hills, mountains or islands as in the case of Hawaii, depending on the pressure of the eruption. These islands were first inhabited in the 900s by the Polynesians, these were settlers coming from another remote group of islands in the South Pacific. These are Tahiti and the islands of French Polynesia. The islands existed in splendid isolation for over 500 years. The men were wonderful shipbuilders, navigators and sailors who followed the stars at night, ocean currents and sea birds in daylight, setting out to explore the oceans. The women on the other hand were highly respected and played a significant role in society as healers, priests, and political advisers to the chiefs of the islands. Men and women ate separately and often had no communication for days because of different problems that had to be dealt with. Hawaii is located close to the Tropic of Cancer. There are about 130 islands in total. For generations these people continued to move with their extended families. 

Carrying with them pigs, chickens, some livestock and a wide variety of plants, fruit trees, seeds and vegetables. In preparation for wherever they might reach land. Arriving on the Hawaiian Islands the climate was excellent for growing bananas, coconuts, pineapples, apples, potatoes, and a plethora of trees. The animals and birds thrived on the fertile soil. Culture and traditions of the Polynesian islands were upheld for generations but eventually adventurers started to move in. 

The island of Oahu, or the ‘Gathering Place’ so called because of the diverse people that populated this island from east and west, their cultures and traditions are a joy to observe and discover when you visit. Oahu has become a destination wedding venue. Having the license arranged, ministers or civil administrators booked, one can tie the knot on a beach with a romantic hut on a carpet of white sand, or why not balance yourself on a surfboard while exchanging vows with the celebrant asking you to repeat after me. 

Honolulu is the state capital, the closest city to Pearl Harbour, there’s a fantastic visitors centre here commemorating that fateful day in December 1941 when its Naval Base was targeted by the Japanese. The stories of this surprise attack are superbly illustrated and documented. Plaques and memorials with the names of personnel who lost their lives. This attack marks the date when the USA declared war on Japan bringing America into WWII. 

Hilo, the island that has 140 inches of rain annually. Hiking through 240 kilometres of rainforest with waterfalls cascading down, two active volcanoes, experience tracking on volcanic craters as you go through the Volcanoes National Park. In 2018 Kilauea last erupted, it is the world’s most studied volcano. Insects are plentiful because of the climate, and as an addition to this a variety of birds are plentiful because of the insects. 

Maui, this is without fear of contradiction, the best of the Hawaiian Islands to visit. A crystal clear ocean, beaches with black and white sands, that are a result of volcanic activity. The variety of marine species is delightful, when one is snorkeling the colours are a world of beauty. The cuisine that’s on offer is a gift for the palate.

Kauai, ‘The Garden Isle’, another of the islands that owes its variety of plants, trees and flowers to the rainfalls, most of the island can be described as a rainforest. The dramatic cliffs and mountains are a canvas for Hollywood filmmakers, names like South Pacific, Pirates of the Caribbean, Blue Hawaii, and Jurassic Park, just to mention a few.

The islands of Hawaii were all independent until in 1795, Kamehameha I conquered and unified the entire islands.

Captain James Cook, an English surveyor had led many expeditions to the South Pacific. Having been to Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti, he arrived on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii in January 1778, with two ships, the H.M.S. Resolution and Discovery. He was the first European to have been there. The islanders were fascinated by the iron ships and treated these visitors as some Gods that had arrived among them. Celebrations went on for weeks. Trading was done, with iron and metals being introduced for use as tools, there were goats, pigs and different species of seeds swapped, the natives had plenty of fish and fruit. The Hawaiians would have new items for themselves and in time to come, to trade with future visitors. Captain Cook and his ships sailed away but a tremendous storm did severe damage to the mast of his ship and he had to return to the island. This was a reality shock for the natives, after all the sailors had been treated as Gods yet the elements were able to subdue these deities. As the ships sailed towards the islands trouble began between both parties almost immediately. Captain Cook was armed with a pistol and tried to calm the situation by firing a shot, unfortunately this only increased the tension. The natives overpowered the captain and some of the crew. Captain Cook was killed in 1779 along with a good number of his crew. The ships did make it back to England some months later. Studies have shown that the population of the entire islands would have been half a million people back then. The census of 2019 showed the number is approximately 1.4 million.

The Pioneer Company of American Protestant Missionaries arrived in 1820, the first of such orders to arrive. Examples of Christianity had found their way here since the arrival of various explorers namely James Cook, but now there was a community arriving and intending to stay.

Cattle had been introduced in 1793 by a Californian farmer, the slaughter of livestock was not approved of and so nothing was done with this herd. The Parker Ranch was started in 1809, this guy was a sailor from Massachusetts who, when he arrived, met and married a beautiful Hawaiian princess. They began domesticating cattle and wild horses, the dairy and beef farming became a thriving business, horses were used to cultivate the arable lands and crops were grown. Farm labourers came to Hawaii from Japan, China, and the Philippines. When the Gold Rush began in California in 1849 agricultural products from Hawaii were in high demand, some of the workforce also left in the hope of striking it rich. 

The coffee growing that began in 1813 led to the island of Kona becoming the finest coffee producer in the world. Farmers came to Hawaii and got involved in growing sugar cane, mango-trees, and most importantly of all, pineapples. This fruit was an astronomical success, machines to harvest the crops were purchased and in 1911, Hawaii was producing 80% of the world’s total consumption of pineapples. Due to the growth in production worldwide and competition costs with labour disputes and strikes over wages, the pineapple industry had come to an end by 2006 when the then owners ‘Del Monte’ closed their factories. Some pineapples are still grown locally for the home market. Rice, Macadamia nuts and other fruits are still produced.

The Robinson family purchased the island of Niihau, (no nothing to do with the family featured in the novel of 1812 by Johann Wyss: ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’, this family having been shipwrecked on an island of the coast of Australia had to adapt to island life), that island was New Guinea. The Forbidden Island is strictly private and off limits, it’s used for the preservation of traditional culture and language, the plantation of woodland and taking care of animals that may be in danger of extinction. Some invited guests, geologists and the US Navy Personnel have the right to dock and check on any unwelcome visitors that may have dropped in.

In 1959, Alaska became the 49 State of the USA. This territory had been purchased from Russia in 1867 marking the end of Russia’s efforts of expansion to the Pacific coast of North America. Some months later Hawaii became the 50 state of the US. Hence the term Hawaii 50. The US had annexed Hawaii in 1898 and it was adapted as a territory in 1900. 

The tourism industry is today the largest employer. Accounting for over 20% of the country’s workforce, the service sector, transportation within the country, not to mention airlines and airports staff. The support industries such as the agricultural sector, the construction sector to provide accommodation for visitors, the financial and insurance providers. In 2022 almost 10 million people visited the islands with a total spend of $20 Billion. 

In 2009, Barack Obama, who was born in Honolulu, became the 44th president of the USA. He has the distinction of being the first president of colour in the USA. 





The Story of Eyam, Derbyshire Dales

Eyam, Derbyshire, UK
Entry By: 
Joe F

The story of Eyam, once an insignificant village in the peak district of the Derbyshire Dales


William Wood, an historian from Derbyshire, England compiled these words. “Let all who tread the green fields of Eyam remember with a feeling of awe and veneration, that beneath their feet repose the ashes of those mortal heroes, who with a sublime heroic and unparalleled resolution gave up their lives, yea doomed themselves to pestilential death to save the surrounding country. Their self sacrifice is unequalled in the annals of the world”.

As the Covid-19 or Coronavirus virus grinds to a halt, and the world gets back to a semblance of normality, analytical studies and reports have appeared on television, radio, newspaper and books. Studies show that wars throughout the world have caused so many deaths, yet comparisons in WWI and WWII show a major decline in lives lost between one and the other. The biggest cause for loss of life in the world is ‘Septicaemia’, war wounds can kill of course but injuries can get infected because of conditions that people are placed in causing Sepsis or blood poisoning to set in. Between the two World Wars, the wonder drug Penicillin was discovered and as a result numerous medical advances have been made. The Spanish Flu after WWI 1919 - 1922 caused millions of deaths. Smallpox has probably been the worst cause of death worldwide. Examinations on Egyptian mummies have found that smallpox existed 3,000 years ago. However, written evidence in the 16th century shows that smallpox had a significant impact on indigenous populations throughout the world. Explorers and missionaries going to regions such as North and South America, Australia, Africa, the Caribbean and other destinations, carried this virus with them. Figures show that in the 1950s, 50 million cases occurred each year worldwide, and as recently as 1967, the World Health Organization estimated that 15 million people contracted the disease. Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, the latest infectious disease to be declared eradicated was Rinderpest in 2011. Since the 1980s HIV/AIDS is a common disease worldwide, it was first verified from a blood sample taken from a man in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1959.

Going back to the 1660s, this was a most historic time in England. Oliver Cromwell had led a revolution in 1642 that caused a Civil War with the execution of King Charles I and the abolition of the monarchy, in 1649. The heir to the throne was Charles’s son who fled to France with his mother, his younger brother James and an entourage of supporters of the monarchy. With the death of Cromwell in 1658 the people of England had grown increasingly weary of the new regime and so the monarchy was restored in 1660. The new King Charles II was going to have his revenge on the men who signed the death warrant for the execution of his father. Oliver Cromwell who was the first to sign the warrant, had his body exhumed and charged with the murder of his father. A group of bounty hunters were appointed to track down the Regicides (the action of killing a King). Read the book, The Act of Oblivion, by Robert Harris, it’s a book dealing with the story of Regicides. 

In 1665 a Plague hit Europe and with the amount of merchant ships sailing into London, England, it very soon reached there. The bubonic Plague was caused by the black rat fleas that carried the bacteria. Hygiene was not a priority especially in large cities, fleas were very common back then. A bite from one of these led to serious infections that were fatal and contagious. This was the worst outbreak of plague since 1348. Deaths were poorly recorded but it is undeniably believed that over 100,000 people died in the city of London. King Charles II along with the Parliamentarians and upstanding people in the communities left London for their homes and villas in the countryside. 

Eyam, an insignificant village in the peak district of the Derbyshire Dales, had a bale of fabric delivered from London to Alexander Hatfield the local tailor. His assistant George Viccars noticed that the cloth was damp, drying it by the fireplace awakened the fleas that had nested there. Within a week Viccars was dead. William Hatfield and his whole family suffered the same fate. From the swelling on parts of the body, headaches and violent sickness that people suffered the two local vicars William Mompesson and Thomas Stanley recognized the problem. Addressing the villagers the two men implored the crowd to quarantine the area and allow nobody to leave or enter. A cordon of stones marked the boundary, signs were erected explaining why this was happening, for anyone who was able to read. Food such as grain and meat were left on the stones, in return money was placed in hollows in the stones steeped in vinegar to prevent contamination. When money ran out the local Earl of Devonshire provided foodstuffs. The church was closed to stop mourners from attending funerals. Burials took place near the houses where people would have lived and the families had to bury their own dead. The plague ran its course for 14 months, figures differ as to how many people died, the church records in Eyam show 273 individuals died, with about 80 survivors. The fate of some of these individuals differed, for example, Elizabeth Hancock remained uninflected despite burying six children and her husband. Marshal Howe, the gravedigger also survived, despite his contact with so many infected bodies. The epidemic ended in 1666. With the efforts made in Eyam doctors realized that the use of enforced quarantine could limit or prevent the spread of disease. To this day in England it is still used in particular for the spread of foot and mouth disease, and of course during the recent pandemic. Florence Nightingale, who we’ve all heard of, pioneered the use of isolation wards to limit the spread of infectious diseases during the Crimean War in the 1850s. The Ebola epidemic in Africa was handled by the quick disposal of bodies.

In the local church at Eyam Plague Sunday has been celebrated in the village since the plague’s bicentenary in 1866. Today there are many ‘plague stones’ to be found marking the boundaries that should not be crossed. Riley graves, where a large number of people were buried, are named after the family that had ownership of that farm back then. The National Trust takes care of the upkeep of this site. Walking around the village one can see houses dating back 400 years, the church was built in the 1200s and has been renovated a number of times. There’s a beautiful museum that has the history of the village, the people, and what these people did out of the goodness of their hearts. Most schools in Derbyshire have the history of Eyam on their curriculum and on days leading up to the examinations numerous students are taken there on buses by their schools.

There were many theories and beliefs as to why the plague happened. God’s will and his wrath to have people repent for their sins, crimes and actions. With 1666 coming up there was a belief that this would be the end of the world, the Satanic ‘numbers of the beast 666’ prophesied in the book of Revelation in the Bible. 

Or as W.B Yeats wrote in his poem The Second Coming, 

‘And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, 

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born.’

To make matters worse, in 1666 the great fire of London broke out in a bakery store and burned for five days. The authorities had to commandeer a work force to pull down houses in its path, to prevent it spreading any further. The houses were built of timber with thatch roofs, so they burned like matchwood. This did have the desired effect although 100,000 people were left homeless. The fire did have some effect on the city, the congested streets were replaced with wider ones, sanitation improved and the boardwalks along the river Thames were replaced with that spacious tree lined Boulevard. After the Great Fire in London a law was passed in Parliament that all houses in the cities of England had to be built of stone.

The Peak District of Derbyshire is outstanding, the symbol of remoteness and yesteryear, yet the magnificent stone walls dividing the farmland, with hundreds of sheep and their lambs frolicking around in the springtime. The magical stone houses dating back 200 years, the main rock formations are Carboniferous coal, limestone, and sandstone, there is an abundance of quarries in the area. Visiting the local towns with stores, bars, cafes, banks, post offices and what that town feeling used to be, the sidewalks alive with adults and children, little or no illuminated signs or flashing lights.

Sheffield is the nearest city to Eyam, roughly about 20 minutes away, while Manchester is about one hour. For anyone visiting this area it has a beautiful story to share. Wonderfully safe, family friendly walks, hiking and exploring some of the old coal mines and defunct railway lines that have been developed into fantastic walkways. Planning a trip, there are local airports, train stations, public buses and car hire.







Unlock the Mysteries of the Nile

Entry By: 
Joe F.

Egypt and the Nile, you can’t have one without the other. Egypt is a border country of two continents, Africa and Asia. The Nile is the longest river in the world. The river is geographically described as the White Nile which flows from Lake Victoria in Tanzania and the Blue Nile that begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia.

The two rivers converge at Sudan’s capital Khartoum and empties into the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Alexandria. Named after the Egyptian Emperor Alexander the Great who invaded Egypt in 332 BC, there was no major battle for this takeover, as the Persians had overstayed their welcome in Egypt, with their oppressive regime. 


The descendants of Alexander ruled Egypt for the next three centuries. Queen Cleopatra VII, was the last of Alexander’s reign and the last of the pharaohs. Her status, her power and her love affairs shaped Egypt’s fate.


As the Roman Empire continued its advance into what we now recognize as Europe, Julius Caesar was looking enviously southwards at Egypt, to get a foothold in Africa. Cleopatra’s father had almost bankrupted the empire’s coffers and got a sizeable loan from Caesar. On her father’s death, she came to power, she had to raise funds for the country to survive. With a power struggle raging between her and her brother she had herself smuggled into Rome, for the sole purpose of meeting Julius Caesar. She charmed her way into his quarters, he became infatuated by her beauty, her voice and her personality. To seduce Caesar, was her main objective. Having achieved her goal the two became inseparable. He followed her to Alexandria and in time she gave birth to a son and named him Caesarean ‘small Caesar’. 


The Roman senate was perplexed, Caesar had no male heir and now an Egyptian was likely to take the throne in Rome. Brutus and his conspirators murdered Caesar on March 15th ‘The Ides of March’ as it’s referred to in William Shakespeare’s play. Mark Anthony now comes into the play with his oration at the death of Caesar “Friends Romans countrymen, lend me your ears”. Shakespeare’s words not Mark Anthony’s. Having fought with Caesar he believed he would become ruler of Rome, but he had a rival, Octavian. Julius Caesar’s nephew, Mark Anthony fled to Egypt seeking help from Cleopatra and her military might. He certainly got the help he needed. Captivated by her beauty the pair began a love affair that became the theme for many love stories, of novels and movies. Together they had three children. Octavian declared war on Egypt, in essence was a war on Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. This turned out to be the last civil war of the Roman Empire. The battle was fought at Actium, off the coast of Greece. It was a decisive victory for Octavian. Like true defeated generals in Roman times the act of throwing yourself on your sword didn’t go the way Mark Anthony had planned. Badly wounded, he returned to Cleopatra where having locked each other in an embrace she released a snake that bit them both. Death is recorded as suicide. Octavian returned to Rome victorious and declared himself Caesar Augustus the Roman Emperor.


The capital city of Egypt is Cairo. A thriving modern city, with a vibrant economy and a thoroughly diverse culture. When you look at the skyscrapers, the transportation and infrastructure it’s difficult to imagine that behind all this is the world’s oldest Islamic city. The mosques, temples, madrasas, and fountains, these and so many other attractions all carry us back to an age when Cairo was the envy of the known world. The Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Sphinx, the statue of Alabaster white stone, are outside the city of Cairo and are believed to be the most magnificent ever built. Of the seven ancient wonders of the world, only the Pyramids of Giza remain standing. There are guided tours of these beautiful Pyramids on offer every day. Cairo, clocking in at 22 million people it is the largest city in Africa and indeed the largest in the Arab world. Sampling the cuisine in Cairo is an amazing experience, the food courts are as if you were going through a Christmas market all day every day, the odours of spices, the array of ornaments, the colours of rugs, carpets, garments and the presentations, one thing is a must you have got to haggle, otherwise the traders will be disappointed with the lack of challenge in the sale. 


Cairo and the Nile. Flying south to Luxor and joining the Nile River cruise. Hearing the stories of the burial places in the Valleys of the Kings and Queens of Egypt. Reading about Egypt in school and studying about Egyptian Pharaohs I was fascinated by their powers, their daunting presence and the command they had over their people. Tutankhamun, now there’s a name, nicknamed the Boy King, was crowned Pharaoh at the age of nine years, a huge task for a boy so young. He was helped by others for a few years, Tutankhamun was responsible for a rebirth of Egypt in a cultural revolution, restoring temples and monuments. He also had relationships between nations restored. That was about it for King Tut as he’s remembered, by the age of nineteen he was dead. The Pharaohs of Egypt had a belief, that they had an afterlife and so when they were buried they prepared for this.


In 1922 a group of archaeologists from England discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun. The tomb had never been opened since the time it was built. The mummified remains of Tutankhamun were found in a solid gold coffin. Jewelry, bows and arrows, a chariot, food and clothing, in total over 5,000 pieces were discovered. Some of these artifacts are brought to museums worldwide now and then for exhibition purposes. 


Cruising on the Nile with visits to the cities of Edfu, Esna and Kom-Ombo, see the Temples, and gardens. Meet the local people, find out about their community, see the wealth that the river has brought to the region. When one gets to Aswan, one discovers why the river is venerated by the Egyptian religion. In the ancient calendar, the year began with the first month of flooding, the God Hapi was the deity of flooding and fertility. A dam was built in the early 1900s on the Nile for flood control. The Aswan Dam was built in the 1950s and what a wonderful exhibition of engineering genius this is. The river Nile is over 4,000 miles or 6,600 kilometres long, the Aswan dam is about two thirds of the distance from its source. The dam controls the water levels of the river basin, the amount of agricultural land that depends on the river is vital to the area. The dam acts as a reservoir for storing water in times of excess rainfalls, thereby reducing the risk of flooding, in times of drought the reservoir provides the capacity for irrigation systems to be used. The resulting feature of the dam is the decrease in food shortages and famine. 


The source of the river Nile has been a major topic of discussion and inquisitiveness for over a century and a half. The famous saying “Dr. Livingston, I presume” was issued by Henry Stanley upon locating Dr. David Livingston at Lake Tanganyika, in November 1871. 


David Livingston was a physician from Scotland, working in London, U.K. He was married to Mary Moffat, who was from a very prominent missionary family, in 18th century. David became involved in missionary work in Africa, while there his obsession to find the source of the Nile overwhelmed him. He had this belief that if he could solve this mystery he would achieve notoriety and people would respect his views on world affairs. David’s work was dedicated on ending the East African, Arab-Swahili slave trade. He had been sending back reports on his experiences and travels to newspapers in London that were very well received. Then for two years, nothing was heard from him, it was thought that he was dead. In 1871, Henry Stanley, an Englishman, working as a journalist and explorer in Africa had heard of a white man who was sick in a nearby village. Ironically he was being treated by Arab slave traders. Walking into the camp, Stanley with that savvy accent, didn’t just shout out “Hi David”, the term was “Dr Livingston I Presume”. Very British.


Dr Livingston named Lake Victoria after his sovereign Queen, Victoria of Great Britain. He died of malaria in Zambia in 1873. A statue was erected to remember the time he had spent there. 






Natures Spectacular Show

Entry By: 
Joe F.

The Sun, the brightest star in the galaxy, it’s over 90 million miles or 150 million kilometres from the Earth. It’s the largest object in the solar system, the energy pulsating from this star has a magnetic field that holds the universe in place. With its gravitational pull, the poles attract and repel objects yet still keeps the planets and their moon orbits stable and on course. 

The Sun has been worshipped throughout millennia, long before scientists and astronomers had found out by their studies of the stars and the universe what the significance of all of these heavenly bodies meant. Farming is one of the oldest occupations on earth and the people involved in such activity were well aware of the importance that the Sun’s effect had on their livelihoods. They recognized that everything depended on the Sun, from the growth of crops, to seasonal changes and the length of day and night. Without understanding or any explanation to what was happening, it was accepted as a fact of nature. The Sun, Air, Water, Earth and Fire, these were the main elements of the Gods in Celtic mythology. The summer Solstice, around June 20th is the longest day of the year while the winter Solstice on December 21st is the shortest day. The halfway points between each of these dates are the Equinox, equal day and night, on March 21st and September 23rd. The Earth is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees in its orbit around the Sun. This is important for the amount of heat that the Earth receives during the year at various destinations worldwide.

The amount of solar storms occurring in the spring of 2024 are more frequent than usual. The reason for this is, the Sun’s magnetic field goes through a solar cycle. Studies have discovered that every 11 years or so, the Sun flips, meaning that the north and south poles of the Sun switch places. When this occurs there are enormous amounts of magnetic and solar storms on the surface of the Sun. Shooting stars, fantastic auroras in the night skies, lightning storms that are capable of causing power outages on Earth. After another 11 years the cycle repeats itself. There are a number of eclipses each year, some are partial, others are total, the fact that we don’t know of them is because of the regions where they’re visible. On April 8th 2024 a total eclipse of the Sun will be visible in the Northeastern part of the USA and parts of Canada. It’s a major phenomenon when it happens to cities and towns that are on the path of the eclipse. What’s happening is, the Moon, that’s neither a star or a planet but described as an “astronomical body”, passes between the Sun and the Earth in a complete alignment, blocking out the light of the Sun on the surface of the Earth. Watching this movement is a procedure of nature in slow motion, as the Moon starts to consume the surface of the Sun, in a disk like shape, eliminating the light from Earth. The Moon’s progress over the Sun will take over an hour. The totality of the eclipse lasts for a number of minutes and during this period temperatures may drop by 3 to 5 degrees C. As the orbit continues the reverse happens as the Moon moves away from the path. 

In ancient Mythology, the Druids believed that the eclipses happened when the Sun was locked in a battle with the spirits of Darkness. Other theories were that Celestial beings were trying to destroy the Sun. The truth is the harmony and well-being of the Earth relies on the Sun and the Moon. We see the influence that the Sun has on the Earth, the Moon has its effect on the Ocean’s tides, the Moon’s gravitational pull causes the oceans to bulge on the side closest to the Moon, giving us high tide and causing low tide on the side opposite to the Moon.

There has been a sizeable increase in the population of the world in the last century, each of us are having an effect on the climate and the temperature of the planet, by our actions or lack of same but none of us can deny the responsibility we have in the preservation of this beautiful world. For generations coming after us, ad infinitum, let’s hope that they can have the enjoyment of experiencing the wonders of the universe.







New Zealand/Australia
Entry By: 
Joe F.

New Zealand is one of the youngest countries in terms of its human history. It was the last large and livable place in the world to be discovered. The Māori people that were first to populate these islands came from the Polynesian islands in the Pacific Ocean. 

The Māori’s or Kiwi’s as they are known, are rich in history and a mainly oral culture, and the myths and legends of this indigenous race have been what the children of the upcoming generations hear as part of their education. 

The Māori’s were seafaring people, passionate about sailing or canoeing. Back when Europeans thought they’d fall off the edge of the world, if they went too far, these people set off in their waka (canoe) exploring the ocean and seas. The ancient mariners had passed down their skills of reading the stars and judging distances and directions, Sirius is the most prominent star in the southern hemisphere, the ocean currents were what today’s highway would have been. Stories are told of sea creatures and phantom ships that guided sailors home; Seals that had taken on human form to marry a sailor that they fell in love with and then on stormy seas or winter gales when the sailors were in fear of losing their lives, their wives would return to the water to be with them, saving them or dying with them.

In sporting circles in New Zealand the world revolves around rugby, The All-Blacks are the National Rugby team. On the day of a game there is a wonderful array of colours, pomp and passion displayed by the visiting and home supporters, crowds are gathered at the venues long before the game and the atmosphere is palpable. The stadium is tense prior to the start. Instead of the National Anthem being played and sung the All-Blacks perform the Haka (a war dance). This is an old Māori custom that used to be performed going into battle. When facing a powerful united team, with them stamping their feet, shouting words of war and angry fists and arms depicting their intentions, the hope is that it would raise the hair on the heads of the opposing team. That alone might unsettle them and it could be worth a few points on the scoreboard.

Cruising the North island, you’ll see Auckland port, a harbour with an impressive amount of yachts and boats. See the whales and dolphins through a transparent sea of blue waters. Enjoy the cuisine along the seafronts. Tongariro and Napier are towns hugging the coast as you make your way into Wellington. The city of Wellington is the capital. Visit the parliament building, the museums, galleries and so much more. It’s also a busy seaport with fishing vessels, and ferry boats. 
The South Island has a great selection for the tourists. The simple port of Picton is where the ferry service boats dock when arriving from the north island. Places to visit: Christchurch, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Mt. Cook National Park, Franz Josef Glacier, Dunedin on the very south of the South Island has its Penguin colonies and the Royal Albatross plus Emerson’s Brewery tour.
One of the renowned citizens of New Zealand is the late Sir Edmund Hillary. Born in Auckland in 1919, he had a keen interest in mountaineering from an early age. He achieved notoriety by becoming the first man to climb Mount Everest, in 1953, with one of the Sherpa support team, Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese-Indian mountaineer. Hillary was knighted that same year by Queen Elizabeth II. Edmund reached the Antarctic and the South Pole in 1958. This is truly a remarkable story, Hillary and his crew were part of a large group of a Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE). Accompanying the expedition were scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and geologists. Hillary and his four man team set out for the Pole on three modified Massey Ferguson tractors, using half and full wheel tracks to drive through the snow and crevasses. As well as the tractors they had four sets of dog teams. The mission of this team was to leave food, fuel and other provisions at depots along the way. The team were making steady progress even though Hillary was not to go too far ahead of the main party. As they got closer to their end goal he ignored orders and continued to the South Pole. Read Hillary’s book ‘Nothing venture, nothing win’. With Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, in 1969. Sir Edmund Hillary flew to the North Pole in 1985, becoming the first man ever to complete the three Pole Challenge, the North Pole, the South Pole and the Summit of Mount Everest. It’s a challenge in modern times for many people to achieve.
New Zealand and Australia are still part of the British Commonwealth. Their armies were called upon during WWI, their troops landed on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey in June 1915, their steadfastness, courage, bravery and humanity are considered outstanding in the annals of the 1914-18 war.
The island of Tasmania lies about 250 kilometres south of Australia. It was discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642, he named the island Van Diemen’s Land, after the Dutch governor who had sponsored the expedition. In 1769 Captain Cook of Great Britain mapped and claimed the island for His Majesty King George III. He renamed it Tasmania. The island was set up as a penal colony in the late 1700s. Convicted prisoners were deported from Britain and Ireland with guardsmen to hold them in a stockade. Female prisoners were also shipped to Tasmania. This was an exercise in populating the island. The island is ruled by Australia.
Settlements started to be developed. Hobart is the capital and largest town. Since about 1810 agricultural development projects were promoted, religious communities grew, a school was opened, a flower mill, a brewery, a post office and horse racing tracks. The population is just in excess of 500,000 people and the size is 85,000 sq. kilometres. There are about 2.5 million sheep that contributes to Tasmanian exports.
Captain William Bligh, he of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ fame, arrived on the island in 1809 after being removed as governor of New South Wales in Australia, his hope was of getting the governorship there. He didn’t, he had overstayed his welcome in Australia.
The Talbot family, whose roots go back to the French Norman invasion of England, which occurred in 1066, arrived in Ireland in 1171. They were granted a sizeably estate of land outside of Dublin in Malahide. A castle that was the family home of the Talbot’s still stands there today. It’s owned and operated by the Irish Tourist Board and is open to the public as a tourist attraction. The Talbot family survived on the estate until 1973 when the last member the Honourable Milo George Talbot died without an heir. However, back in 1821 William Talbot of Malahide, Ireland was granted 3,000 acres of land in Tasmania by the British government where he developed a sheep station and extended the farm to 8,500 acres. He named the estate Malahide, Rose Talbot inherited the property. She had never married. Her cousin, one Richard Talbot inherited the property in Tasmania after her death in 2009. To this day, the estate is still owned by a member of the Talbot family.
Onto Australia for the 3rd part of the cruise. Australia and Tasmania are members of the British commonwealth. Dutch explorers had arrived in Australia as early as the 1600 and they named the landmass New Holland.
Captain James Cook led the British expedition in 1770 and was first to map the eastern coastline of Australia and claim the continent as part of the British Empire. Looking at maps of the seas around the continent we recognize from their names of all the explorers who have been there, the Torres Strait, Bass, Cook, Cape York, New Caledonia and so on. 
Botany Bay in Australia, where James Cook first landed, was set up as a penal colony and a naval base for the British fleet. Botany Bay was later renamed Sydney. Not all the ships carried convicts. There were free men and women, retired army and sailor personnel as well as adventurous tradespeople. William and Mary Bryant, two convicts who were on one of the ships of the first fleet, the ‘Charlotte’, had met on board and married shortly after arriving in Sydney. The journey from England to Sydney usually took over eight months. After WWII the Australian government needed to expand the population of the country, the £10.00 fare, which was the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme that was introduced to attract immigrants from Britain. This scheme lasted until the mid 1970s. During the period that the £10.00 fare lasted it’s estimated that 1.5 million British people would have travelled to Australia, a number of these were from Commonwealth countries. 
The coastal cities and destinations that you can visit on a cruise would include Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin and Brisbane, national parks and the Great Barrier Reef, that’s now a UNESCO heritage site. 
With a total number of 75 million sheep the export of meat and wool is of enormous importance to the country. Border control at airports and seaports are extremely thorough.
The population of Australia is 26 million people, it’s small in comparison to its size. The main employment is in, oil and gas exploration, mining of different minerals, finance, timber products i.e wood-pulp and lumber, chemicals, imports and exports, education and taxation.