woensdag 2 december 2009

Helenville North Island

On this rainy day it is Wednesday december 2nd. 2009 and we reached Helenville.
So Helen, you must have achieved a lot since they thought here to name their city (or village or ville) after you. Congratulations!!!

We don’t know what is exciting about Helenville, because we didn’t try to find out (it rains practically all day) but it has lots of old buildings (from 1912 I saw one: the post office) and the town main street looks like Dodge City but than mostly built of stone.
And of course there was no Wyatt Earp or Daltons in sight.

This morning we left Wangharei (which is a rather large city; you could get lost over there) and thus set for Helenville.
Why?
Apart from the old buildings (in every town and village they are very proud of their old buildings, as you can imagine and that is why they all have a city museum with old stuff of like 50 years old and so) there are hot pools and Ankie is going to go there, this afternoon. It doesn’t matter when it rains and you are lying in some hot spring pool.
You get wet anyway, isn’t?

Somewhere, halfway to Helenville we visited the town of Waipu.
Waipu is a city with a Scottish heritage or something like that.

As you know the living conditions 200 years back in Scotland were bad.
Highland landowners in Scotland discovered the opportunity to make wealth form sheep farming and they forced their traditional tenant farmers (not seldom kinsmen) off the land and replaced them with sheep and I suppose you know ALL about sheep now.

Thousands of Scotts were forced to emigrate and in 1817 the first small group left the West Highland port of Ullapoole (very well known in Ullapoole and surroundings; they have one hotel/restaurant* and six houses now. I have seen that myself) destined for (YES!!) Nova Scotia.
They were under the leadership of a forceful Calvinist preacher Norman Mc Leod.
Looking at his photograph (there are a few) he certainly didn’t go happy and joyful through life. No frolics with the Reverend Mc Leod!!

* The food was awful and the service the same.

To cut the story short, they lived a while in Nova Scotia in St. Ann’s**, Cape Breton, but famine and sickness produced disaster and than was decided to look for a better life in Australia.
With six ships they sailed for Australia.

The ships names (you have to know your history and somebody elses!!):
- Margaret,
- Highland Lassie (doesn’t have anything to do with rice),
- Gertrude,
- Spray,
- Ellen Lewis (called after some girl of the Isle of Lewis or so),
- Breadalbane.
After much hardship (storms, typhoid and one or two ships almost wrecked on some rocky coast) the Scotts arrived at Adelaide but unfortunately there was a drought and no land available but Mc Leod successfully negotiated with the New Zealand Governor for land in New Zealand.

Since they sold their ships in Australia they had to purchase another one named “Gazelle” and around 1850 about 940 Scotts found their “Promised Land” in the North Island, near and in the town of Waipu and thousands of descendants (they didn’t sit still during the day and the night) live their today. Waipu doesn’t look Scottish but the names on their mailboxes are certainly Scottish like:
- Mc Beth (very well known in England as well),
- Mc Leod,
- Mc Duff,
- Mc Lennan,
- Cameron,
- Duncan,
- MacLean,
- MacKenzie,
- Roberts,
- Munro,
- McKay (do you remember Bobby?),
- McInnes,
- Mc Donald (famous all over the world),
and lots and lots of other Macs.

** Here something about a guy, famous in Nova Scotia and apparently in Waipu as well: Giant Angus McAskill.
He lived in St. Ann’s around the time that the Reverend McLeod decided to find a land where they could prosper.
Angus McAskill was well over 2.50 meters (or so) and his hands were 20 cm’s wide and 30 cm’s long (to get the idea) and he was the strongest man around.
Many tales are told about this giant.

One is as follows:
Once, coming home late with a load of firewood the oxen were so slow that Angus decided to unyoke them and pulled home the wood himself in no time.
Another story tells us that the fishermen of St. Ann’s envied his strength.
While they laboriously bailed out their boats, Angus set his weight under his half ton boat, tipped it up on its beam ends and bilged out the water.

I tried to make a photograph of the portrait of Angus in the museum
but I failed because almost every portrait and picture sits behind glass and then it is very difficult to make a good picture.
So, shit happens and no picture of Angus.

All about Angus and the story of the Scotts who came from the highlands and arrived at Waipu in the end, you can see in the Waipu Museum in an exhibition called “from croft to cottage” about one of the most extraordinary global migrations in world history (our guide tells us).

Museum Opening Hours
9.30 am – 4.30 pm
7 days a week,
But…………….……………..winter hours may be reduced so if you go there during the winter, call them first 09 432 0746.
E-mail: info@waipumuseum.com.

This was the main event of this day.
Tomorrow will be our last full day in New Zealand.

The day after - on the 4th of December - we will fly to Tahiti!!!
When we are there I will explain why Tahiti is well known throughout the whole world, but now already I can lift one tip of the veil:
- dancing Hula Girls will await us with bare (.)(.) !!!

When you read this, it will be the 3rd. of December or maybe even the 4th (there is no wireless on the camping in Helenville and if you look at the faces of the people around here, they won’t have wireless for a very long time).
As I wrote, we will leave on the 4th. of December and we will arrive in Tahiti on the ………..3rd. (Read “around the world in 80 days” with Philias Fogg and others, amongst which an real Indian Princess as well).

It was a nice day again and till the next time.

We are a little further in time and today is (the next time) and Thursday 3rd. December and we arrived at our hotel in Auckland.
This morning we cleaned (moreless) our campervan and packed our suitcases and backpacks and other bags and the other ones.
We drove from Helenville to Auckland and nothing eventful (to write about) happened and we brought our campervan back (Pacific Horizons the rental company is called) and everything was OK and we were brought to our hotel (The Quadrant) in the city centre and we have free wireless.

It rained practically all day and we have to decide whether to go visiting the city centre in the rain or stay in our room looking TV, read books, etc.

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