Coronavirus brought about many changes, some of them lasting. I believe this is a good thing. We note the number of teenagers now walking their dogs on the beach post-covid lockdown. It appears three weeks is sufficient to build habits after all.
Our talks on our beach walks have changed somewhat over the course of this year. As we were returning from the stream end of the beach this week, BBM suddenly turned to me out of the blue and asked if I remembered the day we carried a boy down the beach? A boy? No, I tried to remember who that would have been. He must have been hurt for us to be carrying him. I searched my memory in vain. Then I did my usual loop of considering BBM’s Kiwi accent. Oh, yes, as a matter of fact I do remember the day we found a huge mussel buoy on the beach after a storm. Ever the one to take advantage of an opportunity, BBM used the teeth of a seashell to cut the heavy plastic rope off it and scrape some of the weight of the shell life attached to it. Then he found a sufficiently strong flax stick which we put through the loop at the top and carried it between the two of us. Several people came up to see and query where we had found it and what we were going to do with it. We took it back to the boat shed and put it in the chicken run area beside the boat shed to await fishing season. We thought no more about it until Brynn started complaining about a terrible smell of something dead under the boat shed. It turned out to be the decaying sea life which was left on the buoy.
Our talks on walks usually involve something we have read or heard recently and how that relates to something we already knew or did. One of our conversations was about the naming of the boat BBM is building. It seems he wants to commemorate the first ever boat built and launched in New Zealand. The term ‘launched’ is important since there was an earlier boat built down in the sounds of South Island. It seems a group of sealers was dropped off with supplies and a promise that the boat would be back to collect them and their furs. The group had time on their hands and were not entirely convinced that the boat would in fact return for them,. Therefore, they began to build a boat. The boat was close to completion by the time the captain returned to collect them, thus it was never actually launched. The remains of the boat the sealers built can be seen today.
Herald, the first boat ever built and actually launched in New Zealand was quite large. So large, in fact, that the local Maori believed they would be required to help get the boat into the water. They had never seen a boat of that size launched, particularly one which was some way from the shore. Of course, they had never seen a slipway either. So, the day of the launch came and thousands were gathered around. A local minister’s wife told what transpired from her perspective that day. She felt there was an assumption that many people would be required to help get the boat to the water. Furthermore, she believed they were looking forward to being recompensed for their assistance with the boat. The ropes were cut and the boat slid down the slipway into the water with warriors and others chasing after it in indignation. Weapons were thrown after the boat as it left as quickly as possible. Well, that was the first account BBM read of Herald in an account published many years ago. More recently he went back to reread about the event. He did find it online, however it had been digitally edited to change the minister’s wife’s account.
So our walks consider how the digitising of books and recorded accounts could/will change all of history as time goes on. New Zealand history has just recently been added to the education curriculum and there has been a call for interested parties to have a voice regarding what that history will entail. Even our local community history, things BBM can remember himself, has been edited to reflect a more modern wish-to-be-so.
I just hope that Herald II doesn’t bring about as much controversy as its namesake.
One thought on “Herald II”
Really enjoy your NZ history . I still have the tea towel with the NZ map printed on it on the wall here in my kitchen.