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Dreaming of New Zealand - Te Aotearoa

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

(Dreaming of New Zealand - Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra and all pictures by M Westerlund)

Dreaming of New Zealand Far across the sea I feel my loved one Staying nearer to me

Te Ika-a-maui Te Wai Pounamu Sweet sounds of Maori Remind me just of you

Kei Te aroha au ki a koe You whispered I love you Sweet sounds of Maori Brought me close to you

Walking by the seaside The ocean deep and blue An albatross flying over The moment I met you

We climbed upon the highcliffs A path we'd never gone Standing close together We saw the golden sun

Dreaming of New Zealand Far across the sea I feel my loved one Staying nearer to me

Kei te aroha au ki a koe You whispered I love you Aoteraroa Reminds me just of you

Songwriters: Frank Steijns / Andre Leon Rieu

New Zealands beauty is second to none. Due to its remoteness it was the last mainland to be settled by humans. The Maoris is thought to have arrived from Eastern Polynesia around 1250 - 1300, but predating them were no doubt others, because ancient stone structures have been found in several locations, certainly not built by the Maoris.

Photo of Lake Tekapo with Queenstown, South Island, M Westerlund

New Zealand consist of the warmer and more pouplated North Island, the stunningly beautiful South Island with high mountains, fjordlands and vast uninhabitated areas, and around 600 islands. The biggest of these smaller islands is Stewart island just south of the main South Island.

The treaty of Waitiangi was an agreement between Maori Chiefs and the white colonisaing force, mainly from the Brittish Empire. This treaty was first signed in the Bay of Islands on 6 February 1840.

There was without a doubt a number of atrocities committed by the 'invading force'. The resulting intertribal Musket Wars encompassed over 600 battles between 1801 and 1840, killing 30,000–40,000 Māori. Like the American native Indians, the Maori population rapidly declined due to wars but also diseases brought by the white settlers.

A number of Maori tribes were mainly peaceful and they willingly sold their land to the new white (Pakhea) settlers from Europe. Others felt disrespected, exploited and violently treated. The colonial and Maori forces fought many bitter battles between 1845 - 1872, often over land disputes and harsh treatment of the Maori population.

New Zealand Wars, 1863 Painting by Granger

It is time to start abandoning ideas about who discovered a certain land. New Zealand was certainly already discovered when Dutch explorer Abel Tasman arrived 1642, and the Brittish explorer James Cook arrived as late as 1769. The Maoris already lived in Aotearoa.

An offspring from the more achaic Maoris, was the Morimoris who settled on Chathams Island around 1500 AD. The Moriori population was all but wiped out between 1835 and 1862, largely because of Taranaki Māori invasion and enslavement in the 1830s, although European diseases also contributed.

Aro Ha centre for meditation, yoga and physical health, south of Queenstown, South Island. Photo: M Westerlund

New Zealand landscape has everything from spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, aqnd thousands of miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches. There are no dangerous or lethal species in New Zealand. The most dangerous one would perhaps be a human. I have only found one other place without dangerous snakes and spiders, and that was Bermuda.

New Zealand is 1 600 km long and with a maximum width of 400 km. Due to a coast line of 15 000 km, you will find an abundance of marine live. Sometimes you can come across ping vines, and on Otago Penisinula you see the famous Albatross.

Taranaki, West North Island. Video by M Westerlund

You will need two things when you travel. Time and some money. In New Zealand there is so much to explore that you can spend a year just travelling. The question is where you want to go?

Beach south of Timaru

People are down to earth, often very kind and inviting. Like in Bermuda, strangers will greet and recognize each other. I have always been treated with wonderful kindness, respect and a genuine willingness to share.

The most spiritual people I have met have been Maoris, and I have been fortunate to work closely with the greatest psychiatrist in New Zealand, Sir Mason Durie.

It is of utmost importance to respect and honour deceased ancestors and family members among Maoris. Cultural advisor like Kaitakawaenga, Komatua and the Spiritual healer Tohunga are important parts of the Maori culture and heritage.

The Spiritual world is a real to the Maoris as the physical world to Pakeha. When treating mental illness it will not contribute to healing, to refute and disrespect these beliefs. The only path is to use both worlds. The truth of healing is not what brings us apart, but what bring us together.

The North Island has an exciting, beautiful and sometimes even mystic landscape. Hot springs in Roturua with the smell of rotten egg (hydrogen sulfide H2S) does not in any way put you off from the incredible landscape surrounding you.

New Zealand is without a doubt a beautiful gem in the Pacific and world.

Rotorua Museum - Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa - housed in the beautiful old bath house from 1908.

Kerosene Creek, 28 km south of Rotorua. A famous free amazing hot pool. You will feel like stepping into The Lord of the rings.

Coromandle Penisula offers spectacular views

TSS Earnslaaw on Lake Tekapo, South Island, acrylic on canvas 2016 by M Westerlund.

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