New Zealand Culture Clash I

Program Information

Series: A Moment in Time
Duration: 00:03:45
Year Produced: 2009
Description:

Inevitably the ever-expanding European colonial enterprise discovered Zeelandia Nova, but when Dutch arrived in New Zealand in 1642 they found a well established culture already there.

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Transcript

Lead: Inevitably the ever-expanding European colonial enterprise discovered Zeelandia Nova, but when Dutch arrived in New Zealand in 1642 they found a well established culture already there.

Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: New Zealand, rugged, rich, wildly beautiful, hidden behind a vast oceanic barrier, was the final large land mass colonized by the human race. It is estimated that not until about AD 800 did Polynesian explorers, probably manning large capacity outrigger canoes, find their way to the northern of New Zealand's two major islands, so remote that it is 1000 miles southeast from the closest part of Australia. Their arrival was the culmination of one of humanity's greatest colonial expansions. Out from the East Asian land mass into the southern Pacific archipelago these Austronesian-speaking colonists exploded. Indonesia, New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Rarotonga, and Tahiti were prosperous outposts of this eastern expansion 2000 years before the Vikings ranged west to North America. Finally, wheeling southwest they came to New Zealand.

By 1200 there were settlements on both major islands, constituting a population of many tribal and kin groupings. The Maori, as they came to be known, cultivated taro, flax, sweet potatoes and probably hunted to extinction large flightless birds, the most prominent of which was the huge, guileless moa, which until then had not had a predator. The Maori continued the Polynesian military tradition with tribal disputes settled through diplomacy, gift giving and warfare; this last very bitter and often culminating in ritualistic cannibalism. In December 1642 Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed into a large bay at the top of the southern Island. His arrival set the stage for a classic clash of culture. Next time: Maori versus the invader.

The producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.