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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 99 14:47:10 -0700
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: Adam Shand <firstname.lastname@example.org>
New Zealand is situated the same distance eastwards from Australia as London
is to Moscow. So if anybody tells you it's right next to Australia, tell
them to piss off.
It is bigger than Connecticut, but smaller than Canada.
There are two main islands -- The North Island and The South Island. There
are also about a zillion other islands dotted around and about, none of
which should concern you.
The South Island is slightly bigger than the North Island, but South
Islanders that refer to themselves as "Mainlanders" are wankers.
The largest city in New Zealand is Auckland, which has a population of
approximately 900,000 people, many of whom own Holdens (see below).
The capital is Wellington, which is really boring and windy and don't go
The fourth largest New Zealand city is called Bondi, a suburb of Sydney.
It has more New Zealanders in it than Hamilton.
Lake Taupo, situated in the centre of the North Island, is very big, but
smaller than Texas, and has less guns but more trout.
The worst place in New Zealand goes by the tantalising and evocative name
of Bulls, population two men and a dog. It has achieved its dubious
distinction by having the bones of stranded hitch-hikers scattered along
all points of egress. It is a shithole; if you manage to escape it within
five hours of having entered it, you can count yourself very lucky indeed.
All you need know when travelling in New Zealand is:
North Island: beaches
South Island: mountains
... and don't go to Dannevirke, you'll hate it
I was recently told about the perfect NZ tourist's map. It is a world map
produced by an English publisher for use in schools, probably in the 1940s
or 50s. It has marked on New Zealand three cities -- Auckland, Wellington
Go to Bennydale, it's choice. Mollusc's dad got beaten up by a big Maori
woman in the Bennydale pub in 1976.
If you're a Crowded House or Split Enz fan, a pilgrimage to Te Awamutu is
essential. You will see why Split Enz split, and why Neil Finn now lives in
Hamilton is a strange place -- very foggy in winter, and not in Canada (or
Connecticut). If you are hitch hiking in the area and somebody offers you
a lift "as far as Hamilton", you can guarantee you will end up walking from
one side of town to the other, which will:
a) take about two hours
b) not endear you to any part of the stinky, boring, flat, green
Many years ago a bloke called Maui went fishing with his brothers, using
his grandmother's jawbone as a fish hook (apparently his grandmother's jaw
fell off through overuse, an object lesson in verbosity). He caught a big
fish and hauled it to the surface. It was a big fish (man). Like, really
really big. About as big as the North Island. In fact, if the truth be told,
it *was* the North Island. But that's okay, because Maui's canoe was pretty
large as well, as big as The South Island (get the picture?).
Maui's brothers, seeing the size of the fish, became jealous and laid into
it with their meres and axes and shit, thus conveniently terraforming it
into a fairly rugged bit of heavily forested fish (or land, as geologists
prefer to call it).
A bit after that, in a huge migration from Hawaiiki (probably no relation),
the Maori people arrived in this new land of Aotearoa, The Land of The Long
After spending about 1000 years not inventing the internal combustion
engine, nuclear weapons, those horrible guttering systems which get clogged
up with leaves and twigs and dead sparrows and need to be cleaned out every
six months, or Unix, the country was colonised (invaded) by Europeans,
bringing blankets, muskets, whaling ships, God, syphilis, tuberculosis and
The Maoris, overwhelmed by the European's staggering generosity,
occasionally went berko and killed some settlers, but to no avail. By 1840,
the Treaty of Waitangi -- popularly advertised as New Zealand's founding
document -- was signed by the Governor of New Zealand (representing Queen
Vicky of England) and various Maori chiefs, representing each tribe.
After another thirty years of bloodshed, things began to settle down a
little bit and the real business of farming sheep and building towns like
Bulls could begin in earnest.
Bulls was built. It still exists today. Aaaaaargh.
The capital was moved from Russell to Auckland to Wellington to London to
Washington. There was speculation during the 1940s that the new capital
might be Berlin or Tokyo, but such rumours were unfounded in the cold
impartial light of military superiority and nuclear weapons. World War One
came, and with it came the battle of Gallipoli, in which heaps of Kiwis and
Aussies got dropped on the wrong beach by a Pommie Bastard who was probably
marinating his brain in gin at the time. A battle that should have lasted
about twelve hours lasted six months, and cost Gunner Spinley (Mollusc's
grandad) his face, which stopped a Turkish bullet.
World War Two rolled around, and thousands more Kiwis died displaying the
refreshing lack of self-preservation that Allied High Command was so
The score stands at New Zealand two, Germany nil.
Nuclear ships stopped coming in 1984 with the election of The First Labour
Government in a Very Long Time. America loves us slightly less than it did
The French blew up a Greenpeace ship, The Rainbow Warrior, in Auckland in
1985. We like the French slightly less than we did before. However, due to
the fact that we export dairy products and beef and lamb to France, we don't
dislike them enough to really do anything about it.
We won the Rugby World Cup in 1987 and nobody really gives a shit, except
Westies and their fathers.
We had a sesquicentenial in 1990 (150th anniversary -- we note with interest
that the word did not exist prior to 1990). It was crap and lost lots of
Buzzy Bees: A quintissential piece of Kiwiana. It is a small wooden bee that
toddlers can drag around on a piece of string. It has wings that rotate
(backwards) and it makes a wierd clicking sound. They are no longer made,
much to the author's remorse (not true).
The Edmond's Cook Book: More copies of this book have been sold in New
Zealand than any other book (ever). Produced by Edmonds, makers of fine
Baking Powder, Cake Mix and Bournville Cocoa. There are hundreds of
recipies, many incorporating Edmond's "Sure to Rise" Baking Powder, Edmond's
Cake Mix, and Bournville Cocoa. There is a whole section on cooking with
Holdens: Holden is an Australian car manufacturer, a subsidiary of General
Motors (actually now owned by Toyota). Most Australiasians either don't know
this, or don't care. The classic New Zealand car is a very old grey Holden
station wagon, with shot suspension and dodgy brakes. It is driven by
Westies. They are popular because they are cheap (because they are crap)
and have big engines, which may or may not be V8s. We don't know, nor care.
We are cyclists, who dislike most cars and hate Holdens.
Swannies: Woolen bush shirts and jackets made by Swanndri NZ Ltd. Very
waterproof, scratchy, rugged, warm and make you look like a mass murderer
when hitch hiking.
3 egg whites 1 teaspoon vinegar
3 tablespoons cold water 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup castor sugar 3 teaspoons cornflour
Beat egg whites until stiff, add cold water and beat again. Add castor sugar
gradually while still beating. Slow beater and add vinegar, vanilla and
cornflour. Place of greased paper on greased tray and bake at 150 degrees
C (300 F) for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the oven. (Courtesy of The
Edmond's Cookbook (naturally)).
This recipe never works, nor does any other recipe for pav, except this one:
Ride bicycle down to supermarket, purchase pavlova with $15, place in
carrier bag. Ride home. Remove pavlova from carrier bag, place in cold oven.
When guests arrive, remove from oven and say "Look at this pav I just made!"
Any Australians, South Africans, yugoslavians or Tibetans who tell you that
the pav was invented in their country are full of shit and are not to be
Pies: North Americans may be unfamiliar with this phenomenon. A pie is a
savoury hors d'ouvres pastry thing, but three times the size, filled with
meat (from whence we can only guess) and with a lid on.
The worst pies in New Zealand can be had for NZ$1.60 a piece at a grimy,
smelly, cockroach-infested petrol staion by Lake Karapiro. Coming a close
second are the infamous Putrid Pies of Panmure (a suburb of Auckland). They
seem to be available from all the bakeries -- do not touch them, they are
the source of all evil.
There are some quite nice pies in Queenstown, but we really hate Queenstown,
and this ruins the whole pie eating experience for us. There are also some
quite nice pies in Onehunga (south Auckland). However, it should be noted
that pies can never be rated at anything above "good". Also, pie criticism
is one of the most subjective things imaginable.
© 1999 Peter Langston