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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Land of the long, white cloud...


The indigenous Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa, 'the land of the long, white cloud'. The above pic is of Lake Otamangakau on the North Island where my hubby is fishing for the second time this year.


The chap in the boat on the left is his mate, Jim, who appears to be having a snooze but I'm told that he's preparing his gear whilst waiting for the fog to lift and the fish to rise.

I don't understand why they spend thousands of dollars on gear and airfares to catch fish, scare the living daylights out of them and then let them go! But relaxation and getting in touch with nature I certainly understand and releasing the fish I wholeheartedly agree with. Now this is where I could show you the big fish shots but I won't!

A mythological story or historical fiction offers a good picture of how the name was given or something of the ideas which motivated it. In some traditional stories, Aotearoa was the name of the canoe of the explorer Kupe, and he named the land after it. In another version, Kupe's daughter was watching the horizon and called "He ao! He ao!" ("a cloud! a cloud!").

A different story figures that it was actually his wife and not his daughter who called out these words. The story tells that the voyagers of that period were guided by a long white cloud in the course of the day and by a long bright cloud at night. Consequently, after a long voyage, the sign of land to Kupe’s crew was the long cloud hanging over it. The curious cloud caught Kupe’s attention and he said “Surely is a point of land”. His wife called out "He ao! He ao!" ("a cloud! a cloud!"). Afterwards his wife’s words and the cloud which greeted them, Kupe named the land Aotearoa - "long white cloud".The first land sighted was accordingly named Aotea (Cloud), now Great Barrier Island. When a much larger landmass was found beyond Aotea, it was called Aotea-roa (Long Aotea). - Wikipedia

11 comments:

maggie's garden said...

So beautiful! The pictures and the voice.
Our guys love to go on this annual fishing trip to Canada, and when they aren't there...all they do is talk about the next trip. I've seen photos similar to yours, and to me they just look like they're sleeping in the boat! Quite a distance to travel for a nap!
Hope the hubby enjoys his trip.

Derrick said...

Hi Alaine,

Thanks for the NZ historical resume. I knew about the name but not how it came about. The first pic certainly looks preferable to the second. That grey pall would dampen any fish's spirit without having to worry abut hunters! Atmospheric though!

Delwyn said...

Hi Alaine

I have been living in Au for over half of my life but the NZ culture is still an indelible part of me...

sitting on the lake must be very tranquil....and it must also be bloody cold!!!!!


Happy days

Vagabonde said...

Those pictures are beautiful especially the first one. It has a surreal quality. I also read your piano story and enjoyed it. When we moved to the suburb, we kept the apartment in Paris with the piano, but my father who loved pianos, bought three more, not player pianos though. One was in my bedroom, one in the guestroom and one in the living room. They sent me to take lessons but the piano teacher had a horrible high and nasal voice and would get very impatient with me so I hated going there. I only took about 5 years of lessons but when I was finished could hardly play Fur Elise, or the Rondo Turk. Now I regret it of course and have no piano here but then I also have arthritis in my fingers, so I would not be able to play anyway.

Alaine said...

Hi Karen (MG)...he is having a ball, missed our 31st wedding anniversary yesterday and didn't know about the earthquake in Chile.

Alaine said...

Derrick...the first shot is the only one he took of the scenery, all the rest are fish shots! The second shot is, as you said, atmospheric, but I love all mornings, foggy or no.

Alaine said...

Delwyn... that is understandable; I was reading someone's blog the other day and they were saying that there is a word for it, the longing for your homeland - it think it was 'hamiet' or 'hameit'. Wish I could remember whose blog it was...

I've never visited NZ but hubby has been there several times. I've put in a request that we go together one day but he has to promise that there'll be very little fishing!

Alaine said...

Vagabonde...that's such a shame that you didn't have a good teacher; I suffered with my second but the third was brilliant! I sat down and played some Chopin two days ago; lost a couple of hours but thoroughly enjoyed it. 'Touch wood' that I don't have any arthritis; a friend suffers and I'm sorry that you do too.

Lyn said...

Shh..I'm drifting along with this beautiful music..am definitely being carried away..heading into the cloud photo..Thank you!

Alaine said...

Lyn...I just clicked to listen to the song again - don't you hate it when that 'buffering' happens!! It's still not working!

Susan said...

Hauntingly beautiful photos! And I love the story, both versions! Very nice!