Local Heart, Global Soul

June 6, 2018

A Mural That Brings Rememberance…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s blog post, I’m standing between Christmas and New Year in the entrance foyer of the Petone Settlers Museum, in Petone, outside Wellington, New Zealand.

After checking out the map, compass points and sailing ship stone decoration set into the stone floor, and bronze globe in the center, I  turned my attention to a beautiful memorial mural on the upper section of the wall.

The text beneath the illustration snakes with the painting around the room and reads:

“They gave their bodies to the Commonwealth, and received, each for his own memory, praise that will never die, and with it the noblest sepulcher, not that in which the mortal bones are laid but a home in the minds of men,”

It’s a sobering reminder that there are countless Kiwi young men who paid the ultimate price for peace and rest eternally in European war graves far from home.

Most of them are of course fell in the trenches of the West Flanders area around Ypres during World War One, and  those who fought and fell in Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire, also during World War I.

Because Australia and New Zealanders fought side by side they got the nickname “ANZAC’s” (short for: “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”).

Observed on 25 April each year in both New Zealand and Australia, “Anzac Day”  is the national memorial day observed on 25th April each year, usually with a dawn ceremony.

There are of course many other parts of Europe where ANZAC’s are buried and there is almost no town large or small in New Zealand that does not have a war memorial in the center inscribed with the names of those who make the ultimate sacrifice. I photographed first the “overview” of the mural and then zoomed in so that we could enjoy the detail. I am not quite sure how to define this style of painting, to my mind it’s kind of a mix of pointillism and airbrushing… and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. The lack of faces on the figures achieves the objective though, you concentrate on the message rather than on the medium.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/new-post-76/
Gallipoli: a Loss, a Win and a turning point, Never to be forgotten.

December 3, 2016

Painting The Town…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Being largely confined to the four walls of home can make you more than a little stir-crazy sometimes since you slowly get cut off from the outside world.

Himself has to juggle being the family taxi driver and the drug-free, clear headed listening brains in my many medical appointments, keep up with work, extended family duties, drive kid to sports, clubs and social life events, and then do housework and cooking.

I help out with cooking, laundry and supervising kid homework as much as I can, but even so, Himself certainly does the lions’ share of the work.

When he is really busy and there is nothing I can help with, I don’t want to heap more on his plate by asking for a car rides somewhere, help getting in and out of the house or anything else that would make his work load even heavier.
I do not get to step outside of the front door, often for more than a week on end which can get me down sometimes.

Luckily I have good friends who keep me up to date on events that are worth an outing so every now and again, for which I am very grateful.

Different neighbourhoods in The Hague have their own versions of  the “Kunst Route”  (Art Route)  Statenkwartier which I wrote about a few years back (link at the bottom of this post). This is where people display their art and hobbies in their own homes on a sort of “open day”, but also that it’s a coordinated thing, so up to sixty homes will be open on one day.

I’ve been meaning to go for ages but so far other appointments have gotten in the way. Earlier this year my intended visits around the Statenkwartierwere set aside because of my mother in laws serious dip in health, and whilst I was disappointed, Family comes first.

It was therefore a lovely surprise when a friend informed me that another neighbourhood also hosts a similar event, and passed on the brochure. Called “Parels” (Pearls), the  neighbourhoods covered are the “Flora en Faunawijken” (Flora and Fauna), so this means the districts in which the streets are named after fruit, trees, flowers etc. There is a fold-out map in the back and a list of fifty-two addresses that can be visited on their Open Day.  There are not just paintings to see though, the Open Day covers everything from sculpture to space saving eco-gardening, from hedgehog rescue and quilting to puppetry and medieval music recitals. I aim to try and visit several of them and be inspired by what artistic endeavours are happening right here in my own city…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Psst, Wanna Come Home and See my Etchings?!!!

November 16, 2015

Literally Cutting Edge Technology…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Still at the Kazerne Scheveningen, (Scheveningen Fire Station) on their summer Open Day, we are treated to a live demonstration.

Little Mr has seen this once before, several summers ago at a similar Open Day in the town of Schoonhoven , written about in my post: “Pincers to the Rescue: a Coconut Crab Would be Proud“… but the two little neighbourhood friends who have joined us, it is a first time experience and they have their eyes wide and their mouths open.

Little Mr even proudly shows off his experience by explaining what some of the equipment does and why some of the steps are being made (taping over the windows first so that when they are knocked out the glass will stick to the tape). Little Mr is thoroughly enjoying everything anyway. Unlike the Schoonhoven demonstration that used one of the fire service personal as the “victim” in the crashed car, this Brandweer (fire service) has a stuffed dummy to fulfill the role as the crash “victim”.

Everyone in the crowd was suitably impressed, especially with the deep “thump” that the jaws-of-life pincers made cutting through large lumps of metal. After the passenger doors were removed, the back doors and roof followed and the audience was told that it can all be done in less than four minutes when casualties need to be extracted in haste. Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Other related posts from Schoonhoven:

Our Fears are Extinguished As we Leave a Morning of Fire and Ice…
When Fundraising Reaches Scary New Heights…
A Monumental Turn Of Events…

 

December 25, 2014

‘Tis The Day To Count Your Blessings…

Today is Christmas Day. And this comes to you via the WordPress schedule because No, I’m not sitting at my computer typing.

Depending on when you read this: I’m sitting on a chair in the kitchen peeling vegetables ready for the Christmas roast lunch,  or sitting at the dining table “top and tailing” beans, or getting my limited standing exercise by clearing shredded wrapping paper from the Christmas gifts off the living room floor or half entangled in the Christmas tree baubles.

Or I might be sitting on the sofa as guests (in this case wonderful friends: two families who are very much at home in my kitchen) and Himself buzz around asking where I want what, how, and where.

If you log on later in my day I might have gone off to have an hour’s nap, or be back, sitting on the sofa watching the children play with their gifts, walking around the room trying to avoid the obstacle course of  toys on the floor, or intervening as they squabble after too many Christmas chocolate treats, too much excitement and not enough good weather for them to go outside and burn off their excess energy.

I will have to listen to them moan incessantly about not being allowed on the iPad or computer “because Christmas Day is about actually being with, and talk to, the people you love and not having your nose in the electronics all day“.

I will repeat the phrase “Just because you moan about not getting to use the iPad or computer a hundred times, the answer you get the other 99 times will not be any different to the first “No” you got, so please stop moaning”. I will then repeat the same phrase over and over whilst seriously wondering if my children actually have ears… (and at some of the more tense moments….. brains).

I will  have to console the child who is losing when we get around the table to play the card game “Uno”, as neither of my offspring have yet mastered the art of losing gracefully.

We will probably not stretch family relations to breaking point by playing “mens erger je niet”  (translates literally as “man / people don’t get annoyed / upset) which is the name of the traditional but ruthless Dutch board game that I recognise from New Zealand as “Ludo” because constant loosing at that one usually ends in loud tears (if child) and disgruntled sniffs (if adults).

If one of my children is  on a winning streak I will be giving gentle reminders that constantly rubbing it in gleefully is not the best way to gain popularity, and neither is it good manners. Both pieces of advice will be in all likelihood be ignored (refer to “too much excitement / chocolate/ Christmas treats and not enough good weather for them to go outside and burn off their excess energy” plus the now added excitement / disappointment,  of winning / losing, said board game.)

Children will be less than enthusiastic at being asked to help  later in the day with Christmas Day washing up or putting away (I have an original 1930’s stone kitchen bench and a dishwasher doesn’t physically fit ), or at making the living area look like less of a bomb site / obstacle course. (That at least is no different than the other 364 days of the year).

At least one adult will accidentally stand on a piece of Lego that Little Mr will forget to move from the living room to his bedroom (btw I can guarantee that that adult won’t be me, I’ve gotten paranoid about walking carefully).

Everyone will want to be on the telephone at once when we phone family and a few friends in New Zealand and there is a rather decent chance that at least one of these calls will accidentally get disconnected by an eager child’s fingers in their excitement and haste. The resulting tears will disappear once the phone call is reconnected and that kid who didn’t do it (this year) will be reprimanded for rubbing it in (see tears of earlier reference).

The entire day will otherwise be interspersed with squeals of excitement, hugs, kisses, much joy, many Thank You’s and laughter. We will eat far more than we intended and laugh about the diets we will need to go on to disperse the Christmas kilos.  Adults will try the “Hey, Look out the window at …!” (whatever distraction they think kid will fall for) in order to swipe said child’s desert plate out from under their noses …I will strike another day off the calendar as I get closer to my New Year’s surgery.

Outside in the street local teenagers and some (predominantly male) adults who never grew up will play cat and mouse with the authorities by setting off illegal fireworks in the streets and then scapering before the police patrols arrive (the fireworks are illegal until 18:00 on New Years Eve, but they like to let off the loudest ones they can get their hands on, some are so loud they make your windows rattle).

The weather is unusually mild this year, so snow is unlikely to be falling here by the time you read this, but there is every possibility of rain and leaden grey skies… it is a Dutch winter after all.

Inside our home though, the temperature will be warm, guests will be welcome and since our Christmas Day is a gathering of Foodies there will be enough food to feed us all four times over and enough leftovers that the three families all have easy meals for a good few days afterwards.

Whilst I have faith,  we are not real church goers , we prefer to celebrate the spirit of Christmas by opening our home and sharing the love with friends who have no family close by. That works visa versa too became I have no close family here myself and sharing Himself’s family isn’t always the same.

The Dutch call “Boxing Day”, “Second Christmas Day” and this is the day when we go visit my mother in law etc. (She was invited to join us today but at 92 is no longer in a physically fit enough to get up the two flights of steps to our apartment). To accommodate her we have held all other celebrations elsewhere for years but this year I finally wanted to do something at home, our place, for once.

It will also mean that half way though dinner she will not announce that she’s very tired and now wants to go home  please and Himself’s dinner will stand cold on the table whilst he drives her back across the city. We will see her tomorrow and enjoy that visit even more for it then.

Our children will predictably put in a request for a pet somewhere during the day, even though we live in an apartment, have no garden space, travel regularly abroad,  two of us are allergic to pet hair and feathers, and the fish in the tank got rescued from neglect a short time after they were entrusted to the children’s care and will be getting re-homed in the New Year. Needless to say the answer will yet again be “No, sorry, we can’t”.

That’s a basic run-down of our Christmas Day, we are messy, nay chaotic, noisy and sometimes disagreeable bunch. We have our moods and our moments, woe betide Himself if he decides to rearrange my Christmas table (after 19 years of marriage you’d think he’d had gotten the message that the Christmas arrangement of my menu and table are mine, all mine!) but  in the end there is also much love, lots of laughter and many happy memories.

If you are of a faith that celebrates Christmas or even if you don’t, I can only wish you a wonderful 25th of December from the bottom of my heart. I hope that you spend it with someone you love, in a way that is meaningful and special for you.  If you are busy celebrating Christmas I hope that you have also had a wonderful , warm, Blessed day.  Merry Christmas!

April 30, 2013

Will a King Beat a Queen in This Royal Flush?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m interrupting my series of posts on Plaswijkpark because as I type  this one the evening of April 29th 2013, The Netherlands in on the verge of a huge historical event.

Queen Beatrix is tonight entertaining world heads of State and  has broadcast a  Thank You message to the Dutch people on Dutch television because as her time as the reigning monarch of this country ends tomorrow, on the National holiday of
Koninginnedag” (Queen’s Day).

The date on which this holiday is held comes from another Dutch Queen: Beatrix’s mother,  Juliana.

Once Beatrix took over the throne consideration was given to moving  Koninginnedag to the date of her own birthday, but since Beatrix was born on 31st January  it’s was deemed impractical  to try and organise the traditional street markets, parties and festivities in the heart of winter.

Tomorrow, (or today as you will be reading this) sometime in the mid-morning Beatrix will sign the papers of abdication and Prince Willem-Alexander will take part in his investiture as the first Dutch King to reign over the Netherlands since 1890.

Regular readers of this blog will known that I’m no Royalist, I dislike the idea of hereditary (and mostly ceremonial) power over someone elected for ability and the fact that this royal family has often come under scrutiny (quite rightly so) for whilst being one of the smallest royal houses of Europe,  exact the greatest percentage of funds from the taxpayers and the national purse.

Today as a Dutch citizen I found out another piece of information that  gets my Republican claws twitching…  “Koninginnedag”  (Queen’s Day)  on 30th April  will naturally become “Koningsdag”  (King’s Day)  following the investiture of  Willem-Alexander… ok that’s logical enough, but what rankles with me is that he will shift the date of this Public holiday to that of his own birthday:  27th April.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I could completely understand if his birthday fell in June, July or August for instance because the weather is often iffy and temperamentally changeable at this time of the year, but to change the date of a National holiday that has been celebrated on the same day since 1948 by three days?   For me it smacks of a selfish ego trip. His mother kept the holiday as that of the date of her mother, so why can’t he?

It can’t be for reasons of  “possible better weather” because last weeks weather for instance was even more lousy than this weeks. Yea! ergo therefore we now can look forward to a greater chance of a nation of little kids sitting trying to sell their toys on the street market in the rain. Yes, I’m thrilled (spot the sarcasm).

Willem-Alexander and Maxima’s oldest daughter, Princess Catharina-Amalia was born on 7th December so in all likelihood she will not have the choice of switching the national celebration of Dutch identity and festivities to her own birthday… so her Father’s Birthday and “King’s Day” will probably remain even though she would rightfully be Queen… a Queen without a “Queen’s Day” thus.
Is it just me or does that suck?

I was going to do some baking last weekend but on Friday my back pain was back with a vengeance and it was all I could do to move at all. Therefore today after work I got out the baking trays and went on a baking frenzy… I’ll be trying to sell as many Kiwi style biscuits (cookies) as possible to everyone at the street fair,with all funds raised going to the Kiribati School for the Disabled that our family support and fund-raise for.

Needless to say the entire country of the Netherlands seems to be slowly turning orange (our National colour) for this event… there are orange cakes and iced cookies in the shops and orange clothes, accessories and commemorative tat everywhere. Some of it is tasteful, most of it is not (kind of like my view of the Royal family LOL) .. but I guess it’s fun and it’s entertainment of a sort.

Will I be watching the investiture of our new King? … no, not live but maybe I’ll catch a snippet on the evening news “for the sake of history”… I like local history after all and I suppose it’s not every day a country gets a change of monarch.

I’ve decided to enjoy the spectacle too because no matter which way you cut this cake and like it or not, we are still footing the bill for it.  Only Time will tell if the popularity of this King is the winning hand that will beat that of the precious Queen after tomorrows Royal Flush.

January 6, 2013

Our Fears are Extinguished As we Leave a Morning of Fire and Ice…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For my last post in Schoonhoven we are being treated to  multiple displays from the Schoonhoven Brandweer (Fire Service) as part of National Open Monumentendag (Open Monument Day).

This is where numerous organisations open their doors for the day so that the public can learn more about what they do.

Little Mr. has discovered that this fire station is hosting all manner of activities and so we’ve stayed here to take a look and it’s turned out to be very interesting and well worth the detour.

There’s a trailer here too where two of the sides  drop down and the fire service can take  it out for demonstrations in the community. In this demonstration involves learning what to expect if you ever should need to use your home fire extinguisher and is an excellent way to do it in a controlled environment.

We first watch a teenage girl have a go and then I ask the fireman if he could please do a demonstration so that I can take photographs for my blog,  something he is more than happy to do. He says that if anyone ever has the opportunity to have a go in a controlled situation like this one, that they should do so because it will given you real confidence and an extra element of calm that can be a life-saver should a fire break out in your home or workplace.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m a bit too tired after all the walking I’ve done on crutches today to attempt this, but directly after these photos were taken Himself had a go and said that the experience was a real  revelation: knowing  afterwards what to expect definitely made him far more confident that he could handle our extinguisher at home without hesitation if ever the need arose.

Lastly there was the decompression diving tank, with the duikteam (diving team) divers inside.

It was difficult to get photographs because reflections in the very thick porthole windows showed the background behind me, but I managed a few interesting shots, even right to the other side of the tank where people were looking in windows on the opposite side.

We manage to see everything on display and are only a little behind schedule in getting back to the car and back to Den Haag (The Hague) for our 2.00 p.m. appointment. The whole family is unanimous  this day out has been a total success, even with the combined themes of Fire and Ice (cream)!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 5, 2013

When Fundraising Reaches Scary New Heights…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing from the previous day’s post, we are enjoying the displays and events put on by the Schoonhoven Fire Service as part of  “Open Monumentendag” (Open Monument Day) where various organisations open their doors so that the public can gain an insight to what they do.

One of the things that this local Fire Service also does is to raise funds for various projects and for this  they have an brilliant  idea.

The public can take a ride in the cherry-picker “basket” on the end of the biggest extension ladder and in an ingenious twist the ladder extends from the vertical great height to a horizontal one over the roof of the fire station where a large red bucket (or is it an old oxygen tank?) sits waiting for their donation to be deposited.

Himself and I asked the kids if they wanted a ride in this too and confessed our secret relief to each other afterwards when both children looked horrified at the idea and swiftly declined.

Having no head for heights ourselves we reassured them that not wanting to go on this was absolutely fine with us too and I told Kiwi Daughter afterwards that I found the height that this ladder went to rather scary, so didn’t blame her in the least.

It’s certainly a brilliant idea, and I wish I was brave enough to have enjoyed what must have been some fabulous views from so high up. Maybe if the opportunity ever arises again I should stop being a cowardly lioness and summon some courage to give this a go.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 4, 2013

Pincers to the Rescue: a Coconut Crab Would be Proud…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our family day out in Schoonhoven has taken an unexpected detour as we discover that today is also “Open Monumentendag” (Open Monument Day) when Little Mr. found a local Fire Station giving displays and information.

We arrive just in time to see a crash dummy in a car that’s been in a car  “accident” and a demonstration of how the fire service use their tools and training to cut the car open to extract the “victim”.

It’s amazing to see that sometimes a low tech solution is the best one as a firewoman sticks what looks like a wide roll of heavy duty sellotape onto one of the car windows, after pressing it to the glass she then smashes the glass with a special mallet and hey presto, lifts off all the broken pieces of glass (still in the shape of the window) stuck to the tape for clean, easy and swift disposal.

On the other side of the car a fireman is in the back seat keeping the head and spine of the “victim” stable whilst colleagues use massive hydraulic snipper claws (yes thére’s probably do have an official name for them but I have no clue what it might be) to first remove both the doors from the car body and then chop through the pillars between the front and rear seat section of the car.

There’s a dull thud as the hydraulic claw crunches through the metal… children, definitely not a hands-on toy for you to play with, as it would make rather literal short work of fingers or limbs. The spinal board is levered expertly into the back of the car and I’m surprised to see that once al hands are on deck that getting the “victim” out is a smooth operation that only takes a few minutes.

Mission accomplished, the “victim” is stretchered away for “treatment” and we turn out attention to the “claws” used to extract him…

Humans regularly steal brilliant ideas from nature and Tasmanian King or Coconut Crabs may be two of the biggest crab species in the world, but I dare say they would be very jealous of the pinching power of these man-made claws…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 3, 2013

A Monumental Turn Of Events…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still in Schoonhoven and have sampled the ice-cream and had a look around.

We take a look at the bricante second-hand bric-a-brac market that was advertised in the sign nearby.

We walk back to the car, well at least I’m walking, bringing up the rear as the kids run ahead and  Himself  jogs to keep up with them.

They disappear out of sight but after ten minutes or so Little Mr. runs puffing back and can barely speak he’s so excited.

By sheer co-incidence today when we were in Schoonhoven (the 8th September 2012) happens to be “National Open Monumentendag” in the Netherlands (Open Monuments Day) but it’s not just monuments that are open to the public but all sorts of local, national and international organisations as well.

By sheer chance the parking space that Himself secured earlier is right next to the local fire station and the Schoonhoven Fire Service is talking part in Open Monumentendag too, so there’s a whole display of vehicles and a heap of activities.

This certainly did not escape the attention of our seven year old Emergency Services fanatic who’s arrived back smothering me in hugs and  begging and pleading for me to let him detour there.

We have an appointment back in Den Haag (The Hague) at two, so need to leave at 1 o’clock at the very latest to get there on time, and with our spare hour had intended to stop somewhere for a quick toasted sandwich or pancake on the way back but decide that if we are really quick then we could see the events here and then just grab a sandwich to munch in the car on the way home instead.

Little Mr. almost bounces up the street with joy as he dashes back to tell Himself that Mama didn’t mind having her lunch plans shelved in favour of looking at fire engines. O.K.  what actually what really happened is that he ran back screaming  “Ik mag! ”  (I may!) over and over on the top of his lungs and Himself worked out the rest without any difficulty.

I’ve a good mind to tell the Fire Service that they don’t actually need sirens on their engines and that the “greener” version would be the shrieking joy of seven year old boys who appears to easily outdo the siren in decibels. Behind the Fire Station are a grand assortment of vehicles, and actually it’s an education for me too as I see the huge variety of equipment on board.

I knew that axes and cutting equipment would be standard issue but was surprised to see rakes and brooms there too (for clean up after road accidents or something else?) So much to see … Let’s take a look around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 31, 2012

Requesting a Treaty…

Interestingly the request for a Treaty in New Zealand was instigated not by white (“Pakeha”) settlers but by a contingent of Maori who appealed to the British to help them settle continuous infighting amongst Maori tribes.

For more than a decade Missionaries had been encouraging Maori to set up self governance but there was such disagreement and indeed tribal wars between the Chiefs, that Maori were in grave danger of wiping themselves out before settling their disputes.

The website: http://www.treatyofwaitangi.net.nz/WhyaTreaty.html tells us:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

  After Cook’s three exploratory voyages (commencing) in the 1760’s and the establishment of a British penal colony in Australia, trade and Christianity came to New Zealand.

British, French and American vessels began visiting New Zealand harbours in the late 18th century to refresh and refit.

From the early 1800’s commercial trading started in New Zealand with timber, flax, shore whaling, ship building and general trade with the Maoris and non-Maoris who had established themselves in New Zealand.

By the 1830’s the coast was dotted with trade settlers as well as several missionaries who had also purchased land and set up home.

However, after 1830 purchases of land grew until there were quite large acreages of land owned by non-Maori. By 1839 there were 2000 permanent settlers, 28 onshore fisheries and many commercial ventures in flax, timber and ship building, plus general and domestic trade by non-Maori.

Until 1832 the British or Imperial Government was reluctant to intervene in New Zealand, but as more and more settlers arrived and trade and investments expanded, the British Government felt responsible for her people and their investments as well as the Maori. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

They did pass three acts in 1817, 1823 and 1828 in an attempt to bring law and order, but as New Zealand was outside the British Dominion, these were unsuccessful. In 1820, after Hongi had slaughtered many thousands of the Thames Maoris, they requested that Britain afford them protection.

By the early 1830’s trade between New Zealand had become so intense that there could be up to 30 ships at anchor and 1000 seamen on shore at any one time but still no law to control them or the Maori.

The 1828 Act did empower the courts to deal with crimes by British subjects but these had to be heard in Sydney and therefore it was difficult to get all parties together at the same time.

While British interests and investments continued to increase and become predominant at the time, French and American activity was also on the increase. This worried the British as they were beginning to build up large capital investments in New Zealand but with no protection if  New Zealand were to be annexed by another nation. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many events sparked off Maori appeals to Britain for protection. The first in 1831 when it was rumoured that the French naval vessel La Favourite intended to annex New Zealand to France in retaliation for the killing of Marion du Fresne and his crew.

The Maoris even discussed a letter to the King  but decided on placing a British flag on the mission flagstaff, reasoning that if the French tore it down, the missionaries would appeal to Britain for protection.

After this 13 powerful northern chiefs sent a letter to the King asking him to become their friend, guardian and protector of these islands.

Captain William Hobson was charged with the mission of instigating a Treaty in New Zealand and after a lengthy consultation with Governor George Gipps in Australia, he arrived in New Zealand aboard HMS Herald on the 29th of February 1840, fully briefed on what the Treaty must say.

On the 5th and 6th of February 1840 he  landed at the place now known as Hobson’s Beach (first photo)  and walked up to the Treaty grounds to negotiate the Treaty of Waitangi with the Maori Chiefs. There were more than 500 Maori present and this flagpole designates the spot where they met for the formal negotiations.

It’s also the spot where from 1934 New Zealanders hold the official Waitangi Day ceremonies.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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