Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Waitangi Day

It is our national holiday this week. February 6. Celebrated on the anniversary of the day that the first Chiefs signed the Treaty with the English in a tent on the lawn at Mr Busby's home in Kororareka (now Russell) in the Bay of Islands.

It was contentious at the get-go, and those feelings of doubt and the shady translation at the time have permeated through our history ever since. Land Wars and Treaty settlements where land has been given back to the affected iwi. 

A lot of the discontent hinges on the meaning of sovereignty - and I'm not going to go into that in case I get it all wrong. But I do imagine it must have been difficult for the English translators to have been able to find the "right" words to convey just what the English understood sovereignty to be.

I came across an article reported in at least two Australian newspapers a month after the signing took place. It is quite long so I have only included part of it here. I was interested to see that one of the Englishmen who acted as translator was the Rev Williams who lived at the mission with his wife and quite substantive family (eleven children). This man is a direct ancestor of my neighbour.

This is the part of the article that refers to the day the signing began. The day before had been taken up with the address, then the reading and translating of the treaty. Much discussion was held afterward with concerns raised and debated, and a decision to allow time to reflect and consider the proposals.

New Zealand. (1840, February 26). The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (NSW : 1838 - 1841), p. 4 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved February 2, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32167331

I love that all that is documented for the following day is the comment about the weather !

The next portion in this report from New Zealand was about the arrival of the first wave of settlers to Port Nicholson (Wellington). They were disappointed ? What did they expect to find on their arrival ? A fully functioning settlement ? They were the first settlers arriving there for goodness sake. I hope they made a concerted effort to establish the town, so that when my first emigrant ancestors arrived in mid 1841, they were not disappointed with what they saw.

New Zealand. (1840, February 26). The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser (NSW : 1838 - 1841), p. 4 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved February 2, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article32167331

Nowadays, the official Waitangi Day celebrations take place on the marae at Russell. In many towns and cities around the country local communities hold festivals and events which embrace the many cultures of our people as we strive to become a harmonious multicultural society.

This post forms part of Trove Tuesday as suggested by Amy, from Branches, Leaves & Pollen.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Lost in a sea of belongings and "keep-me's"

Why do I have so much stuff ?

I'll tell you - its because I have never lived in the same place for so long ever before in my life, and every little piece of paper I have ever touched has multiplied itself a thousand-fold.

Well, it is time to stop. Life was so much simpler when there was less. I have made a start.

Over Christmas  I filled destruction bins with lots of paper, boxes and bags with books, clothes and other "stuff" I really have no need for, and donated them to local charities.

But still there is more.

Tonight I have emptied half of my garage into someone else's life. That felt so good. I don't care if they chuck it out - but at least they can decide.

I have so much craft paraphernalia I could start my own shop. If only I could actually find the time to start some of the projects that have inspired me to buy all these bits. I'm thinking it will all need to go. But where ? There must be a fair fortune of paper, embellishments, paint and fixings here. I don't really want to just give it away, but maybe I will.

I have a goal, and that is to live a less cluttered life.

Books I will keep and photos (for one day I might need photos if my mind cant store all the memories - who knows ?) But actual possessions ? furniture and furnishings ? clothes ? There isn't much in that vein that really pulls on my heart strings.

Family tree discoveries and research notes - I'm trying to eliminate the amount of paper by checking the discoveries have all been updated on my genealogy programme, or saved in a soft copy somewhere on my computer or within an account on the net. I've actually made a lot of progress with this part. Although if I am tempted to get distracted I often find myself adding to the pile instead of taking away. Oh well. Little steps on the journey.

I have Christmas decorations for Africa. I'm one of those people who love Christmas, and I like themes. So I have a collection of things - bright ethnic sorts of baubles, red and white, green, gold, black and silver - what to keep ?

In two weeks, I want to be living in a less cluttered home, one that is tidy and ordered and has no distractions for me that might let me fall back into old patterns.

Patterns ? Did someone say patterns ? I have some of those too; sewing, knitting, cross stitch.

Watch this space - its going to get bigger and clearer. I mean it. Once I finish this.