Thursday, June 7, 2007

Barden-Barden, a beautiful small town I have visited

Over the past 20 years, I have visited many countries around the world. Although so many years have past, I am still missing a small town named Barden-Barden in the southern Germany. The memory of this town seems to be becoming clearer and clearer in my mind. All buildings and streets in the town remain the classical Roman architectural style. It is said that in the ancient times, the Roman Empire occupied this area. Thats why the whole town keeps the Roman styles so far. There are only around a few thousands of people in this small town. Each year, a large number of people go there for visiting. If you go there, please don't forget to visit the spring fountain. It is an indoor fountain. Men and women share the faountain together. All people are required to remove their clothes off. I mean all people will have to get naked.

Should Matariki Become a New Zealand Public Holiday?

By Buchao

It is only in the recent years that Matariki has been becoming known by more and more New Zealand people. Nowadays, people are paying more and more attention to Matariki. Matariki is not only mentioned in people's routine lives, but also described in many books and magazines. This essay is going to outline the Maori history, iwi and culture, and argure that Matariki should become a New Zealand public holiday.

What is Marariki? Matariki is the Maori name of Pleiades or the Seven Sisters in the Taurus constellation in the sky. Every year, in the last days of May or early June, it rises on the low North-East horizon of New Zealand, just before dawn. It heralds the Maori New Year (Tai Tokerau Tourism (MRTO),page 1).

Some people say that Matariki is only Mario's New Year, and it does not belong to all New Zealanders. They also argue that if Matariki becomes New Zealand's public holiday, then other country's new year, for example, Chinese Spring Festival, can also become New Zealand's public holiday. Firstly, these people have ignored or do not want to accept a fact that in the New Zealand history Maori people were the first people who moved to New Zealand. “The Maori were the first settlers in New Zealand and first came from Polynesia about 1,000 years ago. They occupied almost every area of New Zealand long before Pakeha (European)” (An introduction to the Maori History and Culture, page 1). In Maori language, “Maori” originally meant “local people” (New Zealand in History, page 3). It was only in year 1642 that an European sailor named Tasman found New Zealand, and only after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840, British Government declared sovereignty over New Zealand (New Zealand in History, page 2). Secondly, we should show our respect to the first settlers - Maori people. Maori people are very intelligent and brave people. When they first came to New Zealand, their voyage tools were only canoes. In that time, Matariki was their navigator. Thirdly, New Zealand has 11 public holidays, however, none is related to Maori people. Therefore, why not put a memorial stone for Maori people - commemorate Matariki, and let the Matariki become a New Zealand's public holiday?

Some people argue that in New Zealand the Europeans are the most majority, and the European cultures should dominate our society. However, these people do not realize that Maori culture is one of the most important cultural heritages in New Zealand. Firstly, Maori iwi are the largest social units with unique culture background. “They still have a very strong culture of their own with many traditions which flourish today” (An introduction to the Maori History and Culture, page 1). In the ancient society of Maori history, when Matariki rose each year before dawn, Maori New Years began with so many activities related to their own culture. Matariki was celebrated with education, remembrance and the planting, gathering, weaving, carving, signaling new beginnings. Secondly, Matariki has already become a symbol of Maori culture, and more and more New Zealanders are becoming attracted by its unique culture. Broadcaster and documentary-maker Hakaraia (2004) stated that “Matariki is becoming more profiled around the motu [country], and so it should because it is something unique to our country". Therefore, why not let the Maori culture sparkle in New Zealand, just like the Matariki shinning in the sky? The best way to keep Maori culture sparkling is to make the Matariki become a New Zealand public holiday!

In conclusion, today's Matariki does not only mean the ancient Maori activities which were related to harvest, planting, gathering, weaving, carving or remembering their ancestry, but also more significantly mean that all New Zealand people are celebrating the unique place where we live on, and giving respect to the land we live. In the long Maori history, Maori iwi have made great efforts to contribute themselves to this country. Today, we are sharing the unique Maori culture together with Maori people in this multi-cultural country. It is strongly suggested that Matariki should become a New Zealand's public holiday.

An Introduction to the Maori History and Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved
May24, 2007, from

Hakaraia, L. (2004, June 17). New Zealanders rediscover Marori New
Year. New Zealand Herald . Retrieved May 24, 2007, from

Tai Tokerau Tourism (MRTO), (n.d.), Retrieved May 24, 2007

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


(写于 2004年2月)

My unique experiences in New Zealand

I haven't lived in NZ for a long time. Before I came to this country, I could hardly imagine what this country would be.

Soon after I arrived here, I experienced two events which left me very deep impression. The first event took place in Papatoetoe when I went to a fast cash machine to withdraw some cash. I was thinking of something else while I was operating the machine, and I left the machine after I only
got my cash flow card back. Then someone said from my back, "I think you have forgotten to take back your money, Sir!". I turned around, and saw a lady standing there, just in front of the cash machine, with her finger pointing onto the cash! Oh, my gosh! I forgot to take back my money! I was so surprised that the lady did not take the money away with her. Then later I realized that I was living in New Zealand now.

The other event took place in a midnight when I lost my way in Henderson. It was raining heavily that night, and I completely lost my way home. I was looking at my map at a petrol station when a voice came into my ears, "Can I help you, Sir?". I found a pretty Maori young lady standing about one metre away from me with a sweet smile. The basic instinct told me that I should say "no", because it was in the midnight, and anything could happen. Very soon(about 5 seconds), I found that I was sorry for what I had been worried, because I was in NZ now! Then I answered, "yes, please". The young lady asked me "where are you going?". I said, "I am going to West Harbour". She smiled, and said "Just follow me, I'll show you the way". She left till she had led me to my home!
I was really touched by the NZ people. NZ is a multi-cutural country with so many different ethnic groups. The experiences in NZ are totaly different from what I had suffered or learned in my own country. It is time for Chinese people to reconsider how to behave ourselves. Our society will have to focus on the moral education that makes our people respectable.