Asian-Pacific Month- Travels to New Zealand

We packed our bags for our next journey this time south of the equator.   This land was one of high mountains, volcanoes, fjords, waterfalls and beaches.  For most people, the word “fjord” conjures up thoughts of Scandinavia and the frozen North.   But New Zealand, is a surprise to many,  because it can boast some of the world’s best fjords — hemmed by towering cliffs, fantastically deep and stretching like long, crooked fingers from the Tasman Sea into some of New Zealand’s most lush and remote scenery.  It was amazing to us that you can be at a beach and only go 75 miles to get there.  There is a North Island and a South Island.   We have to travel many more to get to a beach in North Carolina.  We don’t have volcanoes!

They have mountains called the Southern Alps.

We saw some flightless birds.  They developed differently then other birds because originally there were no natural prey trying to get them.  The kiwi is one of these birds.  The giant weta (large insect) lives there and can be as big as 3 mice.

We learned that the Maori people greet each other by rubbing  their noses together.  The men originally did a loud chant that scared away enemies.  Today the All Blacks rugby team does this loud chant.  Wonder if they are trying to intimidate their opponents?  They also like to play cricket.  We aren’t sure what cricket is but it has a ball and bat so we think it might be like baseball.

Students wear uniforms to school.  You go to school 13 years where we only have 12 years.

There are many types of transportation.  There are four large cities.  The capital is Wellington which is between the two islands.  This is not the largest city.

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were filmed there and made New Zealand popular.

They have sheep and cows.

They have lots of rain and a mild temperate climate and have sun .map of New Zealand


In New Zealand, they have 14 flightless birds.  Two are the Kokopa and the kiwi which are both flightless birds.  In New Zealand they grow things like Kiwi and grapes.   There is a parrot that likes snow and the only parrot that ate meat, sheep meat that is and it is lucky they stopped.  In New Zealand they have a special greeting putting noses together.  In New Zealand they have 20 active volcanoes.  They call hiking trekking in New Zealand.  The first person to climb Mount Everest trained in the mountains of New Zealand.   The sing songs from the Maori people.


The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings was made there.  There is a bug called a weta and there are 5 types of weta.  New Zealand is safe.  New Zealand police don’t carry guns.  New Zealand is in the South.  New Zealand has a famous rugby team called the All Blacks.  And it’s national bird is the Kiwi.  And they grow kiwi!   New Zealand people are called Maori.  New Zealand is near Australia and Antarctica   If you are coming from Los Angeles, California to New Zealand you have to stop in Hawaii first.  It can take a whole day to travel there from here.  New Zealand has a parrot that lives in the cold and that is the only parrot that lives in the cold.



Native Americans (USA), Aboriginal Cultures (Australia), Maori (New Zealand)


We’ve been busy comparing three cultures from around the globe.   With the help of Ross Mannell we explored the Aboriginal cultures in Australia, the Maori cultures in New Zealand and the Native Americans in the USA.  We made pictures of what we thought life would look like for the different groups.

What do they all have in common?  What are the differences?

  1. They all valued the land and took care of it.   
  2. They respect and honor nature and animals.
  3. They are spiritual and have stories told from one generation to the next.
  4. They  only used what they needed .  They were hunters, gathers and some tribes  practiced agriculture and fishing.
  5. They often celebrated with dances and song.
  6. Their homes were made  from twigs, grasses, sticks and things from nature.
  7. They were the first people in their country.
  8. Each group/tribe/clan lived in different places so they had different tools, weapons, clothes, homes and foods depending on what area of the country they were from.
  9. Unlike Native Americans, no formal treaties existed with Aboriginal people. It’s only in modern times the status of Aboriginal people as the first Australians has been recognized through land rites and respect of their culture.  They told stories on bark, cave walls and rocks with their drawings.   Men could play the didgeridoo and women could not.   They hunted with spears and boomerangs.     Each clan had a name.  Animals were done with dot art.  Turtles, kangaroos, dingos, emus were painted on the cave walls and used on boomerangs.
  10. The Maori belong to the Polynesian group.  They believed they were the caretakers of the land for the next generation.  They shared dreamtime stories that told about creation and how things came to be.   They celebrate with dances and songs.   They wear tattoos on their faces and bodies.  There are many different clans.

Some facts about the Cherokee one Native American/American Indian tribe… in North Carolina.

  • The Cherokee Indians are believed to have broken away from the Iroquois.
  • The Cherokee Nation once stretched from the Ohio River to South Carolina
  • They raised crops of corn, beans and melon (known as the 3 sisters) & tobacco.  The corn provided stalks up which the beans could grow; the beans added nourishing nitrogen to the soil; the squash spread out and prevented weeds from taking over .  (We saw this in the BrainPop Jr. video about Native Americans helping the Pilgrims with our Thanksgiving study.)
  • The Cherokee hunted deer, bear and gathered plants for food and trade.
  • I-85 (runs through Charlotte near Monroe NC) use to be an old Indian route used for trade
  • The Cherokee language has an innovative writing system that was invented by the Cherokee scholar Sequoyah.  Sequoyah’s writing system is a syllabary. That means one character represents each syllable. (Another language that uses a syllabary today is Japanese.)
  • Like their distant cousins the Iroquois,  the Cherokee Indians had an even division of power between men and women.  Cherokee men were in charge of hunting, war, and diplomacy. Cherokee women were in charge of farming, property, and family. Men made political decisions for the tribe, and women made social decisions for the clans. Chiefs were men, and landowners were women. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.  Now women can be chiefs.  Men can be farmers.
  • Cherokee houses were made of river cane and plaster, with thatched roofs.
  • There are many traditional Cherokee legends and fairy tales. Story-telling is very important to the Cherokee Indian culture.  ( The Maori culture has their dreamtime stories about creation and how things came to be).
  • Creeks, Chicksaws, and Shawnees were other tribes that were sometimes enemies and sometimes friends.
  • Each Cherokee tribe has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country.  However, Cherokee Indians are also US citizens and must obey American law.
  • During the 1800’s, the US government created an “Indian Territory” in Oklahoma and sent all the eastern Native American tribes to live there. This was called the Trail of Tears and many Cherokee died on the journey there.   Some tribes willingly agreed to this plan. Other tribes didn’t want to go, and the American army forced them. The Cherokee tribe was one of the largest eastern tribes, and they didn’t want to leave their homeland.  Some Cherokee are still located in North Carolina along with Oklahoma.  The ones in North Carolina live on a reservation.   They still hold ceremonies  make baskets and art work and have a large tourist industry with visitors each year to the mountains of North Carolina.
  • Traditional Cherokee art  included pipe craving , river cane baskets,  gourd art, and pottery. After moving to Oklahoma, the Cherokees couldn’t get the materials they used to use for traditional crafts, so they concentrated on other crafts like beadwork and blankets.
  • Cherokee (Tsalagi) language is spoken.
  • What do you think environmentally friendly farming – sustainable farming   

  •     Is it new or an old concept from the past?  Do you think these groups practiced this before it became popular with today’s society?

  • Do you think the landforms determined how these different groups lived and what they believed?

  • What is your opinion about our responsibility to the land, plants and animals found on it?

Maori Welcome Song

Where do you find the Maori language?  What do you know about the Maori culture?

Room 113 students had a chance on Thursday to learn a welcome song.   Ms. Lologa and her students  at New Town taught us the words to a new song as we skyped with them.

Tena Koe – Hello to one

Tena Korua Hello to two

Tena Koutou – Hello to all

Haere mai everyone, Welcome everyone