New Zealand was the subject of February’s Probus Club talk in The Bedford Hotel. Lou Fletcher gave members a colourful description of the North Island from its creation, 85 million years ago. Today, New Zealand is an island full of amazing and sometimes dangerous features with its hot lakes, volcanic disturbances, ancient trees but, above all, wonderful scenery.
The island was first sighted by a Dutch seafarer, Abel Tasman, in 1642 and was named Nieuw Zeeland after the western province of Zeeland in the Netherlands. Tasman met stiff resistance from the Maoris and never went ashore. Captain James Cook sighted the island on 6 October 1769 and landed there two days later.
The island’s Kauri tree
The island’s Kauri tree is one of the world’s oldest species and grows to a height of 160 feet. Early visiting sailors found the trunk of this tree ideal for ships masts and settlers used the wood for building. The trees are now protected by preservation orders. Lou showed members an ornate chopping board made from wood which was 40,000 years old.
Lou’s presentation included photos of the geothermic hot pools which are a favourite tourist attraction. They were originally used by the Maoris, not only for therapeutic benefits but also for washing and dying clothes and cooking meat and fish.
The vote of thanks was ably delivered by John Wall. Our March talk is on pottery design. Tavistock Probus Club is always pleased to welcome new members.
If you would like more information, please have a word with our secretary on 01822 615669.