The meeting was promptly opened at 1030a.m. by Chairman Roger Bancroft with six apologies from absent members. He also welcomed back Ken Burcher after his recent indisposition. A reminder was given about the A.G.M. on April 29th and the need for any proposals/issues for discussion to Secretary Neil Ramshaw by the end of this week (April 5th). John Taylor advised members that former Chairman and current member Roy Howard was not particularly well at present and also Denis Smith former Registrar and current member was in hospital but sends his good wishes to all.
Today’s Speaker was again a previous visitor Mr Terry Frazier and whose subject topic was ” The Land of the Long White Cloud”. This would turn out to be about Aotearoa (Maori for long white cloud) or as more familiar to us New Zealand. One of the last places to be occupied by humans New Zealand was visited by Maoris probably from Taiwan or the Philippines in 1280 A.D. who came in their war canoes with vegetables/seeds and also edible rats!! The Long White Cloud description came from their knowledge that when they saw such clouds from a distance it was realistic to expect land was underneath. The Maori settlers were undisturbed until Captain James Cook visited and traded in 1770 and then Europeans began to land particularly whalers, sealers and trade merchants. Much of the talk however centred around Terry Frazier and his wife’s three-week tour in 2006 which was backed up with a superb slide show. This displayed New Zealand and its various islands at its very best with tremendous coastlines, lakes , waterfalls , mountains , extinct and active volcanoes , forests along with some outstanding and nostalgic looking towns and cities such as Dunedin , Auckland , Christchurch , Waitongi and Hokitika and made it a very pleasant way to spend the morning. We were also shown some Maori crafts and traditions and scenes of entertainment they provided along with various forms of transport needed to see New Zealand in all its guises although some of the routes were precipitous to say the least! Judging by the response both during the talk and at the end it certainly whetted the appetite as a place to visit , the long extended journey being the major drawback.
Michael Williams gave the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the 32 attendees.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY