Great Kiwi First Christmas

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December 21, 2012 by astraltravels

It seems that Great Kiwi Firsts is doing pretty well. Every store I’ve been into recently has been down to its last few copies before Christmas. I’m so pleased! It’s been a busy year, and it’s so hard to believe that it was only a year ago that I really started doing the research for this book.

Some really nice feedback coming in too: “An easy read with nice shots of humour coming through”, “I’m loving the book, it’s quite inspirational!”, “Well-written and yet easy to read, what a great book!”

Aww, gives me warm fuzzies to hear that. Keep it coming – even if you have more critical feedback.

So, as this will be the last post I make before Christmas,  I thought I’d include a few Christmas themed firsts.

  • On Christmas Day of 1815, Samuel Marsden held the first recorded Christian service on New Zealand soil at Oihi Bay. The local chief, Ruatara, who had met Marsden on a ship returning to Australia from England, interpreted the sermon for his people.
  • New Zealand’s best-loved Christmas carol (do you know what it is?) was first performed in New Zealand by an Australian choir in 1959.
  • It is probable that French explorer Jean Francois Marie de Surville and his crew, which included a Dominican priest, had a sacred and merry celebration of their own aboard the vessel Saint Jean Baptiste, anchored in Doubtless Bay on 25 December 1769.
  • In late December 1642, Abel Tasman and the crew on the Dutch ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen anchored east of Stephens and D’Urville islands, and a Christmas pork dinner along with a fair bit of yuletide wine helped them bide their time waiting out a Wellington weather bomb before their planned crossing of Cook Strait. In stormy seas at the tip of the country in 1769, James Cook and his Endeavour crew feasted on ‘Goose pye’. But instead of goose, the pie filling was made from a gannet that Joseph Banks, the ship’s botanist, shot for the meal.


And to close, here’s a little quote from Alan MacDiarmid – New Zealand Nobel Prize winner and the man who developed a way for plastics to conduct electricity (and therefore helped the development of things such as touchscreen smart phones that you may receive in your Christmas stocking) that really touched me (see page 134 of GKF for the full quote):

Everyone expects ‘the important things’ in life such as birthday and Christmas presents but it is the ‘little unimportant’ actions which actually are the real important things. These put the flesh on the skeleton of any relationship. Several hundred of these each week—the unimportant, the unexpected, the unnecessary; ‘the little things’ are the things that really count.

Merry Christmas to all! Thanks for reading my book and my blog. Safe travels and enjoy your holiday and remember it’s the little things that add up to the great things in life.


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