(Land of the Long White Cloud)

prepared by Don R. Hender

Much more romantic and picturesque is the Polynesian name for the Islands of New Zealand. New Zealand has two large major Islands, the North Island and the South Island. Approximately 1000 miles from Cape Rangi of the North to the Southern reaches of the Southern Island. New Zealand supports a tropical/sub-tropical climate in the north to a full four season climate in the south. I suppose to a meteorologist it is obvious how the Maori name for the island evolved. As the weather systems come upon the raised lands of the 1,000 miles of the two major islands certainly greatlong weather clouds do appear to enshroud and float never endingly over the island's lands. But to those who just enjoy the land, it is romantic and the cause of why New Zealand is one of the greenest places on earth. And where else could you live in a Hobbit Hole Home?

The Maori is the native people of New Zealand. For their origins beyond other related polynesian groups, I'd would refer you to Thor Heyerdahl and his text, American Indians in the Pacific; and to the fact that 'poly' means being of many. While science points solely to Asia, the facts and logic bare sway that the sweet potato or kumara, the native blood types, physical statures, and the similarity of cultures and languages point to the Americas as the primary origin of these people. At the right is a Maori meeting house or Pah. Note the 'totems' that decorate the Pah.

Like the natives of America, those of the South Seas also relented to the white man's persistence for their lands. New Zealand's British history stems from Captain Cook and Aotearoa being claimed by the British as a Common Wealth country.

King Tawhiao* summarizes the maori. Tawhiao Potatau Wherowhero [Tukaroto Potatau Matutaera Tawhiao] was made the second Maori King in 1860. He was of high lineage, being a direct descendant of Hoturoa, the chief who commanded his ancestral canoe Tainui on the migration from Hawaiki. He opposed the British take over, but in 1884 he visited England with some of his chiefs.

Among other Maori leaders and prophets, King Tawhiao foretold the coming of the Mormons to New Zealand**. He prophesied that missionaries would come in pairs from Kiwa, that they would raise their hands to the square when praying, and that they would instruct them in Maori. He prophesied that the day would come when there would be a great building on Tuhikaramea near Hamilton which is where the LDS Temple and Church College is located today.

I'm kind of glad that it 'came to pass' as the New Zealand Temple is the place that I was married in on December 20, 1969. Actually, I was married twice that day. Once in the visitor's center from whence this photo image was taken, and once in the Temple across the street. New Zealand at that time did not recognize the LDS Temple marriage as a New Zealand legal marriage, thus I was first married 'legally' and then in the temple on the same day.

While the native Maori is not the population's majority race due to Captian Cooks discovery of New Zealand and the British Common Weath system; they certainly have left their mark on the land as many cities, locations, and sites carry their Maori names. One hill's name is:


That's all 83 letters long of it. Say that one three times fast without swallowing your tongue. It just could be hazardous to your health. And think of the tourist t-shirt possibilities here. Talk about far away places with strange sounding names. But it's really not that bad, the 83-letter tongue twister is only a variant of the hill's name. The official name is a mere 57 letters long. Some relief, huh? A Maori dictionary defines the name to mean 'the brow of the hill where Tamatea who sailed all around the land played his nose flute to his lady love.' I hope that his flute melody was a little shorter than the hill's name. (National Geographic, August, 1995) And perhaps you think the cartoon an exageration, note the actual location sign denoting the hill to the public. The offical sign uses only the 57 letters long though there is the 83-letter tongue twister variant as well. It is interesting that the Maori language combines entire taught phrases into one word. Hebrew also uses short abreviations combined to form one name such as 'Jehoshua', which means 'Jehovah the Deliverer'.

Yes, the British ended the Maori's monopoly on the Islands of New Zealand as they did throughout many of the Islands of Polynesia. With the advent of the British to New Zealand, a new population majority took over. And as you can see they have caused quite the traffic jam on their commute to work each morning. I spent 2 years on New Zealand's North Island on a LDS Mission and I know that New Zealand is not just rural farm and forest land. New Zealand has many cities, of which Auckland on the North Island is the largest. Auckland's skyline is no longer dominated by just its Harbor Bridge as it was when I was there.

I don't know if there are a lot of changes since 1969, as the three 'sports' or 'past-times' were then what we would jokingly refer to as 'Rugby', 'Racing' and 'Beer', but certainly the All Blacks are still the talk of New Zealand and the world in Rugby and I imagine that 'Ellerslie (horse) Racecourse' is still in full operation as well. I'd like to see New Zealand again, visit One Tree Hill, the Domain, Ninty Mile Beach and the 'rip tides' flowing seaward off Cape Rangi between the Pacific and Tasmanian or Tasman, Temple View and many many other places. Once in a while I still get to see a Maori Haka, usually being performed by the All Black's team, which just happens to be heavily supplied by full-sized Maori bodies. And with all of this, I haven't even said a word about going fishing in New Zealand.


New Zealand/Aotearoa Guidebook


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* Tawhiao (Tukaroto Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero Tawhiao;[1] died 26 August 1894) was leader of the Waikato tribes, the second Maori King and a religious visionary. He was a member of the Ngati Mahuta iwi (tribe) of Waikato. [Wikipedia]

** "King Tawhaio prophesied that missionaries would come in pairs from Kiwa, that they would raise their hands to the square (when praying); that they would instruct them in Moari. He prophesied that that day would come when there would be a great building on Tuhikaramea near Hamilton (i.e. Templeview where the Morman Temple and College have been located.") ~ ["The Maori and Mormonism", by Ian Barker, Te Kaunihera Moari, Summer Issue 1969.]

“Our church is coming from the east—not a church paid with money. Its ministers go two by two; when they pray they raise their hands. They will not come to go among the Pakeha (Europeans) but will dine, live, talk, and sleep with you. The sign will be the writing of the names of males, females and children. … Those churches that have already come are nothing, but when these come that I speak about, do not disturb them—that will be your church!” King Tawhaio. ~ [Nolan P. Olsen, “New Zealand—Our Maori Home,” Improvement Era, 35 (May 1932):446.]

[Also see: Ensign magazine article here linked.]

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rev. 18 June 2015