Amazing New Zealand
National Film Unit, 1964
Way back in the 1500s, Magellan sailed into the great silence of an unknown sea.
He discovered an ocean. The largest expense of water on the globe, So calm,
-hey, so calm!
He called it the Pacific and he put it on the maps and colored it blue . All the big island's enclosing this ocean have also been discovered now.
Over here America, oh and the 50th state Hawaii.
and over on this, side China and Japan.
Away down at the bottom Australia.
Er... thank you!
But people are still discovering the blue Pacific for here as scattered the Isles beneath the wind, the most beautiful spots on earth.
The romantic South Sea Islands.
This particular one, is amazing New Zealand!
For these two, the New Zealand really has two main islands.
These are the isles of astonishment. Full of surprises. Where nothing's as you'd expect it to be.
For instance you'd expect to find this kind of thing in the south seas, and sure enough you might too!
On special occasions, Māori New Zealanders get dressed up and give demonstrations.
But your first impression of New Zealand's much more likely to be something like this. Odd? but everything's odd down here, it's an extraordinary country.
To start with, the first European to find New Zealand was a Dutch sea captain who was looking for something quite different, so he sailed past and never set foot on it, and they named this land uplifted high, after Zealand in Holland, which is as flat as a pancake.
Then the capital, Wellington was named after a famous British general. The Duke of Wellington. Whose only connection with the place, seems to have been his reluctance to have anything to do with it.
Today, still, with a certain bronze indifference he looks out from his hilltop, onto the city below enfolding the deep blue harbour.
Wellington's a city of hills. The buildings sit in the sun on the steep slopes like spectators at a ballgame.
When they wanted flat land for commerce, they filched it from the sea, and city's streets follow the curve of the old beaches and bays.
Packed into these long slim islands, is everything you'd see on a world tour. Take Lakes for instance. There are hundreds of them.
They have them serene and cold, and smoking hot and very weird, some are deep and friendly others still, quiet and blue as the sky one is even upside down.
Is this a lake or the sea?
The ducks and seagulls don't seem to be able to make up their minds. but it's an upside-down country.
Winter's in June. It's summer in January. In summer, you see the sheep being mustered, up in the southern high country.
Here it takes six acres to support one sheep. In the north on the other hand they pasture six sheep to one acre. Counting sheep's supposed to send you to sleep. It seems to have the opposite effect on the sheep.
You'd be impressed by all the flowers.
The icy purity of the sub-alpines, contrasts with the hot reds and yellows of the tropics.
A sweet sharp perfume tugs your glance upward to what they call a cabbage tree but it isn't a cabbage at all, actually it's the world's largest lily.
But these are trees. The biggest man-made forests in the world. Exotic pines grow to maturity, in only 25 years, and they farm them and harvest them like any other crop.
New Zealand trees don't shed their leaves, they stay green all the year round and the folks get quite excited when they see the colors of the England's begin to burn with the fires of autumn.
Many of these trees were planted in the early days, when men searching for gold moved into the mountain valleys. All the gold that's left will soon be falling, but the mountains are still steadfastly there.
A great chain of glittering peaks . 17 of them over 10,000 feet, covering an area larger than the whole of Switzerland. But here, even the mountains have to be different. This one with a boiling lake, cupped in its icy fingers . Mountain climbing's hard work. You'll work up an appetite.
In New Zealand it'd be a good idea to take along a few eggs with you just in case.
Where else would you find golf and geysers? or mud jumping like frogs? or looking like beautiful pale petaled flowers? Of course you'll need a guide in some of these areas, and you see some odd signs as you get around.
Now glaciers you'll find are fascinating things, at close quarters.
Great rivers of ice, tumble down the steep mountain valleys but they're frozen into slow motion and they move barely two feet a day, groaning and creaking and longing to be free.
Some of the glaciers in these islands are marvelous for they come right down into the forests of trees and ferns and melt away to the song of birds.
Only ten miles away from the glaciers, is the coast, where the ocean weaves an endless tapestry of sand.
About 6,000 miles of indented coastline, is strung with wonderful beaches, all kinds of them.
Palms and ferns shelter warm bays of silver sand. Sea for two, and a beach of gold. A little cove's where the ocean swells slides quietly in towards the trees . The rich green soup made from this shellfish was a national delicacy.
Now most of it sent overseas to the world's gourmets, but here you can try your luck at catching the sporting Toheroa. You dig and so does the Toheroa and if you dig quicker than he does, you get your soup!
Oh and talking of food, further down the coast are the Pancake Rocks.
Millions of them, cut and molded by the sea and piled up like stacks of flapjacks, to bake in the hot sun.
It's remarkable what you can do with limestone if you have the patience.
Limestone is responsible for this display too. Where the world's largest freshwater spring is trapped and then released at the rate of 475 million gallons a day.
Not much point to it though, nobody really seems to want so much water all at once.
Generally speaking people haven't much time for eels either, and yet a little food, infinite patience and you can grow to love them and have them eating out of your hand.
The great big ugly things.
Trout though, they're different.
While you're feeding them, you can be wishing they were providing a meal for you.
What about some lunch honey? I just couldn't face it. It'll be that everlasting hash again!
The anglers catch 970,000 trout every year. Not here of course, it would be no fun, if it was as easy as this. These trout are tame and rather bored. But the big game fish are wild and angry, and you could be feeding them in quite a different way if you weren't smart! Fishermen from all over the world bring their catch back into this bay.
A beautiful harbour of islands.
The main cities are on the sea too.
Auckland's built on 62 volcanic cones, scattered over a narrow neck of land between two oceans. It's a gay city of trees and bright sunshine, and it's Island dotted harbours are butterflied with yachts.
In this race for home-built boats, the kids won't lose if they tip over.
In fact they can't win if they don't! being able to capsize and right the boat quickly is one of the requirements of the race.
Dunedin... ah, Dunedin's different. Quiet, sedate, a city of Greystone, whose founders came from Scotland in the early days. Yes, a little bit of Edinburgh in the southern seas.
And then here in New Zealand's Christchurch you'd swear you're in England . English trees . English weather . English architecture.
There's even a river Avon meandering through the city, and lilacs in the squares, and girls called Mary.
This jungle like forest, the New Zealanders for some reason call bush, and the odd thing is that in spite of its tropical appearance it's perfectly safe, there are no snakes or harmful animals in the country and they won't even let you bring in your own.
If you do come across something unpleasant it's probably your own fault. Or your wife's.
The native snail though, is an oddity.
Its carnivorous, but the experts don't explain, how it ever darts around quickly enough to catch anything.
Legend has it, this mountain was a God, romantic and beautiful. He fell in love with another mountain, and had to be driven off by a jealous husband.
Today, Taranaki stands a mountain in a meadow, ostracized and alone, sadly mourning his lost mistress.
Ngauruhoe has a different story. Far back in the past, a native chief was overcome with cold as he climbed towards the summit.
"Help!" he cried to the gods, and they obligingly turned on the central heating, and warmed him. The chief of course has long since joined his ancestors, but the gods have apparently forgotten to turn the equipment off and still it smokes away.
One of the sights of the Northern Island. Thermal activity is frightening, interesting, or boring, depending on which way you look at it.
Audacious engineers have sunk bores down into Hell's Kitchen and the steam that's rushing out gives you some idea of what's cooking down there.
The angry steam is tamed and harnessed and finally gallops happily along in a team of pipes to a power house where it's quickly converted into electricity.
Something odd's been going on underground here too, for a long time. A careless move, and you could snap 800 years off one of these with your elbow.
In the eerie silence of these caves is one of the wonders of the world.
You drift in a boat on an underground river and look out into infinite space.
The Milky Way glows with a strange blue light and galaxies glide across the heavens past constellations of stars and then they tell us this miracle is performed by damp little worms, hanging from the roof with their tails all lit up to attract their food!
The tail of the Takahe isn't lit up, but it's terribly twitchy.
This is quite a bird. For it was thought to be extinct. Then, not long ago, a startling discovery. In an unexplored region in the South someone suddenly saw a blue flash of feathers. This rare bird had actually survived after all.
Now the Kiwi is about as odd as they come. He taps around like a blind man with a stick for he can hardly see a thing in the daytime.
He has no wings, no tail. He's got feathers like hair, and his nose is at the end of his beak and perpetually dirty, oh and he lays an egg nearly as big as himself. Himself? Er... herself!
Here's as peculiar bird as the Kiwi.
Almost as odd is the Tuatara. A living fossil left over from the dinosaurs. In spite of his appearance, he's perfectly harmless. Rather a pet, in fact. He lives for hundreds of years, and this one was probably sitting on this very rock, looking much as he does today, when the pilgrims were landing at Plymouth. Wherever you go down here you come across the unexpected.
You fish one of the lovely streams, you really get that outsize trout, then if you like, you can cook it in a boiling pool, right on the spot.
Trouble is that it'd probably taste terrible, but you can guarantee, it'd be delicious grilled this way.
Throughout the two islands, waterfalls, like the lakes, are everywhere.
They're are all sizes, all shapes and they all fall downwards.
There does appear to be a little confusion here however, this one's all mixed up, and can't make up its mind if it's a waterfall or a fountain. Of course, by this time, you're not surprised to find they have fjords too, in New Zealand.
Marvellous granite canyons, probing deep into the land. Vertical walls 4,000 feet high, slide straight down into water, so deep, that no vessel can find an anchorage.
Part of the country around here is still actually unexplored, locked away and secret behind the mountains, but that's just another of the constant surprises, you'll never run out of in this country.
There's a whole world here, jam packed into the mere 1000 miles of these twin Islands.
Amazing New Zealand!
In the southern seas.
Where only seeing is believing.
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