Thursday, April 22, 2004
KIWIS AND CRITICAL MASS: We note with very mixed emotions one of the most frightening headlines seen on the web in a long time, about New Zealand. According to "NZ nearly became French", "If things had gone differently, New Zealand could have become a French possession. English Captain James Cook in 1769 became the first European to step ashore in New Zealand, closely followed by France's Jean du Surville. ... A French settlement was created in August 1840 in Akaroa in the South Island but had it been three months earlier some historians believe it could have led to the whole of South Island being annexed by France. More recently, relations between New Zealand and France were soured by French nuclear testing in the South Pacific, which only ended in 1996. Relations reached a low point when French spies in 1985 bombed the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour, sinking it and killing one man." On the one hand, at least the French, judging by their righteously cold-blooded policy toward those bleeding hearted whale lovers, would not have followed the pacifistic NZ policy of denying the U.S. Navy the right to dock there unless we gave assurances that we were not carrying nuclear weapons -- which as a policy, we refused to do. But on the other hand, the island would have been French. It's so hard to choose, when you're rewriting history.