Showing posts from July, 2015

My Claim to Royalty

Last week I learned something interesting about myself. It turns out that my whanau on my mum’s side, is descended from royalty. And some serious royalty. I have a royal whakapapa (genealogy).
It all goes back forty generations to a certain Rollo (Hrólfr, Rou(f)). While his origins are fiercely disputed between Norwegian and Danish historians, he was clearly a Norse Viking, and the first duke of Normandy (c. 846–932).
In the family line he is followed by five dukes of Normandy, William I (Longsword), Richard I, II, III, and Robert I. These reigned Normandy in what is now Northern France from 911 to 1066 when the Duke of Normandy, William, conquered England—the Battle of Hastings. I am thus a descendant of William the Conqueror, otherwise known as “William the Bastard”—not because he was a nasty piece of work, although I am sure he was, but because he was illegitimate. He reigned until 100.
After him in my family line comes Henry I also known as Henry Beaulerc (reigned 1100–1135), E…

What is a Kiwi?

What is a Kiwi? Well, according to the it is “Any of several flightless birds of the genus Apteryx native to New Zealand, having vestigial wings and a long slender bill. Also called apteryx.” This led me to look up vestigial wings, which are apparently things on the body that have lost most or all of their ancestral function; in the case of the Kiwi, the ability to fly.

The dictionary also lists a Kiwifruit as a Kiwi. It is interesting in the light of this blog post that originally the Kiwifruit was Chinese. It originated from north, central, and eastern China and was commonly called the Chinese Gooseberry. It spread to NZ from China in the early 20th century. So, the Kiwifruit which has become a quintessential kiwi icon is an immigrant from China. Interesting.

The dictionary gives another meaning, and this is the meaning that interests me: a Kiwi is “a New Zealander.” Now in popular NZ culture, the term “Kiwi” is not quite used as the Dictionary suggests. Usually,…