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Filed under: General — Downunder @ 11:26 am Wed 28th February 2024

Paihia-(Northland, New Zealand) A small coastal settlement in the Bay of Islands,

The word doesn’t exist in Te Reo (Māori language) and local legend on the tourist track will tell you a story about the word being part Māori ‘Pai’ (good) and part English ‘hia’ (here).

Good here in the early 1800s was the Christian side of the Harbour, on the right side as you sailed in, opposite Kororăreko (The Hellhole of the Pacific) which has an equally mischievous story about ‘penguin soup’.

Te Reo is a Pagan conceptual language and the word more likely means a place of many things, a place to watch the sunrise, a place of wonder, a place to fish, a place of song.

Paihia is quite accurately all of that by description, and you could easily reflect on that, sitting across the harbour in Kororăreko (now Russell) watching the sun set over the hills behind the township.

Before the Covid Pandemic Paihia was a world renowned tourist tryst – a must see, must do, for the younger generation, to fall in love with the place and many did, finding cheap accommodation in the lodges and work in the vibrant tourist sector with its associated Mardi Gras mix of amateur and professional mussos.

A truly international experience, where you could spend time with someone from every continent and many more countries in one day.

An interesting array of travellers and a mix of many philosophical views. A Jew that hated religion and a German that told his mum it was such a wonderful place she came to visit while he was there, and so many accents, from Welsh to everyday Australian – a sense of what the community might have been like pre-treaty, where local commerce and creativity prospered in isolation from civilization.

To pick one conversation though, among the many would be one with a young European traveller and her view of the future (These young tourist types typically held a much more definitive view than Kiwi kids) where her thoughts brought to mind George Bush Junior on the 6 o’clock news last century saying, “We come in the name of God.”

She knew exactly what I was talking about. “My grandfather told me about this.” She replied.
She went on to recount his views of it being a sad day and the start of a war we would regret.

How quickly all that changed – old normal out the door and in with the new.

We would be left fighting for that, our freedom of movement, our freedom of expression, our freedom to create, all that had existed quite happily in one small place at the end of the earth.

Shaz, was equally interesting, the young Jewish woman that hated religion. I took the opposite view though that civilization wouldn’t have gotten this far without it – the damage, the suffering the human cost wasn’t worth it in her opinion and sitting in Paihia then no doubt supported her world view which would likely never sway – especially now with the Middle East looking to have descended into an unstoppable battle for the Holy City.

War has no doubt over time killed more men than disease and progress or desperation been the cause rather than religion – now as we watch, it’s a sideshow to economy as civilisation is taken to the edge of existence by the competiting desires of the elite.


  1. I have a stamp collecting book, listing all the NZ post offices.
    Each place is real, and like Paihia has a story.
    A rare postmark, says it was a small place even temporary.
    Thousands of places, many names no longer existing in use.
    I suspect many names are strange, as to having a meaning.

    I even have a Palestine stamp collection, not many but I have them.
    With the postmark for the town, is it a town that got destroyed.
    People just living there lives, until the terrorists came.
    The towns of Palestine still stand, as rubble and ruined homes.
    Yet some say there’s no Palestine, it never happened.
    What an interesting turn of events, it’s almost predictable.
    The terrorists win, and then years later become the victim.
    The victim loses, and then years later become the terrorists.
    Now the terrorists are the victim, and the victims are the terrorists.
    From the river to the sea, meaning it will all now be Israel.
    Geez it’s hard to keep track, which one was the terrorist.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Wed 28th February 2024 @ 7:56 pm

  2. I saw a video on chimpanzees, the top male has three years.
    In the beginning he has mates, deposing the top male.
    But over time, he eventually finds himself alone.
    All the other males are now rivals, time at the top is short.

    There is a lot of evolution, between us and chimpanzees.
    When we were the same, is that how we behaved.
    Male humans fighting for power, that’s how you have children.
    The woman just carry on, as if nothing’s happening.
    Who they have sex with changes, but otherwise life as normal.

    I think by a huge margin, men are the cause of war.
    Those primitive instincts, a desire for absolute power.
    NZ nearly copies the chimpanzees, with elections every three years.
    You have got three years, then your getting kicked out.
    Sadly for many nations, men keep power as long as they can.
    The leader with friends in the beginning, slowly becomes alone.
    Nations can get stuck with leaders, and there’s no new ideas.
    Humans go to the next level, the leaders will even kill the rival.

    The world has many elections this year, many want the top job.
    A difference exists with the chimpanzee, it becomes one sided.
    Humans become polarised, you have the left or right.
    A bad human can keep winning, a bad chimpanzee always loses.
    Who then has the right formula, how important is change.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Thu 29th February 2024 @ 7:06 pm

  3. What a strange thing, to have a holy city or site.
    You can’t argue about them, the Jews did have temples there.
    The Jews murdered Jesus there, and Muhammad was taken there.
    All three things may be true, but it’s still all just religious.

    Where is Buddha or his tree, where did Confucius write.
    What are we making holy, if we look those places are everywhere.
    For New Zealand, it can be the treaty grounds.
    It doesn’t need to be about God, to be an important holy place.

    There are places in my own life, that are important to me.
    They have value to me, just as the holy places have value to others.
    Real things happened there, but it all becomes imaginary.
    You can forget that something happened, then it has no value.

    I hope we never have places, that we end up fighting over.
    Whatever made them holy, turns them into memorials to the dead.
    The real meaning gets lost, humans ruined what was good.
    If you measure it, that place becomes not worth the loss of life.

    A place of paradise can be easy to find, the posts picture an example.
    It may be temporary to sit there, buts it’s a nice place to be.
    It’s much easier to blame God, for those places.
    And much easier to blame humans, for the holy places.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Sat 2nd March 2024 @ 12:26 pm

  4. For a period of time, it was like a major city for NZ.
    That was likely a first stop, for any arriving ship.
    It’s interesting the two places, how different they were.
    One had no morality, the other was trying to have some.

    It’s an example to study, a town or place that is lawless.
    What starts to happen, when there is no functioning government.
    In the end the people of Paihia, were on the right side of history.
    NZ became very Christian, we got government and the rule of law.

    Look at what happens, when you lose the rule of law.
    Haiti is an example, while its neighbours are doing well.
    The neighbours have functional government, they are peaceful.
    Gangs with guns wanting power, can’t end well for Haiti.

    We have come a long way in 200 years, from lawless to now.
    Trying to be moral, was better than gangs and immorality.
    We became a first world nation, because we tried to be like Paihia.
    Christianity can be blamed, because it’s about trying to be good.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Sat 9th March 2024 @ 12:19 pm

  5. The book “Kitty” by Deborah Challiner which is a feminist expose of Paihia is a historical novel from that time period.

    Worth a read for some context.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Sat 9th March 2024 @ 9:14 pm

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