1869 map of New Zealand’s Māori iwi & confiscated land

1869 map of iwi boundaries and confiscated land.
[Click to enlarge] “Sketch map of the North Island of New Zealand shewing native tribal boundaries, topographical features, confiscated lands, military and police stations, etc. 1869.” – Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZ Map 471.
This 1869 map of New Zealand’s North Island shows Māori iwi (tribal) boundaries, confiscated land, location of armed police and military bases, and where gold was found.

It’s fascinating in many ways, not least because it shows the staggering amount of land confiscated in the Waikato – more than 1.2 million acres. The confiscations were made under the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863.

From a Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa entry on Māori land rights:

The Crown created various laws in the 1860s to allow it to take land. The New Zealand Settlements Act 1863 allowed it to confiscate the land of North Island iwi deemed to have rebelled against the Crown. The Public Works Act 1864 let it take land for roads, railways, and other public works.

The Native Land Court, established in 1865 (and renamed the Māori Land Court in 1954), encouraged Māori to sell land to private buyers. But the Crown remained the biggest purchaser. It on-sold most of its Māori land, often for a profit.

By 1939, almost 100 years after the Treaty was signed, Māori retained just 1 percent of the South Island and 9 percent of the North Island. Land losses continued as the 20th century progressed, again supported by legislation.

You might also be interested in:

Map of New Zealand’s Māori Iwi – evolvingnewsroom
The New Zealand Wars – Te Ara
1863 land confiscation law – nzhistory.net
Excerpts from James Belich’s TV series The New Zealand Wars – NZ On Screen
Books about the New Zealand Wars – Te Ara
Timeline of the New Zealand Wars – newzealandwars.co.nz
How to Add Macrons to Māori Words – evolvingnewsroom


Interactive map of global shipping routes

Kiln and the UCL Energy Institute have created shipmap.org, a fascinating interactive map that tracks global shipping for a year (2012).

Screengrab of shipmap.org
How the map looks with all the routes selected. Click on image to go to shipmap.org

Here’s how it works:

The merchant fleet is divided into five categories, each of which has a filter and a CO2 and freight counter for the hour shown on the clock:

  • Container (e.g. manufactured goods): number of container slots equivalent to 20 feet (i.e. a 40-foot container takes two slots)
  • Dry bulk (e.g. coal, aggregates): combined weight of cargo, fuel, water, provisions, passengers and crew a vessel can carry, measured in thousand tonnes
  • Tanker (e.g. oil, chemicals): same as dry bulk
  • Gas bulk (e.g. liquified natural gas): capacity for gases, measured in cubic metres
  • Vehicles (e.g. cars): same as dry bulk

If you’re interested in tracking ships around New Zealand (or anywhere, really), I can recommend marinetraffic.com. The website and the app are great.

You might also be interested in the arrival and departure of ships at New Zealand’s ports:

North Port (Marsden Point)
Ports of Auckland
Port of Tauranga
Port Nelson
Napier Port
Centre Port (Wellington)
Port Taranaki
Port Otago
South Port (Bluff)


The governance gaps that armed insurgents fill

A brief but interesting TED talk by policy analyst Benedetta Berti about when and why armed groups (insurgents, militias, terrorists) get involved in politics and start providing social services.

She notes that war has changed: it less often involves a state fighting a state. “Of the 216 peace agreements signed between 1975 and 2011, 196 of them were between a state and a non-state actor.”

Berti notes that we, in the West, tend to think about armed groups in terms of their violence. Natural, I suppose, given that it’s the violence we mostly see on the news, and its awfulness leaves us breathless.

But she argues that our governments need to work harder at looking past the violence to understand the groups’ strengths, strategies and long-term visions. It is there that solutions might best be found.

“These groups are hybrid. They rise because they fill a gap left by the government, and they emerge to be both armed and political, engage in violent struggle and provide governance.

“What do you call a group like Hezbollah? They run part of a territory, they administer all their functions, they pick up the garbage, they run the sewage system. Is this a state? Is it a rebel group? 

We live in a world of states, non-states, and in-between, and the more states are weak, like in the Middle East today, the more non-state actors step in and fill that gap. This matters for governments, because to counter these groups, they will have to invest more in non-military tools. Filling that governance gap has to be at the center of any sustainable approach.”

Thanks, as ever, to TED for making these talks readily available under a BY- NC-ND Creative Commons licence and for going the extra mile with sub-titles and transcripts.

This is so good: “We are dead stars, looking back at the sky”

Can’t believe I hadn’t seen this before this morning. It is the best video ever. Made in May 2014 by  The Atlantic and The Really Big Questions, the video (3:57) features NASA astronomer Dr Michelle Thaller explaining, beautifully, how “the iron in our blood connects us to one of the most violent acts in the universe—a supernova explosion—and what the universe might look like when all the stars die out.”



Māori weather and climate indicators – a poster from NIWA

I notice that NIWA, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, has a poster of Māori climate and weather indicators for download on its website. You can either grab the pdf or order a full-sized paid-for poster. This is a slice of it:

Maori Climate Poster from NIWA (part)

The weather (day-to-day state of the atmosphere, varying from minutes to weeks) predictors include:

  • From Te Roroa: The sound of breaking waves up the valley = Approaching rainfall and inclement weather is expected
  • From Te Whānau a Apanui: The plume from White Island lies to the left = Rainfall expected; The plume flattens and the end breaks off = Watch out for extreme weather

The climate (synthesis of weather, averaged over longer periods from months to years) predictors include:

  • From Te Arawa: Flowering starts on the upper branches of Pohutukawa and progresses downwards = A cold and winter-like season will follow; Flowering starts on the lower branches and progresses upwards =  A warm and pleasant season lies ahead
  • From Kai Tahu: Early and profuse flowering of Tï kouka (Cabbage) tree = A long hot summer follows

A good companion read for the poster is this piece on Te Ara, New Zealand’s encyclopedia, about Māori customs around weather and the creation stories of where wind, clouds, rain and storms come from.

The only weather predictor I remember from childhood is: Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning, which the UK’s Met Office interprets thus:

The saying is most reliable when weather systems predominantly come from the west as they do in the UK [and New Zealand]… A red sky appears when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere by high pressure. This scatters blue light and leaving only red light to give the sky its notable appearance.

A red sky at sunset means high pressure is moving in from the west so therefore the next day will usually be dry and pleasant. “Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning” means a red sky appears due to the high pressure weather system having already moved east meaning the good weather has passed, most likely making way for a wet and windy low pressure system.

I came across a lot of sites featuring old-timey weather predictors. I like this one on Farmers Almanac about dew:

When the dew is on the grass
Rain will never come to pass.
When grass is dry at morning light,
Look for rain before the night.

Why? If dew has time to form on the ground overnight, it means the night was clear without any clouds. Clear skies allow the earth to cool, and water to condense in the form of dew (or frost at cooler times of the year). If the night is cloudy, the clouds act as a heat barrier keeping the heat in and not allowing dew to form. This saying assumes that if the night skies are clear, the day following will also be cloud-free.

NIWA has a bunch of other posters for sale that depict, among other things projected rainfall, what the seabed looks like around New Zealand, undersea volcanoes, and the country’s energy assets.

Other NIWA posters

On a related note: If you’ve ever wondered how weather balloons are used in New Zealand, check out this post by Jacqui Bridges on the Met Service blog.



Two favourite visualisations of satellites orbiting earth

1. From Quartz, an interactive graphic of every active satellite orbiting earth – all 1200 of them (as at August 2014).

The graphic’s based on data from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and lets you filter by age of satellite, launch country, purpose or primary user. You can also animate the satellites into their orbits, and see which are in low, medium or high orbit.

Satellites in Low Earth Orbit

Satellites in Medium Earth Orbit

Hover over any of the dots and you’ll see a summary of the satellite’s owners, age, characteristics and purpose.

Lacrosse-Onyx Inset

Interesting facts from the piece (and elsewhere) include:

2. Over at satellitedebris.net you can see satellites using Google Earth, which taps databases from the US Space Intelligence Office (SIO), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (which is due to launch a new deep space climate observatory in January 2015), US Navy (due to launch a new satellite in January 2015) and others.

You start with an overview like this:

Satellites Google Earth Full

Use Google Earth’s controls to rotate the earth and zoom in to see satellites over a particular country at a particular time. In this case, New Zealand:

Satellites Over NZ

Click on any satellite to see its owners, age, characteristics and purpose.

RapidEye 3 Satellite Inset

Fascinating, no?

If you’re interested in New Zealand participation in commercial and other space activities, you might want to check out the Kiwi Space Foundation website, which is an unfinished beast but seems to be keeping track of main players and media reports.

Also, RocketLab, founded by New Zealander Peter Beck, which plans to kick off its Electron “small, fast, & agile” satellite launch system in 2015.

Thinking usefully about privacy is the first step, says First Look Media’s security director

Matt Nippert from the NZ Herald caught up with First Look Media’s director of security Morgan Marquis-Boire ahead of this week’s Kiwicon conference in Wellington, where Marquis-Boire is speaking.

Marquis-Boire is a New Zealander who’s been overseas for a number of years working for Google and more recently First Look. First Look publishes The Intercept, led by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, which has been reporting on disclosures made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Of particular interest to me:

While unwilling to discuss specific threats to First Look, [Marquis-Boire] said his new workplace faced similar issues to other prominent news organisations.

“Twenty-one out of the world’s twenty-five top news organisations have been targeted by state-sponsored attacks.

As a statistic that definitely shows the viability of the press as a target for espionage,” he said.

I also liked his take on how to think about your own online privacy and security:

What do you want to keep private?

Matt Nippert is a Kiwicon speaker himself this year, along with fellow NZ Herald journalist David Fisher, on the subject of:  Hackers and Hacks, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the MSM

The notion of trust underpins much of what the media does: Whether readers trust what they read, and whether sources trust journalists not to burn them to the ground. The Rawshark saga – encompassing Gmail and Facebook hacks, Police raids, ministerial resignations, High Court injunctions and meters of quality news stories – gives an insight into how this process functions under conditions of high stress. Based on historic and [obviously sanitised] contemporary experience, this talk will let you know how the code of journalism works, the limits journalists go to to protect sources and how quickly old media can learn new tricks.

I’m very much looking forward to hearing Nippert and Fisher and the rest of the speakers. This will be my first Kiwicon and it looks like a cracker. See you there.