Ducky's NZ Trip - Christchurch (second)

Jan 7

In Christchurch I visited the International Centre for Antarctic Information and Research (to prepare for the winter in Illinois I was soon to encounter!). Christchurch is the jumping-off point for all the Antarctic supply planes. It isn't the city that is farthest south, but it is the farthest south of cities that are sizable enough to have the infrastructure required to be a supply depot. The center was quite interesting, well worth a trip. I saw a little exhibit on anti-freeze fish and thought of Mike. Other bits: it is exceptionally dry in Antarctica because it is so cold. (In fact, fire is a big concern at the stations down there.) The cold and dryness act as great preservatives, and in fact they have special missions down there to collect meteorites, since they are relatively undamaged by elements!

Photo by Hala Fauzi

I also went to a natural history museum, seeing among other things, a skeleton of a giant moa. It was very humbling. The giant moa got up to 9 feet tall, yow. That's one big drumstick!

For those of you who are awake and have a graphics browser, you are correct, this is not a photo of a skeleton of a moa. This is a statue that is in Rotorua. It isn't as easy to see here as it would be if I had a skeleton shot, but this bird has no wings. NONE. Not even vestigal wings. If you ever see a skeleton, they don't even have shoulders constructed. They are just neck, body, and legs. Very odd to my continental eyes...

I also went to the art museum, which I quite liked. They were doing an exhibition of realistic paintings; not necessarily photo-realism, but people who clearly knew how to represent things in a realistic manner. Very nice.

Walking back from the museums, I saw signs saying "RUTHERFORD'S DEN, THIS WAY". Rutherford's Den turned out to not be very interesting, but in the same general area I bumped into a Prominent Women Graduates of Christchurch College exhibit. Wyoming was the first state to grant women the vote, but NZ was the first country to do so, in 1893. Thus 1993 was the centennial, and there were quite a lot of leftover exhibits that I saw along the way. Their equivalent to our Susan B. Anthony was Kate Sheppard, and she is much better known there than our Susan. (She's even on a phone card and the 10$ bill!) The whole time I was there, people kept trying to call me Kate Sheppard instead of Sherwood!

Anyways, there was a copy of entering students' signatures with the notation, "Here are signatures of many early prominent women, as well as Ernest Rutherford and some other prominent men." I looked over at the list, and honest injun, the first signature my eyes rested upon said "Kate L sherwood"!!!!! Spooky, maybe I should be studying Physics instead of Genetic Algorithms! After some time, I decided that maybe it said "Kate Isherwood", but I am still not sure.

That night I opened the camp stove and let it air out overnight. That still wasn't enough to totally placate the airline attendants. They kept trying to insist that it was really dangerous to have even fumes even in the cabin section even in a ziplock baggie. I didn't follow the physics they were using, but with appropriate bats of the eyelashes, and some phone calls to some superiors, I was finally given permission to take it on the plane.

Go on to the next page: The North Island
Go back to the previous page: Nelson
Go back to the main page


Copyright, 1994, Kaitlin Duck Sherwood

You may reproduce this document in whole or in part without my permission provided that you do not receive money for it, you do not alter it, and you attribute the author (me). You are enthusiatically encouraged to link to this page.