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6 posts tagged with NewZealand by filthy light thief.
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Creative New Zealand Tanks of World War II

The most well known of New Zealand's World War II home-built tanks was the Bob Semple tank, designed by New Zealand Minister of Works Bob Semple. There was only one made, but it served its purpose of "showing the people that something was being done to meet the enemy. It rumbled around, took part in parades, and inspired confidence." One problem: the tank, built on a Caterpiller tractor and armored with corrugated steel, would momentarily pause while changing gears, unless it was already headed down hill. During parades and public shows, its driver was instructed to change gear as little as possible, to prevent people from thinking their tank was stalling. The other New Zealand-built tank was the Schofield tank, built on the chassis of a Chevrolet heavy-duty truck, with the ability to drive quickly on wheels, then operate on treads, the transition only taking 7 to 10 minutes. Two prototypes were made, but neither the Bob Semple nor the Schofield tank were mass produced, as New Zealand started receiving tanks from abroad by 1943.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 17, 2013 - 17 comments

Charles de Thierry: man of many lands, king of none

Charles Philippe Hippolyte de Thierry lead a storied life, and many of those stories are ones he made up. His family was associated with the French court, though there is doubt to his claims of noble lineage. In England, he met two Maori chiefs and an English missionary from New Zealand, and attempted to purchase a northern portion of New Zealand in 1820. He then sought to turn this land into a colony first for Britain in 1822, then the Dutch government in 1824 when the English offer fell through. The Dutch, too, turned him down, so in 1825 de Thierry made the same offer to the French government, and was similarly refused. Fleeing creditors, he left for America. In 1834, he traveled south, where he was granted concession for cutting the Panama Canal. That, too, fell through, and he sailed west, reaching Tahiti in June 1835, where he elected himself king of Nuka Hiva. The kingdom was never his, and so he continued west and south, arriving at his plot in New Zealand in 1837, where again he offered land up to France for a colony. His efforts to claim a colony and a kingdom came to an end in 1840, with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, sealing a deal between the British Crown and the Māori. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 16, 2012 - 7 comments

Bowerbirds: intentional architects, and accidental farmers

Bowerbirds, a family of 20 species in eight genera, are a fascinating bunch of birds who range from New Guinea and Australia. Some are flashy, others drab, but all are named for the "bowers" (avenues, huts, or towers of sticks; source) that the males craft and decorate to attract a mate. There are regional styles (PDF) in the design of the bowers, and the male Greater Bowerbirds even employ optical illusions. Some, like the Vogelkop Bowerbird, add mimicry vocal to their repertoire of courting methods. Add accidental cultivation to the list of fascinating features of the bowerbirds. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 26, 2012 - 44 comments

Glimpses of Australia and New Zealand, set to music

Four songs shot (and three directed by) Dylan Wiehahn, featuring Australian and New Zealand scenery, and (mostly) music from Australia: Jordie Lane - 'Not From Round Here' | Seagull - 'Company' and 'Tea' | Bon Iver - 'Holocene' (abridged) || Scenery from Tea Tree Lakes, Great Ocean Road (AUS), Queenstown (NZ)
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 17, 2011 - 2 comments

Haast's eagles were to NZ as Dingos are to Australia

Legends from New Zealand held that there was a large predator bird, known as pouakai, that was big enough to carry human beings off to its nest or den. Some people associated stories of Pouakai with the giant flightless Moa, extinct in 1773. Others thought it might be another extinct giant bird on the South Island, Haast's Eagle (Harpagornis moorei). The eagle, locally known as Te Hokioi, has been extinct for 500 years, overlapping with the early settlers by some 200 years. There was some speculation that the giant eagle was a scavenger due to partially protected nasal openings, which are benefit to protect nasal cavities when digging into carcasses, analogous to features found on accipitrid vultures. Recent studies have provide there is proof that the Haast's Eagle was a fearsome predator, with talons like tigers and the ability to dive on prey at 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 16, 2009 - 22 comments

Excellent fiddlesticks for the insolent rascal, and other ways to while the days

As a belated tribute (of sorts) to Victoria Day, may you find interest in a variety of Victorina era literature, short and long. In the short category, there is Chit-Chat of Humor, Wit, and Anecdote (Edited by Pierce Pungent; New York: Stringer & Townsend (1857), who has written quite a bit of such work) [via mefi projects], and Conundrums New and Old (Collected by John Ray Frederick; J. Drake & Company Publishers Chicago, 1902) [via mefi projects] This publishing house also published The Art of Characturing, copyright 1941. If you prefer your antiquated humor with a twist, take a gander at bizarro version of Conundrums New and Old [via mefi projects]. In the category of longer works, behold the The Lost Novels of Victorian New Zealand [via an older mefi projects]. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 29, 2009 - 4 comments

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