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Full Circle

Day 149: Mount Cook

Michael Palin - Full CircleBack at the hotel. For a magic moment, as the sun sets, the broken tip of Mount Cook looks like molten metal. Later, at dinner, a forceful New Zealander is regaling us with his views on the Maori problem. As far as he's concerned there isn't one. It's all the invention of what he calls 'hairy-armpitted feminists'. The Maoris are only interested in integration. The old land rights issue, which we had heard about in Kaikoura, was down to a very small minority. The strength of his views reminds me of the way many white Australians talk of the Aboriginals.

The hotel manager tells us that Prime Minister Bulger sees New Zealand firmly as an Asian-Pacific country. After Australia, Japan is their second biggest trading partner. Korea is the fourth biggest, overtaking Britain. The majority of the new immigrants to New Zealand are now Korean or Taiwanese.

How changed everything is since I did my O' Levels. One last time before bed I look out of the window at Mount Cook, bathed in moonlight. Even that is thirty-four feet shorter.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 149
  • Country/sea: New Zealand
  • Place: Mount Cook
  • Book page no: 206

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