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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Kiwi Dads not interested in Father's Day?

Perhaps not....

Great review from Linda Collison

The American-born seafarer William “Bully” Hayes was a notorious celebrity in his own lifetime and in the century after his death became the antihero of numerous accounts, novels, secondhand memoirs — and a Hollywood movie starring Tommy Lee Jones and Michael O’Keefe.  At least two Pacific watering holes have called themselves Bully Hayes — one in Hawaii and one in New Zealand.

Much has been written about this 19th century adventurer, accused of countless cons, crimes, swindles and brutalities — some true, some embellished, some pure fiction. Overshadowing his misdeeds, or perhaps driving them, is the portrayal of Captain Hayes as a charismatic and dauntless character —  an enduring, mythical,  antihero.  This image was created largely by the popular media of his time, says maritime historian Joan Druett. Her latest book, The Notorious Captain Hayes; The Remarkable True Story of William ‘Bully’ Hayes, Pirate of the Pacific, is the most definitive biography written about the man, the myth, the legend. The author has spent years reading everything in print about Hayes, studying contemporary newspaper articles, letters, diaries, ship logs and shipping lists in an effort to separate fact from fiction.

The result? An objective but very engaging popular history of a sea captain, trader, showman and blackguard known for his many dupes and crimes — some mere swindles — others abhorrent (rape, coercion, and blackbirding — the transport of poor refugees as cheap labor). Joan likens the mythical Captain Hayes to Hollywood’s Captain Jack Sparrow. The bad guy we love, an enduring archetype.

 From Linda

Read more, for the interview

Linda is a seafarer and a very fine writer, author of the haunting Water Ghosts.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bully Hayes on Spinoff

The Monday pirate: The true story of a swashbuckling Pugwash

Joan Druett goes in search of one of the great pirate legends of the Pacific.

In 1903 the editor of the Christchurch Press asked for letters from anyone who remembered meeting Captain William Henry “Bully” Hayes – a man virtually invented as a pirate.

True, he cheated merchants, and once disappeared over the horizon with an unpaid cargo in his holds. Yet these crimes were common enough. They were the acts of a simple crook, not a pirate. Hayes never boarded a ship with a sword in his hand and a knife between his teeth. He never killed a man.
He didn’t even drink hard liquor. Yet somehow the newspaper writers turned him into a legendary corsair.

But how, and why? It was mystery that fascinated me, and inspired my new biography The Notorious Captain Hayes: The Remarkable True Story of The Pirate of The Pacific.

I discovered that the first to create the myth was a newspaper proprietor in Honolulu. Henry Martyn Whitney was a true American entrepreneur, full of ideas and ambitions and energy. As the publisher of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser his aim in life was to publish breaking news. On September 24, 1859 he published the story that was to trigger the Hayes legend. The headline: THE HISTORY OF A CONSUMMATE SCOUNDREL.

For the first time breathtaking swindles were exposed, along with details of a dissolute life. It was stirring stuff, compulsive reading, reprinted by newspapermen all about the Pacific, without any questions being asked.

In the years that followed there were occasional updates on his exploits – in 1868, the Wanganui Herald mused that Hayes “had a great deal of the pirate in his disposition”, and a Sydney newspaper in 1873 exaggerated him as “the notorious Captain Hayes, freebooter, swindler, pirate and murderer”.
It took until 1876 for the legend to firmly take root, and once again it was courtesy of Henry Martyn Whitney. As the owner and editor of the Hawaiian Gazette, he published an article headlined SKETCH OF THE NOTORIOUS CAPTAIN HAYES.

Hayes met a violent death the following year. Good career move: it turned him into an even more compelling figure. The metamorphosis was spearheaded by the San Francisco paper, Daily Alta California, which summarised his story under the title, The last of the pirates. In May 1899 the New York Tribune published a racy, even more imaginative version.  Not to be bested, the editor of the New York Sun produced his own lurid yarn – BULLY HAYES, PIRATE OF THE PACIFIC, THE THRILLING STORY OF A DOUBLE LIFE.

Writers of trash fiction jumped on the band wagon. Albert Dorrington published Bully Hayes’ yarns in London magazines, depicting him as “half pirate, half hero”. Down at the bottom of the world, colonial readers loved this kind of sensational stuff. When the Press invited readers to post their reminiscences, in 1903, they were rewarded with colourful descriptions. “He was of a courteous and gentlemanly demeanour, a big man and well-proportioned,’ wrote WR Turner. Another reader, Alfred Gee, write that he would never forget meeting Hayes — “a man of splendid physique, fully six feet in height, and proportionately well built”.

Naturally, many books followed this kind of outpouring, some serious, and others not so, with titles like Bully Hayes, South Sea Pirate.

The strange result of all this breathless, exciting literature, more fiction than non-fiction, is that Captain William Henry Hayes – a common conman, blessed with a certain charisma – has become enshrined as a flamboyant buccaneer of the Pacific.

The Notorious Captain Hayes: The Remarkable True Story of The Pirate of The Pacific (HarperCollins, $18.99) by Joan Druett recently made the best-seller chart at Unity Books.
Illustration from Captain Pugwash: A Pirate Story (1957) by John Ryan.

Friday, August 19, 2016

whale skeleton on display again


Canterbury Museum's blue whale on display again

It's been in hiding for 22 years, but the longest blue whale skeleton in any collection in the world is ready for its big moment.

The 26.5 metre long blue whale skeleton has been in the Canterbury Museum collection since it arrived in Christchurch on a horse and cart in 1908, but the bones slipped from public view in 1994.
There is no space in the museum large enough to display the bones, but they will be the star of a planned future upgrade for the complex of historic buildings.

The Blue Whale was 26.5 metres long when it washed ashore in 1908.

The Blue Whale was 26.5 metres long when it washed ashore in 1908.
Almost 200 bones have been in storage since the Garden Court – where they were displayed from 1976 – was covered over when the museum expanded in 1994. The bones were carefully restored over four or five years from 2003.
The whale bones arrive at the Canterbury Museum on a horse and cart in 1908.
The whale bones arrive at the Canterbury Museum on a horse and cart in 1908.

The whale has been dead for more than a hundred years and was born two hundred years ago, but the bones still exude oil and retain a distinctive smell. The whale's lower mandible bone is the largest single natural history object in the world, weighing 418 kilograms.

This is not the only whale skeleton the museum owns.  Back in the day, on 25 May 1874, the American whaleship Eliza Adams killed a humpback whale just outside of Akaroa Harbour.  Wrote the third mate, Abram Briggs:

"[took it] with our boats & the volunteered assistence of the Steamer that came down to see the whale we towed him to the Ship at 3 PM quite a number of visitors come on board to see the whale, next day took the whale on the beach at high water & at low water went & took the blubber off of him & gave the carcass to parties on shore for the Christchurch museum."

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book launch: the Notorious Captain Hayes

Hosted by the very new Ekor Bookstore, College Street (opposite Moore Wilson), Wellington

A talk by Joan Druett about the The Notorious Captain Hayes.

Join us for a wonderful evening talk by leading maritime historian and award-winning author, Joan Druett as she focuses her telescope on a new subject:

The remarkable true story of William ‘Bully’ Hayes, 
Pirate of the Pacific

Starts at 6pm with drinks & nibbles on Thursday 25 August at
Ekor Bookshop & Cafe Ltd 
17B College Street, Te Aro, Wellington.

‘Talk in the South Seas is all upon one pattern; it is a wide ocean, indeed, but a narrow world: you shall never talk long and not hear the name of Bully Hayes.
— Robert Louis Stevenson, The Wrecker


Friday, August 12, 2016

Tsunami and Tupaia

Tupaia, the great Tahitian high priest and navigator, testified to Captain Cook that Polynesians had sailed great distances from Tahiti, and history tells us that one of those great distances involved the 3,000-kilometer voyage from the cradle of Polynesia to New Zealand.  In the meantime, however, the lore had been lost -- when Tupaia arrived in New Zealand in 1769, no one from Tahiti had been there for the past three or four hundred years.

Something had happened.  But what?

According to geological theory, the east coast of New Zealand had been struck by a huge tsunami sometime in the fifteen century. An immense wall of water, probably 12 meters high, had struck the coast and roared inland, leaving devastation in its wake.  Gardens, plantations, house, and fishing beds were destroyed -- along with the massive voyaging canoes.

Great men had died -- the craftsmen, the shipwrights, the priests, and the star navigators. Voyages back to Hawaiki -- Raiatea -- became impossible, because not only the craft, but the lore had been lost.

Or so the theory went.  Now, it has been demonstrated that the theory is right.  The tsunami really happened.  An article in the Dominion Post today describes it.

 A new study shows the East Coast was struck by three or four large tsunamis as high as twelve metres over the past 1200 years.

The GNS Science study which involved the digging of a 90metre long, two-metre-deep, trench at Puatai beach, 30km north of Gisborne, revealed shells and wood that could be radiocarbon dated to establish the dates of numerous earthquakes and tsunamis.

The tsunamis produced waves between nine and twelve metres high and would have travelled up to hundreds of metres inland. The last tsunami occurred about 300 years ago.

"The study provides the first really concrete evidence of what we have long thought likely, and it shows that hazard preparation in the east coast area is on the right track," said lead author Nicola Litchfield.

"The tsunamis would have affected the entire East Coast of the North Island. It is hard to estimate from just this one study how big a particular tsunami would have been at various places along the coast. However, we know from past fieldwork and from modelling that 5metre-plus tsunamis can strike anywhere along the East Coast," Litchfield said.

It has been known for a long time that the area is seismically active and that there is a high risk of tsunamis, but hard evidence about tsunamis has been rare. The study provides solid evidence that the tsunamis occurred.

The investigation showed there were three large earthquakes in the region around 1800, 1200 and 400 years ago. Each quake was around magnitude 7.2 and uplifted coastal land by about 3.5metres.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Bully Hayes - the radio interview

The real Bully Hayes

The flamboyant Captain William Henry 'Bully' Hayes was a  'thief, pirate, plunderer and kidnapper' according to newspaper headlines of the time and in subsequent books and movies. But what's the true story of this Pacific maritime legend? In her new book The notorious Captain Hayes, nautical historian and writer Joan Druett has investigated the fact and fiction surrounding Bully Hayes.  As Lynn Freeman finds out, he was accused of everything from bigamy and slavery to theft and murder.

Interview with Lynn Freeman

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

the philosophy that has given us Donald Trump

From The Guardian

Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it.

Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?

Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident. Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers.

 Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.


The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.
Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”. With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

 And then Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan arrived.  Read the rest ....

And what does the American Enterprise Institute believe? They are preparing themselves for a Trump-dominated world economy.  Google "American Enterprise Institute and Donald Trump" and see what I mean.

Review of The Notorious Captain Hayes

CAPTAIN WILLIAM “BULLY” Hayes became a legend across the Pacific, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. Newspapers celebrated his wicked ways from Honolulu to Singapore, Hong Kong to Manila, and Saigon to Sydney.

The more outrageous Hayes’ behavior became, the better editors and the reading public
liked it. Separating fact from fiction about the master mariner never got in the way of a good yarn.

To research The Notorious Captain Hayes, New Zealand maritime historian and novelist Joan Druett spent fifteen years poring through the recorded flotsam and jetsam left in the wake of Hayes’ remarkable life to get at the truth about the character many called the “consummate scoundrel.”

Hayes was believed to have been born in Cleveland, Ohio, about 1828 or 1829. As a young man, he initially learned seamanship sailing the Great Lakes during the schooner era. Arriving in the Pacific in the 1850s, he left his mark in seemingly every port he visited.

“Wherever he went,” writes Druett, “a tsunami of headlines seethed in his wake . . . ‘THE HISTORY OF A CONSUMMATE SCOUNDREL’ blared a Honolulu paper in September 1859, just months after he had arrived in Hawaii . . .”

Among the dastardly deeds attributed to Hayes was murder, serial debt-dodging, piracy, bigamy (he loved women), swindling, plain thievery, and engaging in the infamous “coolie trade” and slavery. Journalists were inescapably drawn to these crimes, often imaginatively embellishing reality, which romanticized the rogue and further aroused interest in him from one end of the Pacific to the other.

Despite his black-hearted ways, Hayes was considered to be a competent shipmaster and a strict authoritarian aboard the vessels he commanded. An Englishman named Hines, sailing as an ordinary seaman in the barque C. W. Bradley, recalled: “Every man aboard was afraid of him, and his discipline was almost as strict as a man-o’-warsman.”

By the time Hayes met his maker in 1877 at the hands of an enraged Norwegian sailor, stories from his life had been documented in newspaper archives and books. The Bully Hayes saga was alive well into the twentieth century.

Joan Druett’s lively and salty chronicle, which is as fresh as a sea breeze, brings to life a bygone maritime era that was reigned over by a generation of stalwart men and women – for better or worse.