On 9 October, GNS Science, which is effectively New Zealand’s geological survey organisation, made a startling announcement. “Zealandia”, so its publicity department contended “just became the first continent to be completely mapped”. But what is Zealandia, and are these extravagant claims justified?
By a macabre coincidence, I had just reached the point of commenting on Ayn Rand’s take on Israeli-Palestine relations, as revealed in her speech to the West Point graduating class of 1974, when Hamas launched its attack. Not a good time to be writing about that area, I thought, but then I looked at the note at the end of the passage (which was also the end of the talk) and I saw the words ‘thunderous applause’.
It was spice that brought Europeans to the remote shores of the northern Moluccas. By the time of the Uranie voyage the outlines of the future colonial empires had been established. Two hundred years earlier, however, things had been very different.