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Culture of New Zealand Customs and traditions of fire use It is obvious that some colonials wanted to get fire defence onto a firmer footing, but that they were fighting against widespread public and official apathy. Before we discuss the positions of the various players in this emerging colonial debate it will pay us to put it into a broader context by examining the attitudes to fire that had been inherited from the Old World past, and how they were being shaped both by colonial life and by the wider contemporary world. Fire as a tool of rural husbandry was not something new to New Zealand's rural immigrants. It ran back deep into the Old World past.
In 18th-century rural Britain fire was given a new impetus by the agricultural revolution. Throughout England it was a major instrument in transforming large areas of heath, moor, peat and forest into new stretches of farmland. In the Scottish Highlands the notorious Clearances that made way for the English sheep were years of burning, not only of the crofters' homes, but also of the surrounding landscape: Fires filled the dead heathlands vacated by retreating snows, and acquired new dimensions; patch burning gave way to broadcast burning on a colossal scale. As sheep multiplied across the landscape, more waste was burned and more woodlands felled and fired to support them. Under the impress of fire and grazing, woods became heath and heather became grass.5
It was to fire that many English villagers turned when they found that the reshaping of the rural world was bringing them servitude and starvation. In simmering discontent they began to torch ricks and barns, to prove to themselves and others that they were not utterly servile and helpless6 In the ‘Captain Swing’ riots of 1830 this type of protest broke out into widespread rebellion across a broad swathe of south and east England.7 Edward Gibbon Wakefield saw something of these burnings in East Anglia and drew pointed lessons from them for his emigration propaganda.8 Many of the New Zealand Wakefield immigrants must also have seen these fires. Most, too, would have seen the benign use of fire in the regular burning of rank growth in spring and autumn bonfires, and in the reviving custom of the field burning of straw after harvest. Many of the 1870s ‘Vogel’ immigrants would have brought memories of the devastating summer drought of 1868 when the moors and commons of England were ablaze from one end of England to another.9
Zealand. British colonist also brought their culture, which had an effect on the indigenous inhabitants. New Zealand culture is a synthesis of home grown culture and the cultural influences as brought in by the western colonists. The culture and traditions in New Zealand reflect strong influence of Maori, Pacific Island, European and Asian cultures which further makes the society in New Zealand colorful, unique and vibrant.
Christmas in New Zealand New Zealand enjoys summer holidays during Christmas season. Besides throwing out parties and buying and sharing gifts and clothes, visiting beaches is also quite popular among Newzealanders during Christmas season. Shopping malls try to woo their customers by making snow scenes and have Father Christmas dressed in his red cloak and white beard. It was in the late 18th century, when Father Christmas came here with the English settlers. In last two or three decades, New Zealand's traditions of Father Christmas have changed to resemble American or Irish Santa customs. In the Maori culture, spirits and creatures of the Maori culture resemble the elves and gnomes of European Christmas traditions and hence, they play an important role in Newzealand Christmas celebrations. A special service is held to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Since, there are hardly any motels and many shepherds who tend to the flocks, the people of New Zealand insist on the true meaning of Christmas. Traditional Christmas dinner in New Zealand consists of roast turkey, vegetables and sauces and rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce as Christmas dessert. People also make mince pies and offer chopped dried fruit mixture to their guests
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