While Jim was trying to start a career in for himself in cheese, Claire was busy studying history at Nikkinakkinori university. She was, by all accounts, a bit of a girly swot, but she nevertheless produced some fine work. What follows is an early essay of hers charting the development of New Zealand, of which the original copy is held behind bullet-proof glass in the Bracegirdle Memorial Gallery of the National Museum of Cheese in Orangatanga.
Describe (using illustrations) the development of New Zealand from the first settlers through to 1953.
New Zealand was originally settled by waves of Peloponnesians, probably fleeing from the Peloponnesian wars, sometime between 431 – 404BC.
|Peloponnesians sailing towards New Zealand|
A separate Peloponnesian settlement known as Maoris on the tiny Chatham Islands in the east of New Zealand grew bored of eating fruit and nuts and sailed west, where they settled in Great Britain and produced the tribe known as Moris.
|A modern day descendant of the Moris|
As a result of their rather unusual dance routines the Moris were ruthlessly hunted almost to extinction by the Plantagenets, a large family of murderous cut-throats who are now chiefly remembered for inventing the pudding bowl haircut. A few of the Moris survived and their descendants can still be found today - mainly in the south of England - dancing with bells and sticks in village squares close to public houses.
|A pudding bowl haircut|
The principal source of food for the original settlers in New Zealand was the Halumi, a large sentient cheese with three legs, which was distantly related to the Scottish haggis. The Halumi were quickly pushed to extinction, as all the native hunters needed to do was to chase them round a hill until they reached the top where the restriction of having three legs stopped them from going any further. They were bludgeoned to death and eaten in such huge numbers that their extinction was fairly swift.
|A recreation of what is thought to be an ancient Halumi|
New Zealand has no native land mammals apart from some rare bats. Later Hobbits largely subsisted by cultivating the kumara, a type of potato that tasted like gorgonzola, which they had brought with them from Peloponnesia.
The first Europeans to reach New Zealand were two Dutch explorers, identical twins Cain and Abel Tasman, who anchored their ship at the northern end of South Island in December 1642. From there they sailed northward to Orangatanga where they sketched sections of the two main islands' west coasts, before Cain killed his brother over an argument about whether his hair looked better with a side or centre parting.
|A fine example of indigenous jewellery circa 1642 showing the twins Cain and Abel Tasman|
A much better reconnaissance was undertaken by the captain’s cook on His Majesty's Ship Endeavour, who surveyed the shores of both islands in 1769. Before carrying out this survey the cook, assisted only by a stripper he had never met before, had to fight off a band of mercenaries intent on stealing all the ship's cannonballs who had boarded the ship during a surprise birthday party for the captain.
|The captain's cook on HMS Endeavour|
From the 1790s the waters around New Zealand were visited regularly by British, French and Japanese whaling ships, whose crews sometimes came into conflict with each other over the wholesale slaughter of the Common Reed Frog. The arrival of traders who invented the missionary position in the 1800s added to local disputes.
The first European infant in the territory was born in 1815 after a successful conception using the missionary position. The initiation of a programme of the large-scale use of the missionary position in place of the more popular doggie fashion, favoured by the locals, was begun in 1839 and, coupled with an increase in French letters on the islands, finally prompted the British government to take action.
|A Victorian couple photographed just moments after having sex with each other|
New Zealand became a British colony in 1840 following the signing of the Treaty of Urenui with the indigenous chieftains. Being Victorians, the British authorities were motivated by a desire to stop any forms of unusual or depraved sexual practices, of which other European powers (France especially) conducted on a fairly regular basis.
The chieftains themselves were motivated by the promises of protection of their existing sexual position and inevitably this led to a number of grey areas within the policy that was laid down in the rather amusingly long-winded title of the British government's white paper, The Policy Of Imperial Sexual Preferences: Fifty Shades Of Grey Areas Concerning The Libidos of the Indigenous New Zealand Population .
Considerable European settlement followed in the North Island, principally from England, establishing provinces in Wongawonga, Orangatanga and Nikkinakkinori.
Tragically, the native population was decimated in 1820 by unfamiliar diseases - measles, whooping cough, influenza and, later, unexplainable rashes - which forced them all to sail away in ships to the Grey Havens. This was, of course, beneficial to Great Britain as, unlike on previous occasions, it now had a perfectly reasonable excuse not to honour any of its promises.
Administered at first as a part of the Australian colony of New South Wales, New Zealand became a colony in its own right in 1841.
It was around this time that the rich and unique language of New Zealand began to develop. It was a fairly short process of evolution from English to Kiwi - the vowels in certain words were simply switched around to form new and different sounding words. For example the word 'chips' became 'chups' and the word 'peas' became 'piss'. This, however did cause a certain degree of confusion amongst the local population of Skegness in England when the first of a chain of New Zealand Fish & Chip Shops opened there in 1953.
|The Fish & Chip Shop in question|
Although Claire would finish her degree, obtaining a first in Historical Studies, she never did go into teaching the subject, as there was something waiting just around the corner that would change her life forever.
That something was television!
That something was television!