While I was on the Big Island of Hawai’i I took a couple of tours. One took us up to the summit of Mauna Kea, 4,000 metres above sea level. The other took us across the island and down to the lava at Volcano National Park.
The photo of the plant shows an endangered Silver Sword located near the Visitor’s Centre half way up Mauna Kea.
Both tours included guides equipped with microphones, so all on the bus could hear what they had to say, and both guides were very informative.
I was constantly struck by the similarities between Hawai’i and New Zealand. Our landscapes and histories have a lot in common, although, of course, Hawai’i is a great deal more tropical. The following relies on my memory, so please excuse any vagueness and imprecision. Oh, and I know Hawai’i is a state of the USA, rather than a country …
Both countries have indigenous populations, whose languages seem to have a lot in common. For example, the Māori words for ‘mountain’ and ‘woman’ are maunga and wahine, respectively. In Hawai’ian they use the words mauna and wahine.
Both countries were ‘found’ by European settlers in the 1700s and 1800s. That brought political upheaval, including uniting the indigenous people in the face of foreign incursions.
The photo of the birds shows a couple of endangered Nene geese in Honolulu Zoo.
The European settlers brought exotic flora and fauna that multiplied excessively in a favourable new climate where their natural predators were lacking. Native species had few or no defences against the aggressive exotic species and were soon almost extinguished.
It’s sad to recognise these similarities, but in both countries there are efforts to preserve and restore flora, fauna and culture. Let’s hope that both enjoy great success.