Monday, April 02, 2007

Cultural Heritage

Man cannot live by pencil alone. There is also beer!

One thing about living in the last country on earth to be discovered and colonised by humans is that you know the dates for a few interesting “firsts”.

Today is the anniversary of beer in New Zealand. On this day, 2 April, back in 1773, the renowned explorer Captain James Cook (Royal Navy), and his crew drank the first beer ever brewed in New Zealand. It was “spruce” (rimu) and “tea tree” (manuka) flavoured beer, brewed for the important health producing properties of such fine ales. After many months at sea, Cook and his crew were desperate for something decent to drink, and Cook recorded the beer as “…exceeding Palatable and esteemed by everyone on board.” So much so, that the rum ration was suspended for three days!

So, join me in celebrating my national and cultural heritage - drink a fine draught, and toast the great explorers and brewers of the 18th Century. And remember, Cook and his men drank beer for their good health.


PS, just for the purists, James Cook held the rank of Commander when he drank the beer in question, his promotion to the rank of Captain came later in his career.

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