Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors reach semi-finals of Dubai 7s

Rugby Union is a wonderful game. Over the weekend over 100,000 people attended the Dubai 7s, which has to be the model for other 7s tournaments around the world.
In addition to the main event – 28 international teams competing in the opening event of the Dubai 7s world series – there were 245 invitational 7s teams and 24 netball teams competing on the eight pitches and courts that surround the main stadium and form part of the same complex.
These teams included international invitational teams featuring superstars from around the world and local Arabian Gulf tournaments involving men and women from all over the Gulf, playing in open, club, social, veteran and U19 grades.
The set-up is this: half the people are in good spirits and are enjoying themselves and having that ‘7s experience’ while the other half are equally in good spirits, playing or supporting – engrossed in their own competitive tournaments.
It was in the Arabian Gulf Social Grade that the Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors found themselves, pitched against 20 other teams. And what a weekend was had.
A bunch of blokes from all over the Gulf – a mix of largely UAE based former Oxford Blues, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Doha, Bahrain, Dubai Hurricanes and Jebel Ali Dragons – banded together and formed a 7s team to raise money to support our mate, Mike Ballard, who suffered a serious spinal injury whilst playing rugby for the Abu Dhabi Harlequins in the West Asian Club Championship Final in 2014.

Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors and the Lewsey brothers, Ed and Josh, at Dubai 7s 2015.

Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors and the Lewsey brothers, Ed and Josh, at Dubai 7s 2015.

Mike has made the courageous decision to return to Abu Dhabi to live and work, taking up a place at his old school, the “New England Centre for Children with Autism”, where his teaching greatly inspired the Autistic children and their families.
And so it was that Mike arrived back in the UAE the night before the 7s, and was thrown straight into the action of the conquistadoring bunch.

Mike Ballard and the Conquistadors

Mike Ballard and the Conquistadors.

Mike said afterwards:
“The 7s is the best weekend of the year in the UAE – I was stoked to be back after so long away doing my rehab – which wasn’t easy – so to be straight in the mix of so many people and supporting a number of teams – I was totally in the moment and loving it. The boys were there, were serious and wanted to do well. I was focused and busy for the full three days.”
Check out Mike’s awesome video interview with SPORT360 by clicking here.
Check out SPORT360s pre tournament article by clicking here and 7Days Sport supporting article by clicking here.
The Conquistadors got off to a rocky start, losing the opening pool game 19-10 to a former winner, Barasti, and going down 14-0 in the second match after two minutes to the AFL mob, the very competitive Dubai Dingoes. Things seemed grim with two minutes down on the clock, and being behind, but then it all started happening for the Conquistadors. The boys launched the comeback of comebacks in the mid-day heat, eventually winning 29-19. This meant that in the last pool game, the next day, a big win was needed to have the required points differential to proceed.
Lining up against the Pirates in the 5pm game on the Friday, the crowd was packed to the rafters, Nick Croker, Dave Kane, James Hamilton and the Doha veterans loudly supporting some of their former team mates. The boys played the near-perfect game – scoring 11 tries and winning 77-0. They marched on into the quarter finals.
Two hours later, on Pitch 2, playing against the Dubai Hurricanes, the atmosphere was electric.
Conquistador flying winger, Sam Priest, a former Canterbury club rugby star, and new arrival in Doha summed it up: “That Quarter Final was every rugby players dream. Playing under lights in front of a couple of thousand people, it was phenomenal.”

Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors v Dubai Hurricanes. Dubai 7s QF. 2015

Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors v Dubai Hurricanes. Dubai 7s QF. 2015.

The Conquistadors won the Quarter final comfortably, former Hurricanes stars Andrew Powell, Conor Coakley and Sean Carey enjoying the win against their former team mates.
And then it was onto Day 3 – a semi final against the Emirates Flying Muppets. These guys were anything but Muppets, and while we pushed them, speed on the outside was too much, the Conquistadors finally going down to the eventual competition winners, three tries to one.
It’s hard to explain, but it was just so phenomenally awesome to be involved in a competitive sports tournament like this – there were 260 teams there, that’s over 3000 people, all with a similar frame of mind – all after the same thing, which was, simply put, – playing rugby, for enjoyment and to win, and having a great deal of fun whilst doing so.
Surely Dubai should be the model for other 7s tournaments around the world – the likes of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. It adds a bit more of the grassroots ‘rugby ethos’ to the ‘7s,’ and is a bit more representative of what this wonderful game is about.
And for a bunch of blokes from all over the Gulf, who came together to support Mike Ballard – old friendships were rekindled, new friendships were made, smiles were on the dials, new injuries picked up, and plans were made to get involved next year…to do something positive for Mike and charity projects further afield….and to chase that elusive Dubai 7s victory.
Awareness was also raised of Iberian discovery theory – there are now at least 12 more rugby players (and friends) who can explain the incredible Portuguese and Spanish maritime exploits in the sixteenth century – which probably included the discovery of Australia and New Zealand by the Portuguese, and which may have also included a Spanish voyage to New Zealand pre Abel-Tasman.

Author Winston Cowie playing for the Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors, Dubai 7s, 2015.

Author Winston Cowie playing for the Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors, Dubai 7s, 2015.

Many thanks again to our very kind and generous sponsors: Hill International Claims Group; King & Wood Mallesons; Alec – Building Excellence; The One Group Middle East; The Picnic Basket and B2B Fitness for their superb support.
And last but not least, many thanks to the Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors of 2015:
• Graeme Murphy. Iberian Nickname: Hernan Cortes. Nationality: Irish. Teams: Abu Dhabi Harlequins. UAE Rugby international – second most capped player.
• Phil Brady: Iberian Nickname: Afonso de Albuquerque. Nationality: Irish. Teams: Abu Dhabi Harlequins. UAE International. Manager of Abu Dhabi Harlequins A (2013).
• Conor Coakley. Iberian Nickname: Vasco de Nunez Balboa. Nationality: Irish. Teams: Doha 1st XV. Dubai Hurricanes 1st XV.
• Wade Quinn. Iberian Nickname: Wombat / De Quiros. Nationality: Australian. Teams: Doha 1st XV. Bahrain 1st XV. Qatar Rugby International.
• Winston Cowie. Iberian Nickname: Vasco De Gama. Nationality: New Zealand. Teams: Oxford University. Maulers. Doha 1st XV. 37 tries. Second highest Doha try scorer ever. Top forward try scorer.
• Brendan Rawlings. Iberian Nickname: Rapid / Andres de Urdaneta. Nationality: British. Teams: Exeter Chiefs. Dubai Hurricanes.
• Edward Lewsey. Iberian-ish Nickname:  Edward Teach. Nationality: Welsh. Teams: Exeter Chiefs. Abu Dhabi Harlequins. UAE Rugby International.
• Tom Calnan. Iberian Nickname: Ferdinand Magellan. Nationality: English. Teams: Abu Dhabi Harlequins. Dual UAE international – rugby and rugby league – the eldest  dual international of all time. Guiness Book of Record holder.
• Sam Priest. Iberian Nickname: Juan Sebastian El cano. Nationality: New Zealand. Teams: College Rifles. Oxford University.
• Joel Pikari. Iberian Nickname: Francisco Pizzaro. Nationality: New Zealand. Teams: Abu Dhabi Harlequins. Maulers. UAE Rugby International.
• Andy Powell. Iberian Nickname: Hernando de Soto  Nationality: New Zealand. Teams: Dubai Hurricanes. Nominated for Arabian Gulf player of the season.
• Sean Carey. Iberian Nickname: Christavao Mendonca. Nationality: Irish. Teams: Dubai Hurricanes. Lansdown – National Irish Champs.                                                                 Phil Cronin. Iberian Nickname: Christopher Columbus. Nationality: Irish Teams: Doha 1st XV. Jebel Ali Dragons.
• Mike Ballard: Iberian Nickname: Henry the Navigator. Nationality: USA.Teams: Abu Dhabi Harlequins. Nominated for Arabian Gulf player of the season.

The Conquistadors will be seeing you soon. #onwards

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As a global leader in construction consulting, with a portfolio of some of the world’s largest and most prestigious projects in every major sector of the construction industry, Hill International are committed to excellence, providing an unrivalled depth of resources, experience and services, including construction claims, project and cost management. With $500 billion in projects under management and experience on over 50,000 claims worth more than $100 billion, Hill are at the leading edge of international construction claims and project management, providing practical advice to contractors, employers, consultants, solicitors, banks and financial institutions. With over 4,800 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, Hill has the experience and the expertise to help their clients deliver their projects on time, and within budget, and with the highest quality possible. Our history is defined by thousands of successful projects. Our future is defined by the success of your next project. https://www.hillintl.com

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King & Wood Mallesons is a new breed of law firm combining local depth with a global platform. Offering a different perspective to commercial thinking and the client experience, 2,700 lawyers across more than 30 international offices are working with clients every day to understand local challenges and navigate through regional complexity. With access to a global platform, we provide commercial solutions and transforming the way legal services are delivered. Recognised as one of the strongest legal advisors in the UAE, our Dubai office is strategically placed to serve global, regional and local clients. Over many years, clients throughout the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia have benefited from our UAE lawyers’ expertise in:
Corporate / Commercial, IP & TMT / Dispute Resolution / Real Estate / Construction / Energy, Infrastructure & Projects / Tax.
KWM offers a full range of legal services in the Middle East from our Dubai and Riyadh offices. For more information please email dubai@me.kwm.com or call +971 (0)4 328 9900.
http://www.kwm.com

ALEC logo

ALEC is the preferred contractor of choice for the execution of major, complex construction projects. The company started in the UAE in 1999, with a firm vision to raise the level of design and construction services and we currently operate in UAE, Oman and Qatar. ALEC has delivered developments of the highest quality to key clients many of which have become significant landmarks. The scope of ALEC’s projects includes: airport terminals, themed projects, hotels, retail developments, commercial buildings and residential.

The One Group

ONE Group is a boutique advisory company operating across the Middle East and Africa, with its head office being based in Dubai.
We specialise in providing transparent advice and solutions to both Individual and corporate clients. Our advice is inclusive of insurance, investment, and strategic planning.
http://theonegroup.co

Picnic Basket

“Picnic Basket” is a wholesome UAE-founded catering company formed for busy Dubai residents who value delicious and homemade food. We are a ready-made food brand that takes the time customers don’t have to prepare scrumptious, wholesome food with the best ingredients. We run daily delivery services to more than 160 offices every day across Dubai, alongside scrumptious corporate and events catering.

We work (almost) 24/7 – delivering packed breakfasts for 150 people at 4am on a Friday morning for a film shoot, to a baby shower for 20 guests at home. We cater for boat parties, birthdays, office breakfasts, school sports competitions – get in touch if you’d like to know more! http://www.picnicbasketme.com

b2b

Founded in 2009 b2b (back 2 basics) has helped thousands of clients reach their goals. From individuals competing at professional level, post natal mothers looking to regain their bod from the glory days and recovering heart surgery patients.

“Our mission is to provide the highest standard of training and care possible, not only in the physical sense but also the emotional support needed on each individual’s journey.”

“Our clients come first. It’s as simple as that.”

http://www.b2bfitnessdubai.com

Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors

Mike Ballard foundation logo

Conquistadors Winston Cowie

The recently formed Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors 7s rugby team have their telescope firmly set on the Dubai 7s. A mix of largely UAE based former Oxford Blues, Abu Dhabi Harlequins, Doha, Bahrain, Dubai Hurricanes and Jebel Ali Dragons have banded together and formed a 7s team to raise money for the Mike Ballard Foundation.

Mike Ballard, a 29 year old American teacher working in Abu Dhabi suffered a severe spinal cord injury whilst playing Rugby for the Abu Dhabi Harlequins in the West Asian Club Championship Final in 2014. He has since had two serious operations on his spine to stabilise it, with his recovery hindered by an infection carried in the metalwork in his spine, which was recently replaced in April 2015. Since then, and over one and a half years since the accident, Mike has made excellent progress in his rehabilitation and has become increasingly mobile and independent, and has made the courageous call to return to Abu Dhabi to live and work, taking up a place at his old school, the “New England Centre for Children with Autism”, where his teaching greatly inspired the Autistic children and their families.

“It’s a massive call from Mike to return to Abu Dhabi and “get on with life” after such a hard road, but its testament to his character that he has decided to do so. We are here to support Mike and initiatives like the Conquistadors really help Mike with some hefty ongoing medical costs,” says Mike Ballard Foundation co-founder Ed Lewsey.

Player / Coach of the Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors, Winston Cowie, says: “A few of us who have been involved in the rugby scene in the Gulf for a couple of years caught up recently and decided we should enter a team in the Dubai 7s. Unfortunately they were full. It was only two weeks ago that we were told we were ‘in’ so we madly scrambled and put together a team, to support Mike with his recovery. It’s pretty cool – we have managed to get together some of the best players to play rugby in the Gulf, and in the space of one week, we secured jersey sponsorship from the kind and generous Hill International Claims Group; law firm King & Wood Mallesons; construction company Alec – Building Excellence; and financial advisors The One Group. The Dubai based ‘Picnic Basket’ will also provide us with a good nutritious lunch. We are so grateful to these fine organisations for supporting Mike and we will be working hard to make sure we perform at the 7s for Mike and them.”

The team reads as a bit of an Arabian Gulf Rugby Barbarians team – the back line axis is that of the dominant Abu Dhabi Harlequins team of 2009-2010 – Ed Lewsey (former Exeter Chiefs and UAE representative); Joel Pikari (UAE representative) and the eldest rugby / rugby league dual international ever, Tom Calnan. Throw into the mix stars from the past few seasons: Andy Powell, Brendon Rawlins (also former Exeter Chiefs) and Sean Carey from the Dubai Hurricanes; Doha’s recent arrival, Sam Priest (Oxford Rugby Blue squad); coupled with a forward pack including the likes of the second most capped UAE player, Graeme Murphy; Winston Cowie (former Oxford Blue and 36 tries for Doha in 42 matches), second rows Conor Coakley (Doha and Dubai Hurricanes) and Phil Brady (Abu Dhabi Harlequins and UAE representative); and Wade Quinn (Doha, Qatar International and Bahrain) and you have a rather competitive team.

“Getting together the team was ridiculous,” says Cowie. “Supported by former Doha No.7, Phil Cronin, as manager, in the space of a week, we had guys queuing up to play and support Mike. The blokes in the team are good rugby players, no doubt – we used to play hard against one another, but most importantly they are all good blokes and will all be good ambassadors for the Mike Ballard Foundation and our sponsors at the Dubai 7s. Its going to be great playing with some of the guys that in the past we used to have some ding dong battles with. What else is cool, is that most of the major teams are represented – Abu Dhabi; Bahrain; Doha; Jebel Ali; and Dubai Hurricanes – it’s a Gulf Rugby community story. And Mike is going to be there with us, as manager, pitch-side. So we are absolutely pumped to catch up with him and play footy in front of him.”

On the boys fitness, Cowie comments:
“We played in the Eden Park 7s in the weekend which was really well hosted by the Dubai Sharks. We made the final, and unfortunately went down, but on the plus side, we played five games of 7s together which is really good preparation. Five games of 7s in one day when you haven’t played much footy in a while is quite a bit. But we survived, put in a good showing and onwards as they say.”

Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors

Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors at the Eden Park 7s.

“And it’s funny, you know, a few of the boys in the team suffered some pretty serious injuries during their careers – Priesty (Sam Priest) broke his hip playing for Oxford; Kiwi (Andy Powell) recently broke his leg; and I dislocated my knee playing for Doha. So for these boys to want to get out there and play, it really shows the regard we hold Mike in. We’ve got one week and a half now to train so we should be hitting our peak come the 7s.”

There is an added quirk to the Mike Ballard Foundation Conquistadors – the name ‘Conquistadors’ refers to a book that Cowie has authored, called ‘Conquistador Puzzle Trail,’ which assesses early Portuguese and Spanish voyages to Australia and New Zealand pre Tasman and Janzsoon.
“It’s funny how the name came about. Phil (Cronin) phoned me and said we are ‘into the Dubai 7s’ and that the team name was the Conquistadors. I laughed and embraced it – we have all been delegated Conquistador nicknames – if you want to know anything about Portuguese or Spanish maritime history at the 7s – please ask – you won’t be able to miss us. Winnie De Gama is mine – after Vasco De Gama, who opened the sea route through to India in 1498. Having a Conquistador type beard is also a team pre-requisite. It will be fun.”

Many thanks again to sponsors Hill International Claims Group; King & Wood Mallesons; Alec – Building Excellence; The One Group Middle East; and The Picnic Basket for their superb support.
…………………………
And some details on our kind and generous sponsors:

Hill Claims Group Logo

As a global leader in construction consulting, with a portfolio of some of the world’s largest and most prestigious projects in every major sector of the construction industry, Hill International are committed to excellence, providing an unrivalled depth of resources, experience and services, including construction claims, project and cost management.  With $500 billion in projects under management and experience on over 50,000 claims worth more than $100 billion, Hill are at the leading edge of international construction claims and project management, providing practical advice to contractors, employers, consultants, solicitors, banks and financial institutions. With over 4,800 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, Hill has the experience and the expertise to help their clients deliver their projects on time, and within budget, and with the highest quality possible. Our history is defined by thousands of successful projects. Our future is defined by the success of your next project. https://www.hillintl.com

master_logo

King & Wood Mallesons is a new breed of law firm combining local depth with a global platform. Offering a different perspective to commercial thinking and the client experience, 2,700 lawyers across more than 30 international offices are working with clients every day to understand local challenges and navigate through regional complexity. With access to a global platform, we provide commercial solutions and transforming the way legal services are delivered.  Recognised as one of the strongest legal advisors in the UAE, our Dubai office is strategically placed to serve global, regional and local clients. Over many years, clients throughout the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia have benefited from our UAE lawyers’ expertise in:
Corporate / Commercial, IP & TMT / Dispute Resolution / Real Estate / Construction / Energy, Infrastructure & Projects / Tax.
KWM offers a full range of legal services in the Middle East from our Dubai and Riyadh offices. For more information please email dubai@me.kwm.com or call +971 (0)4 328 9900.
http://www.kwm.com

ALEC logo

ALEC is the preferred contractor of choice for the execution of major, complex construction projects. The company started in the UAE in 1999, with a firm vision to raise the level of design and construction services and we currently operate in UAE, Oman and Qatar. ALEC has delivered developments of the highest quality to key clients many of which have become significant landmarks. The scope of ALEC’s projects includes: airport terminals, themed projects, hotels, retail developments, commercial buildings and residential.

The One Group

ONE Group is a boutique advisory company operating across the Middle East and Africa, with its head office being based in Dubai. 
We specialise in providing transparent advice and solutions to both Individual and corporate clients. Our advice is inclusive of insurance, investment, and strategic planning.
http://theonegroup.co

Picnic Basket

“Picnic Basket” is a wholesome UAE-founded catering company formed for busy Dubai residents who value delicious and homemade food. We are a ready-made food brand that takes the time customers don’t have to prepare scrumptious, wholesome food with the best ingredients. We run daily delivery services to more than 160 offices every day across Dubai, alongside scrumptious corporate and events catering.

We work (almost) 24/7 – delivering packed breakfasts for 150 people at 4am on a Friday morning for a film shoot, to a baby shower for 20 guests at home. We cater for boat parties, birthdays, office breakfasts, school sports competitions – get in touch if you’d like to know more! http://www.picnicbasketme.com

 

Conquistador Puzzle Trail – Momentum Building

It has been a couple of months since the launch of my latest book Conquistador Puzzle Trail and in that time I have received some really good feedback from the public.

I have written two open letters, one to New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa, in respect of the iron helmet in their collection, and the theories in respect of it (click here); and the second to the New Zealand Ministry of Culture and Heritage in respect of their current descriptions of New Zealand discovery history (click here).

I am grateful to both Te Papa and the New Zealand Ministry of Culture and Heritage for responding to me and stating that in time, they will review their current descriptions on these genres. Thank you both for taking the time to consider the hypothesis that New Zealand and Australia were most probably discovered by the Portuguese, and that the Spanish may have also voyaged to New Zealand pre Tasman.

I have also liaised with the New Zealand History Teachers Association in respect of Conquistador Puzzle Trail, and am pleased that they appear open to the theory, publishing an article on their website, for New Zealand history teachers to consider alternatives to New Zealand and Australia’s current discovery paradigm.

This article is available here.

My feeling is that the stigma that for the past 30 years has muddied the thinking around this theory is a thing of the past. We can now have a serious conversation about the very tenable theory – a theory that has been taken seriously by top historians and cartographers over the past 228 years – that theory being that New Zealand and Australia were most probably discovered by the Portuguese, and that the Spanish may have also voyaged to New Zealand pre-Tasman.

And it appears that people and New Zealand’s historical organisations are open to the korero which is great – but in saying that, it’s not what I think that is important, it’s what you, the public, thinks. I’ve merely had a go at putting together the puzzle based on best available information.

So let’s see.

What’s your view based on best available information?

Te hei mauri ora.

And a massive congratulations to the All Blacks. You were superb.

Winston Cowie

p.s I received some mail recently. With a Spanish address on it, I didn’t know what to expect. When I opened it, I grinned from ear to ear. Inside the box was a La Coruna police hat that had been gifted to me two years earlier when I had travelled to La Coruna to date the tree, and also at the same time gift the magnificent greenstone taonga to the tree that Kerry Strongman had kindly given as a koha. Click here for more details. My good Spanish friend, Juan Pineiro, had rediscovered the hat soon after receiving a copy of Conquistador Puzzle Trail. And so it, arrived, a treasured momento of that research trip. Many thanks La Coruna and Juan!

Winston Cowie La Coruna Police Hat

Open letter to the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage re European discovery of New Zealand

8 October 2015

Open letter to the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Re: Te Ara: The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand – current summary of the European discovery of New Zealand

Dear New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage,

Congratulations on your fantastic online resource – Te Ara: The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand – it is interesting, interactive and informative. It certainly is a comprehensive guide to New Zealand’s natural environment, history, culture, economy, institutions and society.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Winston Cowie, author of Conquistador Puzzle Trail, which comprehensively and objectively assesses early Spanish and Portuguese voyages to New Zealand and Australia pre Tasman and Janzsoon. Conquistador Puzzle Trail also presents details of New Zealand’s ‘oldest’ shipwreck, a likely Dutch vessel.

My purpose in writing to you is to provide an alternative to your current summary of the European discovery of New Zealand. My view, which has been supported and praised by both the Portuguese and Spanish embassies to New Zealand and Australia, is that the Portuguese, most likely and on the balance of probabilities, discovered New Zealand and Australia between 1520 and 1524. The Spanish may have also voyaged to New Zealand before Abel Tasman between 1576-1578.

Below, I include your current summary, my comments on aspects of it based on the research in Conquistador Puzzle Trail, and my proposed alternative.

Simply put, I think New Zealand and Australia’s discovery theory needs revision.

Your current initial summary, entitled ‘Story: European discovery of New Zealand’ reads as follows:

Story: European discovery of New Zealand

In their search for the vast ‘terra australis incognita’ (the unknown southern land) thought to lie in the Pacific, explorers made daring journeys across uncharted waters.

They did not find the fabled continent, but they did find New Zealand. First sighted by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, the country was later mapped by James Cook, the British captain who dominates the story of the European discovery of New Zealand.

Henricus Hondius Map 1637

Henricus Hondius Map 1637

The Short Story

Abel Tasman

Portuguese and Spanish ships began crossing the Pacific Ocean in the 1500s, but it was probably not until 1642 that a European sighted New Zealand. In that year the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed in search of a vast southern continent, which many Europeans thought might exist in the South Pacific. Dutch merchants hoped this land would offer new opportunities for trade. Tasman discovered New Zealand on 13 December 1642, but after a bloody encounter with Māori in Golden Bay, he left without going ashore.

Shortly afterwards, a Dutch map maker gave the name Nieuw Zeeland to the land Tasman had discovered.

James Cook

The English navigator Captain James Cook sighted New Zealand on 6 October 1769, and landed at Poverty Bay two days later. He drew detailed and accurate maps of the country, and wrote about the Māori people. His first encounter with Māori was not successful – a fight broke out in which some Māori were killed. However, after this Cook and his men had friendly contact with Māori.

The naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, who sailed with Cook, gathered a great deal of information about the country’s plants and animals. Their records formed the foundation for the modern study of New Zealand botany.

On two later voyages, Captain Cook used New Zealand as a base to prove that a great southern continent did not exist in the Pacific.

Citation: John Wilson. ‘European discovery of New Zealand’, Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, updated 18-Jun-14
  ………………………………………………………..

I provide some comment on the above.

The map that is currently on your website, Henricus Hondius’ 1637 map, is not the earliest of the Terra Australis Incognita or of Australia and New Zealand. I provide you an alternative below based on the 228 year old, well researched theory, that the Portuguese discovered Australia and New Zealand, a theory that has been taken seriously and believed by some of the top cartographers and historians of their time, from Alexander Dalrymple (1786); the British Admiralty (1803); Richard Henry Major (1859), George Collingridge (1895), José Toribio Medina (1918), Robert Langdon (1975 and 1988), Kenneth McIntyre (1977 and 1982), Dr Helen Wallis (1981), Roger Hervé (1983), and Peter Trickett (2007).

The maps I provide below speak for themselves for readers of the encyclopaedia to assess. They date to between 1542 and 1566 (over 100 years before Tasman); and the most detailed map (from 1547) includes over 120 Portuguese place names which are descriptive of physical features, features which are in those places today (as an example, at Fraser Island in Australia where there are pumice deposits, the word pomezita is written; similarly where the word camronron appears, which means prawns, there is a modern day prawn fishery today). The coastline of the continent is also similar to that of Australia and New Zealand in most places. On the basis of these maps of the sixteenth century Dieppe school of cartographers, and a number of other artefacts within Australia and New Zealand, the serious and very tenable theory can be made, that the Portuguese discovered Australia and New Zealand.

My alternative proposal, for your kind assessment, for your European discovery section is provided below.

Story: European discovery of New Zealand

New Zealand’s current discovery paradigm is that New Zealand was discovered by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who searched for and found the ‘terra australis incognita’ (the unknown southern land), the country later being mapped by James Cook, the British captain, from 1769. A growing body of evidence, however, based on a group of sixteenth century maps known as the Dieppe maps, points to the Portuguese probably discovery New Zealand between 1520-24. The 120 Portuguese names on the landmass which is located in the place of modern day Australia and New Zealand, the similarity of those places to places in modern day Australia and New Zealand, the descriptions on those place names corresponding with the physical features that exist today; and the credibility of the cartographers makes this theory probable.

Desliens Map 1566

Desliens Map 1566

Jean Rotz Map 1542

Jean Rotz Map 1542

Vallard Map 1547 - the eastern coast of Australia

Vallard Map 1547 – the eastern coast of Australia?

Vallard Map 1547 The North island of New Zealand?

Vallard Map 1547 The North island of New Zealand?

Proposed Citation: Winston Cowie.’European discovery of New Zealand’,Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, updated 8-Oct-15

Map citations: Map 1. A reproduction of Desliens Chart (1566),Dieppe,France. Source: Desliens, Nicholas, Desliens planisphere II (1566), Dieppe, France. Source: Original map is currently located at Bibliotheque Nationale de Paris.

Map 2. Rotz, Jean, Circular chart 1542. Source: A reproduction of themap is currently located within Wallis, H. The Maps and text of the Boke of Idrography presented by Jean Rotz to Henry VIII. 1981.Oxford,United Kingdom, located at the British Library.

Maps 3 and 4. The Vallard Atlas, 1547, Dieppe, France. Source: The original Vallard map is held by the Huntington Library, San Marino, California and can be viewed at http:// sunsite3.berkeley.edu/hehweb/HM29.html.

The Short Story

The Portuguese and Spanish sixteenth century dominance

The sixteenth century was the time of the great Portuguese and Spanish voyages of discovery. In 1494 in what is known as the Treaty of Tordesillas, Pope Alexander VI drew a line of demarcation down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and declared that all non-Christian lands to the east (Africa and India) were available for Portuguese exploration and all non-Christian lands to the west were available for Spanish exploration. This included America and what lay beyond, which was the Pacific Ocean.

Progress in discovering and conquering new lands was swift for both Iberian neighbours. Using carracks and caravels the trade routes to the fabled Spice Islands of the East Indies (modern day Indonesia) opened. Sailing to the east of the Tordesillas line and following Vasco De Gama’s route to India, the Portuguese conquistador Afonso de Albuquerque captured Ormuz at the head of the Arabian Gulf in 1507, conquered Goa, India in 1510, Malacca, Malaysia in 1511, and through to the Spice Islands in 1512. The Spanish were also busy; in 1513 the conquistador Vasco Núñez de Balboa crossed the Panama Isthmus and became the first European to view the Pacific Ocean from its western shore; and between 1519 and 1522 the Spanish through Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano sailed around the world for the first time – the first modern-day nation to do so.

The Portuguese – Captain Cristavao Mendonca

Sixteenth century maps of a great southern continent started appearing from 1542. The most detailed of those maps, the Vallard of 1547 includes over 120 place names on a continent called Jave La Grande or ‘Big Java’ which is in the place of modern day Australia. An island, the Illa do magna or ‘Island of Mahogany’ is positioned where modern day New Zealand is located.

The maps are the starting point for Iberian discovery theory and for over 228 years, researchers have put forward theories in respect of their origins. The detail on them is breath-taking – to give you an example, the curator of maps at the British Library, the late Helen Wallis, in a 1981 commentary on the Dieppe maps, agreed that these lands had likely been visited by Portuguese voyagers, stating:

“… it is notable how many of these names are descriptive of physical features … others seem to record the events and personal associations of an exploring voyage, including saints’ names … It is clear that the land represents a discovery made on a European voyage or coastal exploration. Secondly, it was apparently not a region of settled and civilised populations whose peoples would tell a visiting expedition the names of towns and other places (in fact there is no sign of towns). Thirdly, the number of Portuguese names suggests that the voyage was made, or at least recorded, by the Portuguese. The flags on Desliens charts of 1561 and 1566 are more explicit, indicating a Portuguese discovery.”

The voyager that is likely the first discoverer of Australia and New Zealand is the Portuguese nobleman Christavão de Mendonça who between 1520-24 was sent on an expedition to find the ‘Isles of Gold beyond Sumatra,’ of Marco Polo fame. The maps, coupled with artefacts in Australia and New Zealand including the Napier Broome Bay cannon; Fraser Island lead sinker; Tamil Bell; Korotangi and oral tradition of white voyagers visiting Australia and New Zealand prior to Tasman all support the Portuguese theory.

The Spanish – Captain Juan Fernandez

The Spanish had bases in the Philippines, Acapulco in Mexico, Peru and Concepcion in Chile in the sixteenth century and believe that Captain Juan Fernandez voyaged to New Zealand between 1576 and 1578 from Concepcion, reached New Zealand at East Cape, accounting for oral tradition in that area of early white voyagers, before spending time in Wellington Harbour. Evidence that supports this discovery include the iron helmet likely found in Wellington Harbour dating to that same period -1560-1580; Maori oral tradition from the Wellington region of a pre-Tasman voyager having a child with a Maori woman; and the Ruamahunga skull – of a European woman living in New Zealand in the sixteenth century dating to within 41 years of that voyage. When these ‘conquistador’ puzzle pieces are put together, it can be theorised that Juan Fernandez may have voyaged to New Zealand prior to Tasman. There is currently no alternative theory to explain what a European woman was doing in the Wellington region in the sixteenth century.

The Dutch – Abel Tasman

In 1642 the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sailed in search of a vast southern continent, which many Europeans thought might exist in the South Pacific. Dutch merchants hoped this land would offer new opportunities for trade. Tasman sighted New Zealand on 13 December 1642, but after a bloody encounter with Māori in Golden Bay, and after mapping some of New Zealand, he left without going ashore.

Shortly afterwards, a Dutch map maker gave the name Nieuw Zeeland to the land Tasman had voyaged to.

The British – James Cook

The English navigator Captain James Cook sighted New Zealand on 6 October 1769, and landed at Poverty Bay two days later. He drew detailed and accurate maps of the country, and wrote about the Māori people. His first encounter with Māori was not successful – a fight broke out in which some Māori were killed. However, after this Cook and his men had friendly contact with Māori.

The naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, who sailed with Cook, gathered a great deal of information about the country’s plants and animals. Their records formed the foundation for the modern study of New Zealand botany.

On two later voyages, Captain Cook used New Zealand as a base to prove that a great southern continent did not exist in the Pacific.

The debate is open as to whether Cook had an earlier Portuguese chart or charts with him of this area of the world, with Joseph Banks, who was on Cook’s first expedition gifting the map known as the ‘Dauphin Map’ to the British British Museum in 1790, 19 years after Cook’s first voyage of discovery.

Citation: Winston Cowie. ‘European discovery of New Zealand’, Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, updated 8-Oct-15

                                   ……………………………………………

I would be most grateful for your view and response, Te Ara. What do you think? Is now the time to review New Zealand’s discovery history and have an open mind in respect of earlier Portuguese and Spanish voyages to New Zealand and Australia that probably occurred? Contrary to what it currently states on your website – the Portuguese and Spanish were probably the first Europeans to discover and voyage to New Zealand and Australia. How else can the Portuguese charts and the Ruamahunga skull be explained? Having these probabilities presented on your website would, in my view, encourage debate and discussion about New Zealand’s heritage and culture and be true to and reflective of Australian and New Zealand discovery history.

Should you need any further information, may I propose you read Conquistador Puzzle Trail, which is the reference for the above, and is available in Paper Plus stores around New Zealand and all good independents. There are many more puzzle pieces within it that have been assessed to see where they may or may not fit within New Zealand and Australia’s discovery framework.

I look forward to hearing from you, and perhaps even seeing a change in the commentary re this important national korero.

With Best Wishes,

Winston Cowie

Author – Conquistador Puzzle Trail

United Arab Emirates

Eye on Earth Summit, Pierre-Yves Cousteau and Project Hermes

Let’s hack the ocean!

It was a privilege to attend the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi this week. An incredible congregation of scientists, policy makers, and brilliant minds convened, converged, and collaborated – all in the name of increasing global access to information to support sustainable development.

Check it out here. 

One project that captured my imagination is the brainchild of none other than Pierre-Yves Cousteau, youngest son of the legendary Jacques Cousteau; the founder of Cousteau Divers, and the IUCN’s Marine Program Officer. Pierre’s objective is simple – he wants to know the temperature of the ocean.

Isn’t it incredible that in 2015 we don’t know that?

Pierre-Yves Cousteau at Eye on Earth. Project Hermes launch.

Pierre-Yves Cousteau at Eye on Earth. Project Hermes launch.

The ocean’s temperatures greatly influence our planet’s climate, weather, fish stocks, bird populations and are steadily increasing yet our understanding of how they vary at the scale of the ecosystems is largely unknown to science.

The data exists and you can help!

Let’s hack the ocean!

You’re a diver – you’ve got a dive computer? On your computer is data – incredibly useful data – that can help in mapping historic and the real-time temperatures of the ocean, at depth, world-wide.

It’s a citizen science revolution – support humankind’s understanding of the ocean and its role in climate change by downloading your data – photos / videos and most importantly – the temperature data from your dive computer!

And for dive centers and communities – Pierre -Yves is currently setting up a network of Cousteau Dive centers around the world. New Zealand and Australia – get involved! Become a Cousteau Dive Centre! Share you and your dive community’s dive data!

Get involved and find our more here!

And I had the privilege of meeting Pierre-Yves and was lucky to be part of the team that hosted him for an event at the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi. A top bloke, super down to earth, and he’s got vision. It’s not often you meet a guy with three Master degrees, who has worked for NASA and the European Space Agency, and now wants to study the deep….

The world needs people and projects like this.

I’m in. Are you?

Pierre-Yves Cousteau & Winston Cowie.

Pierre-Yves Cousteau & Winston Cowie.

Winston Cowie.jpg

It’s in our hands!

Te hei mauri ora,

Winnie

Winston Cowie

New Zealand’s Iron helmet (known as the Spanish helmet). New Manukau Harbour helmet.

3 September 2015

Open letter to Te Papa Tongarewa.

Re: The “Iron helmet” (known as the Spanish helmet); Item Registration Number: ME00084.

Dear Te Papa Tongarewa,

Congratulations on your outstanding museum – it certainly is a “house of treasures” and it is in respect of one of those treasures – Wellington’s ‘iron helmet’ (also known as the Spanish helmet) that I write to you.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Winston Cowie, author of Conquistador Puzzle Trail, which comprehensively and objectively assesses early Spanish and Portuguese voyages to New Zealand and Australia pre Tasman and Janzsoon. It also presents details of New Zealand’s ‘oldest’ shipwreck, a likely Dutch vessel.

Praised by both the Portuguese and Spanish embassies to New Zealand, Conquistador Puzzle Trail takes the reader through each Iberian puzzle piece, puts the arguments for and against its antiquity to the reader, and encourages the reader to decide what part of the Conquistador Puzzle that piece forms.

Each puzzle piece is presented to the public on its own merit; I explain how I came across it, what or who is the source of the puzzle piece, and let you decide where it fits into the theoretical framework. If a puzzle piece doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit; I have not tried to twist a puzzle piece to fit with a theory. Each puzzle piece is what it is and means what it means.

Which brings me to that treasure in your collection, the “Iron helmet”.

Having reviewed the commentary on your website in respect of the helmet, commentary that is based on a 1983 paper entitled “The myth of New Zealand’s so-called Spanish helmet”, in my humble view, it may be an opportune time to review that commentary. It has been 33 years!

I have taken the time to consult with the author of that paper, who agrees that some of the theories in that commentary may need revision.

Your commentary currently states:

“An iron helmet dated to 1580 and previously thought to be Spanish was found in Wellington Harbour some time before 1904. It has since been repeatedly cited as evidence of European contact with New Zealand prior to Abel Tasman in 1642. It is a ‘close helmet’. Though the style is European, it is not necessarily Spanish. It could have been made in England or northern Italy. Its state of preservation suggests it was immersed in seawater for only a short time. It shows no signs of marine encrustation, although it could have been cleaned. Archival material in the Museum shows that so little is known about the helmet that it cannot be used as evidence of European contact with New Zealand before Tasman. The helmet may have been used as ship’s ballast – obsolete armour was often used this way. It may have been a souvenir brought out by an immigrant. The helmet may have also been given as a presentation piece or as trade to local Maori in much the same way as armour was presented to Hongi Hika, Titore, and a sword to Te Rauparaha. The helmet was first recorded in the museum’s collections in 1904 – 1905. It has been dated to approximately 1580 and is of a type known as a close helmet. Close helmets were used in the sixteenth century. There is no evidence to suggest Te Papa’s helmet is actually of Spanish origin. It is not known when or how the museum acquired the helmet. It was recorded as “found in Wellington Harbour”.

I humbly propose that the three explanations theorised in respect of the helmet back in 1983 may require your kind consideration for amendment. I provide an assessment of those theories below, with some excerpts from Conquistador Puzzle Trail included.

1) The helmet could have been used as ship’s ballast.

This theory is in the author’s view simply no longer credible. Ballast is used to provide stability to a ship and as such, is required to be heavy and generally uniform in size. In my view, a post-Cook era sailing ship using a circa 200-250-year-old sixteenth century iron helmet as ship’s ballast is as almost as far-fetched as one can get in attempting to explain why the helmet was likely discovered in Wellington Harbour (I say likely, because of the uncertainty around the circumstances in which it was allegedly discovered).

Iron blocks or shingle, not 200-250-year-old helmets, were the standard methods used for ballast at the end of the eighteenth century when increased shipping traffic began arriving in New Zealand. Take the HMS Sirius, wrecked in 1790 at Norfolk Island and the infamous HMS Bounty, also wrecked in 1790 at Pitcairn Island as examples. Both used iron blocks as ballast. For this theory to be even remotely feasible, a person in the late eighteenth or nineteenth century would have needed to have been in possession of a 200-250-year-old helmet and made the conscious decision to physically put it in the hull of a ship, to add a measly 1916.4g weight to support the stability of the ship, when iron blocks or shingle were the standard methods used and probably already there…….”

There is more in Conquistador Puzzle Trail but I think you get my drift. Perhaps it may be time to move on from this theory in respect of Wellington’s iron helmet.

2) Just as the Maori chiefs Hongi Hika and Titore were presented with some armour, and Te Rauparaha was given a sword, so too the helmet could have been given to a Maori as a presentation piece, or as a trade, and lost some time later.

“In my view it is unlikely that Wellington’s iron helmet was given to a Maori chief, who lost it. Such an item would have likely been valued by the chief it was given to because it would have added to his mana. The exception is Hongi Hika who is said to have sold many such gifts given to him by King George IV, in order to purchase muskets. In Hika’s case, he had a clear motive for selling the armour…

If a chief was gifted armour, and the helmet was found in Wellington Harbour as the archives suggest, how did he lose it? Did he take it out for a fish in his waka and lose it overboard? No, of course not. Did another Maori steal it and throw it in the harbour? No, the helmet would have been viewed as tapu – anybody who touched it without asking would have been inviting reprisal from the atua. Possession of the helmet would also have brought mana to the holder; it would not have been easily parted with, which makes the “gifted to a Maori chief who lost it” theory problematic. It doesn’t fit within the Maori values framework….”

Furthermore, if Wellington wasn’t settled until the 1840s, there isn’t a lot of time for the Maori chief to receive it, lose it in the harbour, and then it be discovered by 1904 – and none of this be recorded in the oral tradition of the area.

There is nothing to support this theory – a Maori chief being gifted a 250 year old helmet, who then lost it in Wellington Harbour.

Perhaps it may be time to move on from this theory in respect of Wellington’s iron helmet.

3) It may have been a souvenir brought out from England by an immigrant.

Of the three theories suggested on your website, the theory that the helmet was a souvenir brought out from England by an immigrant is the most credible, however, is still problematic.

“The theory has recently been supported by the finding of an article in the Dominion Post (3 August 1932) stating that a first generation New Zealander, Alfred Taine, wrote that a settler of the 1840 era purchased the helmet prior to leaving Gravesend in London. “On his arrival here he learned a helmet was quite unnecessary, and as he was sufficiently encumbered with his goods and chattels, and not any of his fellow immigrants cared to accept the iron hat, so he got rid of it in the most easy way – by tossing it overboard.

In the author’s view, the Taine story is not logical. If the settler that Taine refers to did obtain the helmet from Gravesend, and was afraid enough of the Maori to purchase it, a likely expensive acquisition, having brought his “protection” all the way from England, it seems illogical that he happened to throw it overboard, prior to landing and scoping out the potential adversary and whether or not the Maori were to be feared. With space limited on early ships bringing settlers to New Zealand, I very much doubt whether a 250-year-old helmet would have made the proverbial “cut” when the immigrant was packing key items to take to a new land.”

Now, having assessed the three theories currently used to explain the helmet’s existence, I propose alternatives which are based on some context – more information has come to light since that 1983 paper. My proposed alternative commentary follows.

The “Iron helmet “(known as the Spanish helmet); Item Registration Number: ME00084.

“An iron helmet of European origin was presented to the Museum of New Zealand circa 1904-1905; it is thought to have been found in Wellington Harbour and it dates to the years 1560-1580. The helmet is an international type of helmet; a standard model to be found anywhere from England to Spain to Portugal to Italy where large numbers of these helmets were produced during that time period.

The most important thing to consider when assessing the helmet’s origin is the uncertainty surrounding where it was found and the lack of detail on the museum catalogue in respect of its origin. The lack of any other artefacts discovered with the helmet also leaves a blank canvas in which people can only theorise as to how the helmet ended up in the museum.

There are three theories that have been proposed in respect of the origin of the helmet – two in respect of pre-Tasman Iberian voyages to New Zealand that may have occurred and one in respect of a later immigrant who lost the helmet in the harbour. If one assesses the era that the helmet dates to, the late sixteenth century, it was the Spanish and Portuguese who were the maritime powerhouses at that time, both of whom had bases in South-east Asia and the Spanish in South America.

In respect of the Spanish, a Spanish voyage by Captain Juan Fernandez is accepted by Spain’s national Naval Museum in Madrid as having occurred between 1576 and 1578, sailing to and from Concepcion in Chile; a later letter claims that on that voyage Fernandez discovered islands in the Pacific; the helmet dates to that same period -1560-1580; there is Maori oral tradition from the Wellington region of a pre-Tasman voyager having a child with a Maori woman; and the Ruamahunga skull – of a European woman living in New Zealand in the sixteenth century dates to within 41 years of that voyage. When these ‘conquistador’ puzzle pieces are put together, it can be theorised that the helmet may indeed be ‘Spanish’, as was originally theorised.

An alternative Iberian theory is that while the helmet has been dated to that 1560-80 period, it may be earlier and have come off an earlier Portuguese voyage to New Zealand and Australia – that of Captain Christopher Mendonca, the sixteenth century Dieppe maps of which suggest that he was probably the first European to discover Australia and New Zealand between 1520-1524. Similarities have been claimed between the Wellington helmet and those in the Lisbon Military Museum.

The third explanation for the helmet is that the helmet was a souvenir brought out from England by an immigrant. An article in the Dominion Post (3 August 1932) states that a first generation New Zealander, Alfred Taine, wrote that a settler of the 1840 era purchased the helmet prior to leaving Gravesend in London. “On his arrival here he learned a helmet was quite unnecessary, and as he was sufficiently encumbered with his goods and chattels, and not any of his fellow immigrants cared to accept the iron hat, so he got rid of it in the most easy way – by tossing it overboard.”

Until more information comes to light, these three theories are all possible explanations of the enigmatic helmet’s origin.”

What do you think? They are all reasonable explanations and all with supporting context, as opposed to, in the case of the ballast and Maori chief gifting, dare I say it, nothing at all.

I did take the time to contact the author of that 1983 paper, and this is what they had to say:

“The negative conclusion of my paper does not stand up any longer. However, from the point of view of what information was available at the time in the National Museum archive, my paper is still the major reference for the ‘Spanish’ helmet. So you could say that what does not stand up is my interpretation of the facts at that time. I have no qualms about changing my mind if I am proved wrong or if additional evidence comes along.

Back in 1983 I certainly held strong views about any pre- Tasman exploration of New Zealand because there was no evidence for it. There was another reason for my entrenched attitude, too. The subject was being spoiled by people claiming bizarre discoveries of New Zealand by Arabs, Phoenicians, Celts etc and several of us were trying to take the subject seriously. So my paper was aimed at being as definite as possible to try and bring some sensibility before the public – what did we really know about the helmet and was it evidence for a pre-Tasman visit to our shores? I found, of course, we knew nothing about the helmet – other than what I wrote – and since then we still don’t know any more.

Now having said the above, I have changed my mind. And I have changed my mind because of the probable seventeenth century date for the female Ruamahanga skull. I believe the skull indicates that New Zealand now has in its maritime history the remarkable probability of a European woman alive in the southern Wairarapa sometime around the years 1619 to 1689. I am now prepared to accept that for the first time we have evidence for a visit.”

I would be incredibly grateful if you would take the above into consideration and reconsider the museum’s commentary in respect of the helmet.

Should you need any further information, may I propose you read Conquistador Puzzle Trail, which is available in Paper Plus stores around New Zealand and all good independents. There are an additional 33 puzzle pieces within it that have been assessed to see where they may or may not fit within New Zealand and Australia’s discovery framework.

There’s even another helmet … discovered in Manukau Harbour…

Winston Cowie and the Manukau Harbour helmet.

Winston Cowie and the Manukau Harbour helmet.

I look forward to hearing from you, and perhaps even seeing a change in the commentary re this national taonga.

 

With Best Wishes,

 

Winston Cowie

Author – Conquistador Puzzle Trail

United Arab Emirates

 

Rugby World Cup 2015 Picks

Having played and watched a fair bit of rugby over the last 30 years, my picks for the 2015 Rugby World Cup are as follows.

Pool Results

Pool A
1. Wales
2. Australia
Notes: Wales will be the surprise package of the World Cup. A well-coached, experienced and hungry side, and having done the hard yards training at the Doha Rugby Football Club, I’m picking them to top the pool. I don’t think England will make it out of the pool. They are still young and inexperienced compared to their Australian and Welsh rivals. You need more than a scrum and a goal kicker to make the Quarter Finals at a World Cup.

Also picking Warbuton and Tipuric to play left and right.

Pool B
1. South Africa
2. Samoa
Notes: This one is pretty self explanatory. Scotland have a great new coach and are on the rise but a few years off beating an experienced Samoa side (especially with former Massey High School captain, Tusi Pisi, at 10) for second in the pool.

Pool C
1. All Blacks
2. Argentina
No notes needed.

Pool D
1. Ireland
2. France
Notes: It will be close, but Ireland by a nose.

Quarterfinals
All Blacks v France. Result: All Blacks win. Only a fool makes the same mistake twice.
Ireland v Argentina. Result: Ireland win. A physical encounter. Will be closer than anticipated.
South Africa v Australia. Result: Australia win. A very physical encounter. Australia are on the rise and will win it by a nose.
Wales v Samoa. Result. Wales win.

Semi-finals
All Blacks v Australia
Wales v Ireland
From here, any one of these teams can win it. And I’m hoping it’s the All Blacks.
But they need to be hungry. And Wales, Ireland and Australia are.
The hunger wasn’t there from the All Blacks in The Rugby Championship final – it needs to be in the World Cup semi-final. Insh’allah the final as well.

Looking forward to it.

 

Conquistador Puzzle Trail Video Blog & Book Launch

Conquistador Puzzle Trail Video Blog

Winston Cowie’s first ever Video Blog.

Check out Winston Cowie’s book update via You Tube on a couple of cracking books you should read. No doubt I’ll get a bit of stick for this one.

Click here.

And, a reminder, Conquistador Puzzle Trail is being launched this week on Saturday 11 July at The Kumara Box in Dargaville, Northland, New Zealand.

Drop in between 1:30-5pm, grab a book, get it signed, and for those that RSVP and grab a book, a presentation and showing of David Sims and Winston Cowie’s documentary ‘Mystery at Midge Bay’ will screen between 5-6pm.

Come along to what should be a lovely community event – lots of those involved on the Conquistador Puzzle Trail will be present.

And for those that can’t make it, Conquistador Puzzle Trail is available throughout New Zealand at the following great book stores. Many thanks to Susan Holmes and the team at Bookreps NZ Ltd for doing such a fantastic job with distribution!

 

North Island

Northland

Paper Plus – Kerikeri

Moran’s Bookshop – Dargaville

Book Inn – Kamo

Warkworth / Matakana

Paper Plus – Warkworth

Unicorn Bookshop – Warkworth

The Village Bookshop – Matakana

 

Auckland

Dear Reader – Grey Lynn

Paper Plus – Howick

Paper Plus – Newmarket

Paper Plus – Ponsonby

Take Note – Waiheke

The Booklover – Milford / Takapuna

Unity Books – Auckland Central

Time Out – Mt Eden

Bay of Plenty

Paper Plus – Taradale

Books A Plenty – Tauranga

Paper Plus – Te Puke


Thames

Carson’s Bookshop – Thames

Waikato

Penny’s Bookstore – Chartwell, Hamilton

Taranaki

Paper Plus – New Plymouth

Paper Plus – Stratford

Stead & Daughters – Whanganui

Central North

Mcleods Booksellers – Rotorua

Paper Plus – Taupo

Paper Plus – Rotorua Central

 

Wellington / Lower North

Marsden Bookstore – Karori, Wellington

Unity Books – Wellington

Victoria University  Bookcentre – Wellington

Paper Plus – Kilbirnie, Wellington

Almo Books – Carterton

Paper Plus – Feilding

Paper Plus – Levin

Paper Plus – Lower Hutt

Paper Plus – Masterton

Paper Plus – Upper Hutt

South Island

Nelson

Page & Blackmore – Nelson


Christchurch

All Books New Zealand – Christchurch

Paper Plus – Merivale

Paper Plus – Rangiora

Paper Plus – South City

Picadilly Bookshop – Christchurch

Scorpio Books – Christchurch

Take Note – Kaiapoi

Tower Junction – Christchurch

University Bookshop –Canterbury

Otago / Southland

Paper Plus – Balclutha

Paper Plus – Dunedin

Paper Plus – Gore

Take Note Book City – Dunedin

University Bookshop – Dunedin



And I’m looking for a distributor for Australia. If you can assist, please message me via my website: http://www.winstoncowie.com

Enjoy having a go at putting together the Conquistador Puzzle!

 

Winston Cowie

Conquistador Puzzle Trail by Winston Cowie

Conquistador Puzzle Trail by New Zealand Author Winston Cowie will be launched at The Kumara Box in Dargaville, New Zealand on Saturday 11 July 2015!

Drop in between 2-5pm, grab a book, get it signed, and for those that RSVP and grab a book, a showing of David Sims and Winston Cowie’s documentary ‘Mystery at Midge Bay’ will screen between 5-6pm.

Praised by both the Portuguese and Spanish Embassies to New Zealand, Conquistador Puzzle Trail is a comprehensive assessment of potential pre-Tasman Portuguese and Spanish discovery voyages to Australia and New Zealand. Conquistador Puzzle Trail is the new and current ‘go to’ international text on the subject that the Portuguese and / or Spanish may have discovered Australia and New Zealand. It also presents details of New Zealand’s ‘oldest’ shipwreck, a likely Dutch vessel.

Everybody has heard little tidbits about the Conquistador Puzzle whether it be about alleged caravels wrecked on Dargaville’s coast; ‘Spanish’ helmets being found and reburied on the Pouto Peninsula; oral tradition of sailors coming ashore and being massacred by Maori or Aborigines; pohutukawas on the far side of the world; or the Napier Broome Bay cannon or Mahogany ship in Australia, to name a few.

Check out the cover!

Conquistador Puzzle Trail takes the reader through each puzzle piece, puts the arguments for and against its antiquity to the reader, and encourages the reader to decide what part of the Conquistador Puzzle that piece forms.

Each puzzle piece is presented to you on its own merit; I explain how I came across it, what or who is the source of the puzzle piece, and let you decide where it fits into the theoretical framework. If a puzzle piece doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit; I have not tried to twist a puzzle piece to fit with the theory. Each puzzle piece is what it is and means what it means.

All the pieces of this perplexing puzzle, however, should at the very least lead to the reader agreeing that a different theory does exist to that of the traditional discovery paradigm of New Zealand and Australia; that being that the Spanish and / or Portuguese may have been the first Europeans to discover New Zealand. And in my view, the Portuguese, most likely and on the balance of probabilities, discovered New Zealand and Australia between 1520 and 1524. And the Spanish may have also beaten Abel Tasman between 1576-1578.

In saying that, it’s not what I think that is important, its what you, the public, thinks about the theory that is important. I’ve merely had a go at putting together the puzzle based on best available information. Have a read and form a view!

Great Article in the Dargaville and Districts News

A fantastic article on the upcoming launch of Conquistador Puzzle Trail appeared in the Dargaville and Districts News on 3 June 2015. On the trail…

Portuguese and Spanish Praise for Conquistador Puzzle Trail by Winston Cowie

Conquistador Puzzle Trail by Winston Cowie has been praised by both Spanish and Portuguese Embassies to Australia and New Zealand.

Embassy of Spain to New Zealand

“We feel incredibly fortunate to witness such a thorough investigation into the history of New Zealand in which we can really appreciate the links shared with Portuguese and Spanish explorers. In our case, the confirmation of these ties between Spain and New Zealand will undoubtedly strengthen the positive relationship that our two countries already share and cherish.

Well-structured and impeccably researched, this important work will have a strong impact on the academic representation of conquistadores as well as a wide array of consequences for the future understanding of New Zealand history.

At the same time, we would like to acknowledge all of the time and energy devoted to the research that has gone into this investigative work. Throughout the pages, we discover new elements of New Zealand culture and history that invite us to truly believe that Mr Winston Cowie’s theory is correct.

Congratulations on the completion of this excellent work.”                                               

Pablo Mateu García, Educational Advisor of the Embassy of Spain, New Zealand.

Author’s Note: The Embassy of Spain to New Zealand has been fantastic and their cooperation and collaboration has been gratefully received by the author. I feel incredibly proud to have the permission to include both the Embassy of Spain to New Zealand and the Spanish Organisation for International Cooperation on Development logos on my book.

Embassy of Portugal to Australia and New Zealand

“A fascinating book and an important contribution for the investigation about the Portuguese having been the first Europeans to reach Australia and New Zealand almost 500 years ago.”

Paulo Cunha Alves, Ambassador of Portugal to Australia and New Zealand.

Dargaville, Pouto Peninsula and Kaipara Harbour Community story

Finally, this is a real community story for Dargaville, the Pouto Peninsula and Kaipara Harbour. I interviewed many elderly locals who independently had interesting stories to recount. It’s a local community story written by a bloke who was born in the area, but it also has global significance – i.e. we need to consider that another theory exists on the Australian and New Zealand discovery paradigm. Please, come down between 2 and 5pm on Saturday the 11th of July, say hello, and get involved in what will be a lovely community event.

Stay tuned for updates on what stores and online outlets Conquistador Puzzle Trail will be available in.

See you in Dargaville at The Kumara Box!

Te hei mauri ora,

Winston Cowie

Excellence in Environmental Policy Award from Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi

What an incredible year and week. One year ago I began working in my dream job as the Section Manager of Marine Policy, Planning and Regulations at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. This week, as part of agency’s Al Dana Excellence Awards, I was humbled to receive an award for technical excellence in Environmental Policy. It was a privilege as part of the prizegiving to be able to meet the Environment Agency’s Chairman, His Highness, Sheikh Hamdan, himself.

Winston Cowie meets His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan

It was also a privilege to meet His Highness Sheikh Al Nuaimi of Ajman, the Green Sheikh.

Winston Cowie and His Highness Sheikh Al Nuaimi, the Green Sheikh

A pretty awesome experience. I can honestly say I am passionate about my job and love going to work every day. I am part of a phenomenal team with visionary leaders and motivated staff who all work incredibly hard to develop outstanding outcomes for both biodiversity and society in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

 One of those proud moments where you pinch yourself.

“Waking up every day knowing that your actions, no matter how small or large, are going to have a positive outcome on nature, society, someone or something isn’t work at all; it is the very essence of public service, of humanity. The tide will still go in and out; the sun and moon will rise and set; it is the legacy of your positive actions that remain; such is the joy of working in the service of people and our planet.”

And that’s what it should be all about I reckon. Good things for people and our planet.

Onwards and upwards.

Mauri ora,

Winston