On Monday, March 17, at 7 p.m., at the Blount County Public Library, Rev. Thomas Gilliland invites members of the community to travel from the winter of East Tennessee to the summer of the Southern Hemisphere by viewing a travelogue of “the other land down under.”
New Zealand is “Aotearoa, The Land of the Long White Cloud”, in the language of its original inhabitants, the Maori. “God’s own country, or Godzone for short, is a place of unrivaled beauty, amazing variety, fascinating history, and wonderful people,” said Gilliland.
Known for its kiwi fruit, rugby, Maori culture, and arts and literature, New Zealand is a prime tourist destination and a fascinating study in multi culturalism.
Gilliland and his family spent three years working with the Maori Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand. While living in the Bay of Plenty on the North Island and travelling widely throughout the country, he was particularly interested in the Maori culture as well as the natural history of the country.
A land of paradox, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world but also a country where most of its people live in cities. Having almost no native mammals, this land now has more sheep than people. With roots in Polynesia, it is also a very English culture. Far from the glitter of Hollywood it has produced movies that could have been made nowhere else.
Free and open to the public, the program is at the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.