Around here, folks reckon that Jandals (Japanese Sandals…) were the world’s first flip-flops.
Punching above our weight and all that….
(It was actually a Frenchman who invented them, a Monsieur Phillope. Phillipe Phillope.)
Which has nothing to do with this story.
Abel Tasman was the first European to set eyes on Aotearoa in 1642 and then there was a gap of over 500 years until a major Netherlands influx in the 1950s.
I went to school with Riethmeyers and Kuipers and we have a hoard of Boswijks as friends, but Foxton – on SH1 between Wanganui and Whellington – knocked my socks off.
First off, you’ll see a windmill, housing a shop jam packed with Dutch treats.
Then the Dutch Oven cafe. Which is ORANGE. Inside. Outside.
Only thing on the menu is …..orange juice.
Then there’s Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, an $8.6m cultural centre, with a library on one side of an open light-filled space and a Dutch-Kiwi museum on the other.
I don’t know who curated it, but it’s one of the finest pieces of story-telling that I’ve ever seen, tracking Dutch influence from Tasman to the present day.
And a big HT to Rick Rudd of Quartz gallery and museum in Whanganui for nudging us in the right direction