Everybody has heard something 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.
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 (or history student) 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.
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.
What better way to teach and encourage independent thought amongst students than say: “here is the information; how do you think it fits together?” My book facilitates this with questions and answers at the end of each section. It may also inspire students to research further aspects of Iberian discovery theory – there is much more to do!
Praise for Conquistador Puzzle Trail
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.”
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.”