Gypsies, tramps and thieves—in some measure, New Zealand's swaggers were all of these things. They were opportunists in a society that idolised hard work and conformity. Their vagabondage earned them few friends and little respect, but—like our cheeky alpine parrot—they added a dash of colour to rural life.
For the want of a few milligrams of vitamin C, millions of seamen and adventurers perished as they set out from Europe to explore and subdue the world. Although the cruel lash of scurvy has tormented humans for thousands of years, it was from the dawn of the 16 th to the close of the 19 th century that the disease exacted its greatest toll-one that was exacerbated rather than diminished by the emergence of scientific ideas.