Kia Ora New Zealand

This ‘field trip’ is off to a different start.  Perhaps it is because we had a 10 day break from school, didn’t have a bus ride here, or because we are in a whole new country!  I was a bit Aussie-sick at first – I was sad to leave such a great country – but know I’ll cherish the experiences there and make new ones here.  There was a moment of realization about that in the airport bathroom, classic i know.  The sign on the back of the door said….
I’ll follow that advice as I begin this new voyage in New Zealand. So, Kia Ora!  In the Maori language, this literally means be well, or hi!
I’ve already made some observations about this country.  Flying in, the newest thing I saw was the landscape of the country’s mountains.  Australia is so flat there are barely any hills.  New Zealand’s coast and interior were raised with mountains covered with a lush green color.  As we descended, you could see the many sheep on the mountains.  It was also apparent how much smaller the size of this island is because you could see both coasts, the east and the west, from the plane.  After disembarking the pane, we walked through the airport to collect our bags.  The airport had a big Lord of the Rings Statue of Gollum swooping overhead.  This was to represent Wellington’s pride of the filming of the movie there.  Off of the plane, we went on the shuttle to the YHA Hostel in Wellington.  Most of the students in our group rejoined and settled in for the night.
We have a really great Itinerary planned for our course here.  Follow us along our travels in  the North Island:

North Island of New Zealand

Today, November 12, I met the full group and our Professors at Te Papa museum.  We explored the different exhibits and took notes on different aspects relating to sustainability.  The exhibit that stood out the most was the one about sustainable farming as it showed how the Mauri people controlled the land and the changes that came with European settlement.  The exhibit showed their different fishing hooks carved out of whale bone that they used for small fishing.  There was also a Mauri hut with beautiful wood carvings of faces that were each unique but all enhanced with shells as their eyeballs.  After the museum, we went to Victoria University campus to have a lecture with two guest professors.  We listened and took a break to enjoy a warming cuppa (New Zealand-ism?) and cookies before heading back down to the hostel.  We’re staying in a nice YHA hostel, centrally located in the streets of Wellington with a New Market supermarket across the street.   I’m in a room with Ann, Kyler, and Zach.  We explored the area a little bit.  We went down to the water shore where there was a little craft market.  I got some Maori carved pendants that were made into necklaces.  The weather was constantly changing from rain to wind to sunshine.  I felt a cold coming on so I hit the bunk early in preparation for a full day tomorrow.
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