An internet friend has posted some lovely reflections of her country in an Alphabetical sequence on her blog. I thought what a wonderful way to learn a bit of her country, and its culture through her eyes. Since the World Rugby Cup is being staged here in a few weeks it seemed like a good time to take a wander through some of the places I often visit, give you a taste of our unique culture and enjoy what I have come to know as my playground. Over the next few posts you may learn a few Maori words, breathe the fresh air, admire the scenery while discovering a Maori legend or two.
I was reminded when landing in at Auckland airport recently, how strict we are with bringing items into this small country, we are so proud of our green image. Yes even that apple you were given by the air steward and hadn’t finished eating, is best left on the seat in the plane rather than trying to declare it through customs. Unless of course you eat it, core and all.
Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, was the name given to New Zealand by the Maori people. It is believed the Maori came originally from the Polynesian islands over 1500 years ago and settled into many tribes on the land covered in mist, giving its name.
It was many years later in 1769 before the first white European came ashore. So in comparison to many large continents we are a very young country, vibrant, fresh, sparkling, oozing energy, and open spaces, today, we face few economic problems due to our large export of dairy produce.
I chuckle here as I remember a blog I came across as I was doing some research the other day, written by a REAL Kiwi it said that while travelling outside of New Zealand they found that people will say at least two things about the country. First they will say either, rugby, sheep, haka or the Lord of the Rings. The second is how beautiful they hear New Zealand is. They found this incredible as I, that even people who can not put the country on the map can say that it is beautiful. Obviously word of mouth has helped our thriving tourist industry. It has been said many times, the scenery may get the tourists here but it is the New Zealand culture and people, that has them returning again and again.
Oh and before we head off there is something else I uncovered which I loved and is very true.
We also love to share, especially food. Always we will bring food with us whenever we visit. So if you hear “bring a plate” it means bring a plate with FOOD on it, enough to share around (more later on this). New Zealanders are very loyal. It is felt that because of our country being quite small we tend to place a larger importance on loyalty than in other countries. New Zealand friends will really stick to you, no matter what. They will support their local rugby team no matter how many times they lose. Disloyalty in New Zealand is a big no no. (when a well-known skipper changed teams in a Super Yacht race the song ”Loyal” by Dave Dobbin became the unofficial Team New Zealand song.)
After you have landed and you head for your hotel, the Taxi Driver will within the short drive ask how you like the country so far…… it is our one down fall, we so love for you to see and experience all that we take for granted, we want so much to know what you think, when you have barely spent 10 mins outside the airport. Never fear though we are full of ideas, and happily help you in any direction you wish to take.
So don some comfy shoes and let’s go uncover this magical mystery…….