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…….
Such a lovely opening Diane. I look forward to what you have to share about your beloved country. So, is there a break in the island between the north and south (looking at the map?) It almost appears to be two islands. And, is their a constant mist over the island. Does it burn off with the sun. Or do you have more periods of cloudy weather? So, you are even younger than America. The one thing that struck me about Europe while there, was how old everything was — churches 1,000 years old still fully functional with frescos and all, 600-700 year homes passed down through generations of family members. I was so use to everything more modern, that it took me back. Yes, we have historic areas, and homes preserved a few hundred years. Didn’t realize you exported dairy and produce. Look forward to reading more. Hope you include the arts.
lol… thankyou Pat, so pleased you are here for the journey…
Oh my! Firstly… yes they are two islands. A ferry runs between which takes about 2 half to 3 hours which can be very rough in places. The first european to land on NZ and discovered the country was two islands was Captian Cook and so that piece of water is called Cook Strait.
It is believed the mist was covering the island the day the maoris discovered NZ. We do get mist which burns off during the day in winter (like now) but not in summer. We are a very young country and we have been to Europe about four times and are totally facinated with the culture and history there is. Even South East Asia is thousands of years old… the history is amazing. Your next comment made me smile as I remember a very amusing conversation while in Europe, I will cover it in my next post. The arts, oh yes NZ has much to do with the arts… all in good time….:-)
I so look forward to this tour, Diane, especially some Maori myths. I guess the Maoris are the first thing I think of when I think of NZ, then the four you mention 😉 then, sailing, hiking (outdoor activities in general), hospitality, great lamb, BBQs, strong rural communities… some unique flora and fauna because of its island status and good friends! I know nothing about the arts really in New Zealand… We have much to learn. Great intro!
*chuckles*… thankyou Joanna, glad you have joined us, stay tunned.
As an Aucklander, New Zealander, Ngai Tahu Maori, traveler and tour operator, I too will look forward to reading your posts 🙂
It always makes me feel I’m back “home” when I arrive back at Auckland Airport and hear the piped bird-songs being played though the Customs area and see the Maori carving displays.
Would love to show you around “our” neck of the woods (and share some kai [food]) if ever you are here in the future!
Hi Donna, thankyou for your comment and invitation. So!… like me you are a westie, we are from the same neighboured it appears, or near enough. I hope you don’t mind, I looked at your website, its beautiful, and everything “kiwi”. I hope you don’t mind if I mention it at some time during my posts. Hopefully some time we will take you up on that offer of kai.
Yes I love the carvings and the sense of home, when walking through the customs area of our airport.
I am very happy to have you join me here.