Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 14, New Zealand

Good morning...... we bid a fond farewell to Asia for now as we continue our journey.......this morning we are flying to New Zealand, an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (commonly called the North Island and the South Island), and numerous smaller islands.

As we land we are welcomed by the indigenous Maori (who named New Zealand "Aotearoa" or The Land of the Long White Clou
They kindly performed two dances for us:

The graceful ladies then performed the Poi, a performance art employing a ball suspended from a length of flexible material, usually a plaited cord,
held in the hand and swung in circular patterns. Marti and I tried our hands at it, alas we lacked the co- ordination skills required :-(

The men performed the Haka, a dance that is performed with loud fierce shouts. People sometimes refer to it as a war dance, or as a challenge to whomever the haka is being performed to/is directed at. The haka is a very active performance item. It reminded me of an All Blacks vs Springboks rugby match! It is widely known through pre-match performance by the All Blacks, the New Zealand national rugby team, and has come to be strongly associated with New Zealand. This form of dance was used on battlefields during wartime, perhaps because of its fierceness and ferociousness.

The chief was so taken in by Sita's beauty and her love for the country that he gave her a carved wooden mask for her collection of souvenirs;-)

Sita loves bird watching so the locals showed her the large variety of native birds that thrives in New Zealand.

Since we are running out of time we are going to fly over Christchurch (Maori: Otautahi), the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand

then Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand and home to the seat of parliament.

This vibrant and dynamic city also has many other capital claims including Culture capital, Creative capital and Events capital.

Mount Tongariro is a volcanic complex in the North Island of New Zealand, located 20 kilometres to the southwest of Lake Taupo. The volcanic massif, often simply referred to as Tongariro, has a height of 1,978 metres. It first erupted about 260,000 years ago .
Mount Tongariro is in the Tongariro National Park. It is New Zealand's first national park and one of the earliest in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

New Zealand is one of Sita's dream holiday destinations, so we stopped to visit the Craters of the Moon thermal area in Wairakei Tourist Park, and did the 30 minute walk. Wow...bubbling craters, mud pools and steam vents, several interesting interesting plants that have adapted to thrive in the hot, steamy conditions.....

I have always wanted to visit the Pohutu Geyser in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, Rotorua. ( Pohutu means "big splash" or "explosion.") and I was absolutely impressed by the main geyser of the area. It spurts two to three times per hour (up to twenty times per day) and can reach heights of up to 100 metres!! Awesome!

We end our journey across New Zealand by flying over the Auckland metropolitan area, in the North Island of New Zealand, which is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with over 1.4 million residents, 31 percent of the country's population.

Did you know that Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world?? It has also seen many people of Asian ethnicity move there in the last two decades.

Goodbye New Zealand....THANK YOU to the following postcrossers :

.....G'day mate...we are going to

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