Hello, we are going to talk about our amazing trip to New Zealand, that we did last summer. We traveled by airplane to Oslo, then Copenhagen, Bangkok and then we finally landed in the city Auckland, a city in the north on New Zealand. The country is lying right next to Australia in the Hugh Pacific Ocean. The trip took about two days, and we spent 23 hours in the air. Auckland is by the way the biggest city on New Zealand, and it has got about 1.1 million of 4 millions inhabitants. But it is not the capital, even though it was until 1865. Auckland is the biggest and most important city for industry and trade.
From Auckland we took a flight to Wellington, were we visited the Norwegian embassy. There we met a nice lady, who actually came from Trondheim! She told us some useful facts about the country. Of course, we already knew that New Zealand really is a group of islands. The size of the country is about 268 680 square kilometres. The two main islands are the North Island and the South Island. We were on the North Island. All together, there are 4 million inhabitants on New Zealand. The economy is good and living there is cheaper than in Norway. The climate is just about what it is in Norway, cold winters and mild summers. There is a 12 hours+ time difference.
The next day we took a train to the Southern Alpes, to go back-packing for a couple of days.
We wanted to visit Mount Cook, because it is the highest mountain on New Zealand. It is named after James Cook, an English explorer. As you can see on these pictures, it is an amazing view, because the mountain is so high, 3754 metres belove the sea-level. We could see some extraordinary glaciers, and one of the biggest is called the Tasman Glacier, named after the man who discovered the island in 1642.
On our way down, we camped at the Lake Pukaki. There we got the chance to get to know the rest of the back-packing group a little bit better. It turned out that the leader of the group was a Maori, so he could tell us a bit about the Maori history and culture. The Maori people are the natives on New Zealand. They came to the islands from Polynesia for the first time in the 9th century. They settled down in the country they called Aotearoa, meaning “The land of the long and white cloud”. Their first encounter with Europeans was in 1642, when Tasman came to New Zealand, and this was not a nice meeting. But when the explorer James Cook came, he established a good relationship with them. But as more and more ships came from the European countries, they also brougth diseases and wars, and the Maori population was redused a lot. In 1840 the British and the Maori signed a treaty, confirming British rule, but maintaining the Maori culture and British citizenship. Many of the decisions made in the treaty were overlooked or/and ignored, and today New Zealand government is working to make it up to the Maori people, to give back land that was illegally taken from them. Also the Maori population has increased to 250 000, and they have settled down all over the country and especially in the north. It is important to them to adapt to the modern society while making sure to maintain their rich and unique culture and heritage.
For more information see this webpage:
After our exhausting but fantastic trip to the mountains, we were ready to hit the beach. We traveled by train to Christchurch to visit the New Brighton Beach. While working on our tan, we were entertained by a group of boys playing rugby on the beach. They were very talented indeed, but what caught our attention was the wild dance they performed every time they hit a goal.
The dance looked very hostile, and they made many scary and weird facial expressions, sticking their tongues out and rolling their eyes back, while singing and screaming rhymes in a language we had no means of understanding. Suddenly Julie was hit by the ball, and one of the boys came over to get it and apologize. We saw our oportunity to silence our curiosity and asked the boy what the dance was all about. He explained to us that it was the Maoridance, Haka. His favorite rugbyteam, the All Blacks, always performed it before kick off, and that’s what you can see on this picture.
The dance is according to the lengend, a dance the son of the sun god, Ra and his wife, the essence of summer, performed to his mother. The dance was used by the Maories to ensure that when two tribes met, they would not attack the other ones. The best known dance is the Ka Mate. It dates back to the ninteenth century, and was made by a Maori chief Te Rauparaha, and was ment to describe his flight from the members of one of the opposing tribes, and his survival.
We did not have enough time for the boy to teach us the dance, before we continued our journey, but if you come across the dance one day, you will notice its maculinity. Because of this it is easy to think the dance is and is meant to be dominated by men, but that is not the case. In fact, the women led and dominated the dance. They danced in front and carried weapons during the performances.
We thanked our new friend, and he apologized once more before letting us go back to our concentrated tanning.
After spending some days at the beach, we decided to go and see the botanical garden in Christchurch. In the brochures we found out that the garden in fact was a work of the Englishmen. They brought their garden traditions with them when they settled down in Lyttleton in 1850. Thirteen years after their arrival the plans of forming the garden were made. The first tree, an English oak, was planted on the 9th of August in 1863, to celebrate the marriage between Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.
The grounds of the garden were huge: an area of 30 hectares surrounding the Avon River. There were numerous of amazing trees, some of them more than a hundred years old!
Even though the grounds were packed, it was very peaceful, and a lovely smell!
The end of our journey grew nearer and we went back to Auckland to do some shopping before we went home. On the plane back to Copenhagen they showed the film “The Chronicles of Narnia”. We saw all the beautiful scenes and knowing that most of the scenes actually had been filmed on New Zealand, we regretted that we had not planned a longer trip, so we could have seen this or any of the other film locations.
This picture shows the beautiful Purakanui Bay, at the southern point of New Zealand. For those who seen the film “Narnia”, this is where the scenes from the castle Cair Paravel have been filmed.
Many other films have also been filmed on New Zealand, among them the Lord of the Rings trilogy. When we finally got home we both agreed that it had been a wonderful trip, and that we would recommend it to everyone.
For more information about the film locations of Narnia see this webpage: