New Zealand Adventures

Marlene and Neil's year-long experiences half-way around the world, starting in October, 2016, as they become "kiwis for 12 months!"

Thursday, September 21, 2017

South Island, Part 2

How did I miss this!? I haven't said a thing about the South Island, except for Nelson and the northern part.  There's LOADS to share!  Geeez . . . (I did post a few on Facebook however).

Crossing Cook Strait

Interislander Kaitaki Aerial Leaving Wellington LK6212 3840x2550

The Cook Strait separates the North Island from the South Island.  You can fly over, but the 3 1/2 hr. ferry ride is a great experience.  It has everything you need.  And the views, well . . . 

Picton and the Marlborough Sounds

After crossing the Cook Strait, you arrive in Picton at the top of the South Island.  The gorgeous Marlborough Sound and the East Coast await!

Queenstown and the Central Otago Valley

Queenstown caters to the tourist in the south of the South Island.  But it's a classy catering, and seated at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range it's a beautiful spot.  Great place for snow skiing!

The Central Otago Valley is in the heart of the South Island and is renown for its nice climate and great wines - especially the pinot noirs!  Just ask Marlene!

Milford Sound and Fiordland

The southwestern part of the South Island is known as Fiordland, where you'll find Milford Sound.  Even on overcast days it's just incredible.  And the drive over isn't bad either.  The pictures say it all.

Milford Sound
(to appreciate the grandeur, check out the boat in the lower left of the last picture.  It's there!  Honest!)

"The Sin Bin" *

No, this is not a post about the moral depravity of New Zealand!  But it caught your eye, didn't it??!  😈

These are just more cultural tidbits from the Land of the Kiwis.

* BTW, the "Sin Bin" is where penalized rugby players go for a few minutes or more when committing particularly bad fouls.  Much like the "penalty box" in ice hockey.  But I like the "Sin Bin" name better! 

Election for Prime Minister

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It's fascinating to watch the general election race for Prime Minister of New Zealand.  Voting Day is always a Saturday, and this year it's officially on Sept. 23 (although regular voting started Sept. 11, and I don't know why!) 

The campaigns pale to ours in the States.  No primaries, no conventions and no trashing of character!  Debates and disagreements, yes.  But not the pure poison we're accustomed to.  Each party chooses a candidate and the populace votes.  Simple.

The National Party (like our Republicans) is led by the incumbent Bill English.  They were well ahead of the Labour Party (like our Democrats) until a change was made in the Labour's candidate to Jacinda Ardern about a month ago.  Now it's a toss-up.  There are lesser parties too.

Main issues are housing (costs are sky high!), health care (especially mental health) and water quality.

The City of Christchurch

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Christchurch was the 2nd largest city in New Zealand until the 2011 earthquake.  Recovery has been extremely slow and its namesake, the Christchurch Cathedral, is still in ruins as argument continues on how to rebuild.  So in it's place is . . .   

The Cardboard Cathedral, a transitional cathedral built of cardboard tubing that will only last about 50 years.

By that time, the original Christchurch Cathedral question should be answered.

Messy church

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Messy church is kind of like our Sunday School.  It takes place one Sunday a month in place of a regular service.  Our church does it the 3rd Sunday.  It's open to all and is quite casual, having various stations where you can participate in whatever you wish.  


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Formal crosswalks can be anywhere on a street, not just at corners.  A pedestrian can cross at any time in a crosswalk (unless a traffic signal says not to) and ALL approaching vehicles from either side must stop until he completes the crossing.  No sneaking by a pedestrian or just slowing down.  Kiwi drivers abide by this 100%.  Fascinating.  

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By far the most popular national sports team in New Zealand is the All Blacks, the men's national rugby team.  But there are other national teams as well, both male and female.  Try to match the national team name with the sport.  This can drive you batty!

_____  The Black Caps                       A.  Men's basketball team

_____ The All Whites                         B.  Ladies' cricket team

_____ The Black Ferns                       C.  Ladies' basketball team

_____ The White Ferns                      D.  Ladies' netball team                                                                           (a bit like basketball)

_____ The Iron Blacks                        E.  Men's soccer team

_____ The Tall Ferns                           F.  Ladies' soccer team

_____ The Tall Blacks                         G. Men's cricket team

_____ The Silver Ferns                      H.  Men's (U.S.) football team

_____ The Football Ferns                     I.  Ladies' rugby team

Answers (in order from Black Caps to Football Ferns)

G, E, I, B, H, C, A, D, F

Believe it or not, there are more.  But this is stressful enough!

And finally . . . 

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Yes, the following would make sense to a kiwi.  Have any idea what they're saying?

"When students are wagging you may find them in the CBD drinking spiders and eating lollies.  But they better not do P."


"When students are skipping classes you may find them downtown drinking ice cream floats and eating candy.  But they better not be doing meth (the drug)."

A bit of explanation: 1)   CBD means "central business district."  Very few kiwis say downtown.  2)  "lollies" can mean lollipops but is also used for any kind of candy.  3)  "P" refers to the methamphetamine drug, a big problem here. The "P" means "pure."

Monday, July 17, 2017

Video Montage

Going through my phone, I realized that I  have a number of video clips to share from throughout New Zealand.  It's just a mish-mash, but it can give you a different perspective of life here (some may have been posted on Facebook before).

Professional rugby.  Scoring a "conversion" (2 pts.) after scoring the "try" (5 pts.) for the Wellington Hurricanes.

Sunset at Matarangi Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, northern part of the North Island.  Huge, wide and naturally clean beaches all over the country.

The tui, a popular bird in NZ, distinguished by the white tuft of feathers on its throat and the bizarre sounds it makes because of having 2 voice boxes!  "Tui" is also the name of a popular NZ beer.

Loved the Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsula!

Hot air balloon ride over the Remarkables Mountain Range in the South Island, near Queenstown.

Cruising the Milford Sound, South Island . . . the 2nd wettest location on Earth!

A walk in the bush, the common "forests" found all around NZ.

And finally . . .


The locals call this "The Hill."  But it's actually the Rimutaka Mountain Range.  The biggest "hill" I've ever seen!  We have to cross it twice a week for Marlene's work in Masterton, her 2nd work site.  The videos just can't give you an idea of what this is like.  But for us Midwesterners, there's nothing like this!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Merge Like a Zip"

Even more idiosyncrasies of daily life in New Zealand

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We love this road sign.  It's pretty self-explanatory, that vehicles should merge one after another.  But it's just kooky!

Easter in New Zealand . . . isn't

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This graphic says it all.  We were surprised at how the 4 day Easter weekend is very much regarded as a holiday get-away.  Good Friday and Easter Monday are national holidays and kiwis vacation.  Celebrating Christ's resurrection is not the #1 priority.
Interesting drinking laws too.  You cannot order alcoholic beverages at a restaurant, etc., on Good Friday UNLESS you will be eating a meal - and then only 1 hr. before to 1 hr. after eating the meal.


ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) Day is commemorated on April 25 every year and is a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand.  Comparable to our Memorial Day, it particularly honors  those Aussie and Kiwi soldiers involved in the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey during WWI.  This holiday seems very important to the kiwis.

and ANZAC cookies!!  (HAVE to mention these!)

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Relatively common cookie in Australia and New Zealand, very prevalent around ANZAC Day.  Originally, these were cookies sent to the ANZAC troops during WWI because the ingredients would travel well to the battlefields.

Filing personal income taxes

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Most kiwis don't!  It's not necessary!  They have a certain percentage taken out of their salaries and they call it even!  No hassles whatsoever.  How sweet is that!
By the way, their tax year is from April 1 - March 31.

Freedom camping

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Unless marked as prohibited, you can camp for free virtually anywhere in New Zealand.  However, some freedom campers try to take advantage of commercial camp sites by sneaking in at night and using their facilities free of charge.  Obviously, very costly and controversial!

2 button toilets

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Toilets don't have handles but instead, 2 buttons.  The smaller button (or the one on the left) is for half-flushes while the larger button (or the one on the right) is for full flushes.  Saves LOTS of water.

Earthquake benefit??

Kaikoura kids line up for surf lessons on the new surf break at Gooch's Beach.

The November earthquake actually created ideal surfing conditions at Gooch Beach near Kaikoura, where the epicenter was.  Perfect for teaching youth how to surf!

No security checks!!

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Flying on smaller flights domestically in New Zealand?  There are NO security checks!  

Cosmopolitan Clubs

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Or "Cossie Clubs," are community social centers all over New Zealand.  After paying a very inexpensive membership fee, you can enjoy all the social benefits such as nice restaurants, bars, entertainment and gaming facilities.  Also, membership at one allows you to visit any other free of charge.

U turns

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Are legal in New Zealand!  Do you know how nice that is, especially for those of us unfamiliar with the roads here??!

Free admission

Late autumn in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

Admission to all of New Zealand's national parks, monuments and museums is free.

OK, my 32 years in the classroom is at it again!!  Round 2.  Match the common kiwi word with their American equivalent (many have British roots).


Kiwi word                                              American word

1.  Manchester ______                          A.   landslide                 
2.  nappies _____                                   B.   OK
3.  slip  _____                                         C.   body repair shop
4.  trundle/trolley  _____                      D.   pharmacist
5.  panel beaters  _____                        E.   diapers
6.  fine  _____                                         F.   arugula
7.  chemist  _____                                  G.   shopping cart
8.  right  _____                                      H.  sheets/linens/napkins 
9.  rocket  _____                                    I.  clear (as in not cloudy                                                                      skies)


1.  H  (Manchester, England once supplied NZ with                                virtually all their linens)
2.  E
3.  A
4.  G
5.  C
6.  I
7.  D
8.  B
9.  F

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New Zealand's South Island, trip #1

***  To celebrate Marlene's February birthday, we went to the north part of the South Island for sailing . . . and more!

The city of Nelson, New Zealand's sunniest, is on the Tasman Bay.  The Dutchman Abel Tasman was the first westerner to "discover" New Zealand, not far from where Nelson is today.

The Cook Straits separate the North Island from the South Island.  The difference in weather is amazing.

Tasman Bay from our B&B

Sailing is a favorite of Marlene.  No better place to celebrate than Tasman Bay!



And we do like to visit wineries.  Marlborough, east of Nelson, produces 75% of NZ's wine.  Check the label on a NZ wine in the States and it's most likely from Marlborough.

Well, "wine" not?  :-)

Waitangi Day

. . . is a national holiday celebrating the Maori, the natives of New Zealand.  Many Maori traditions still exist, such as the famous "haka" dance and the "marae," their traditional family clan.  There are nearly 1000 "marae" throughout NZ, but you must be invited to enter their tribal lands.

Entrance to a "maere" in Nelson
Small home in a "maere."

"Hangi," traditional Maori meal cooked on hot rocks in a pit