I love New Zealand
As an Australian am I allowed to say that?
Absolutely! I enjoy the rivalry we have on the sporting field, but there is no need to take it any further than that to acts of dislike and unrecognition of what is great.
To me, Kiwis are another part of my extended family. Our cultures are very similar, we have always had open passage between countries; I had a good Kiwi friend through school and my sister in law comes from Dunedin. We can’t forget how our blood was mixed on the battlefields of Gallipoli, always forging a brotherhood between us.
I’m sitting on the bus listening to our Maori driver share words and stories of his culture on the way to the Tamaki Village in Rotorua.
He is warm and funny, his eyes and toothless smile conveying a gentle, happy and kind spirit.
I always knew that the Land of the Long White Cloud was scenically beautifully and full of adventure, but I never knew that it would be a place of such peace and connectedness.
Embracing the Maori Culture
I remember years ago walking the streets of Dublin with our Kiwi friends, Lara and John. Lara spoke to me of what a respected and integrated part of the Maori culture was to the greater Kiwi identity.
I loved the sound of this, but found it difficult to relate since my own culture seemed so separate from the Aboriginal culture, with scarcely any attention paid to it, let alone embracing it. (hangs head in shame)
Now that I am here in New Zealand I see how much respect the Maori culture is granted.
The national anthem is sung half in Maori, the haka is embraced as the fierce warrior spirit of the whole nation, Kia Ora is the standard greeting and their way of life is at the forefront of everything that is done here.
The Maori culture is not forced into the shadows of shame and rejection like many indigenous cultures around the world have.
There is a history of bloodshed here, yes, but all that matters is how they have managed to heal the wounds of their past in order to make a better present. The Kiwis have done an incredible job of this and should be an example to us all.
I LOVE this about New Zealand; my admiration grows for their peaceful and accepting spirits.
Harmony with the Land
Spending time in Rotorua has taught me much about the fiery temperament of the land and spirit of its people.
New Zealanders are deeply connected to the Earth. They understand that she is more powerful than us and needs to be treated with respect and awe. They have found many ways to live in harmony with the land and to enjoy the much splendour that she offers us.
I LOVE this about New Zealand- a country after my own heart.
Warm and Friendly People
Craig and I were kind of dreading coming here and being barraged with comments about the World Cup victory, as we do have that history of fierce battles on the sporting field, “As long as the Kiwis don’t win…or as long as the Aussies don’t win,” can be commonly heard from the mouths of both of us.
It hasn’t been that bad at all, the only comments made have been ones that show their joy at finally winning their national sport that is a huge part of their culture.
Every person we have spoken to so far has been full of warmth and friendliness. I love their peaceful spirits.
I’m now glad that they won the World Cup. Look what can happen when you spend time getting to know the real people in their homes and remove those pre-conceived notions you had of them.
I think they deserved the World Cup victory, especially on their own soil and especially after the horrible year they have had. I’m glad my brothers and sisters over the Pacific could do it, if my own Wallabies could not.
I haven’t even scratched the surface of this amazing country yet, and I am in love already.
I find a certain peace here, of rejuvenation and a sense of belonging.
I’m sad I have only five days and two destinations in which to experience it, I want to learn more about the culture, the country, the warmth, and the smiles.
I LOVE New Zealand
What do you love about New Zealand?