land of the long white cloud

If you told me last year at this time that I would be on a farm in New Zealand milking cows and riding quads, I would have told you that you have an impressive imagination. But alas, sometimes life hits you with all the spontaneous surprises, and here I am. Doing all the farm things and breathing in that fresh Kiwi air between massive rainfalls that rival the crazy summer of rain that we had back home in Pennsylvania.

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Out in the paddock with Moon, Gunn (pictured), and Bomb

The perk to this incessant rainfall, however, is the vivid green that you see everywhere you look. The hills are massive and as you walk or drive past, you feel enveloped in a kaleidoscope of shades from the deepest emerald to the softest lime and everything in between. Prepare for many pictures reflecting this reality; I don’t think they disappoint.

The native peoples of New Zealand, the Māori, have their own word for their country:

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Aotearoa, which literally means “long white cloud.” Their language, Te Reo, has a strong focus on the environment and natural surroundings that is both beautiful and inspiring. When the rains come, you can certainly see why New Zealand was named the way it was, as the mountaintops are shrouded from view beneath the heavy cloud cover.

Since arriving last Friday with Katie, we have explored the farm that we are staying on with Katie’s sister Ashlee-Rose and her husband Greg, been introduced to the city of Hamilton where my hosts are from, traversed the surroundings of Mount Maunganui in Tauranga, and saw off Tony and Linda as they left for their cruise around New Zealand. It has been a relaxed week on the farm as Rose finishes up her last week of teaching before the holidays.

We were meant to camp in Tauranga at the base of the mountain from Saturday into Sunday, but the rain interrupted our original plans. Instead we spent Saturday in Hamilton, stopping at not one, not two, but THREE ice cream shops, going to the movies, walking around Hamilton Lake, and getting dinner at a local restaurant/cafe.

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Me, Katie, and Ashlee-Rose in Hamilton

 

On Sunday we met up with Tony, Linda, and Mary (Tony’s mother) in Tauranga, where their cruise had docked for the morning and afternoon. We had breakfast and decided to attempt the walk around Mount Maunganui despite the rain.

We even found a beach made entirely of seashells … it was incredible! I’ve never seen a beach like that. I was completely drenched by the end of it all but it was so worth it.

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So that is a quick synopsis of our time in NZ so far. We are getting pumped for the start of Rose’s holiday, which begins so soon! Then our schedule is packed nonstop, so this restful week will soon be a distant memory.

Until next time.

xoxo, Riss

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