Recent Blog Posts

Post written by trip leader Jolene Schuster (student posts are coming soon, once the group gets better WiFi!):

From Auckland we traveled the winding roads north into the Kauri Forest.  At the Kauri museum we learned about the biology of these enormous conifers and the many provisioning services they hold for humans.  When cut, the Kauri ooze a pitch called gum that looks like amber and has been used by both Maori and later settlers for many purposes. Kauri grow straight and tall, although slowly, making ideal timber and masts for sailing ships.  The industrial revolution brought machines and sawmills that enabled the colonizing settlers to cut down the trees faster than they could grow back and today their population is unfortunately only 4% of the number that once covered the islands.  We also visited the largest Kauri in the world, known by his Maori name of Tane Mahuta.  Maori believe that Tane Mahouta, guardian of the forest, separated sky father and earth mother to bring in the light and make room for life.  It is a sacred space and our guide blessed our visit with a kara kia (prayer) and shared many legends with us as we strolled through the forest.  We visited several important trees there and came away with feelings of peace and connection to the forest.  Our journey north ended at Paihia in the beautiful Bay of Islands.  

Our second day in the Northland, we got to know Tangaroa, guardian of the sea.  In the morning we learned to paddle a waka (large, double-hulled canoe) as a team. We chanted together in Maori as we paddled with our guides up the river past birds and beautiful trees to a waterfall.  We were able to swim together under the waterfall. We also visited the grounds of the treaty of Waitangi and got a lesson in colonial New Zealand history with parallels that resonate with our own past and present.  We signed our own treaty to bring back with us and saw the world’s largest waka which is paddled by 100 people.  A great treat was tasting fresh figs we picked off of a tree. In the evening we all strolled on the beach and gazed at the full moon over the bay.

On the Waitangi grounds by the Bay of Islands

Walking in the Kauri Forest

Signing our treaty

On the Waka

Tane Mahuta

Group photo on the first rainy day New Zealand has seen in weeks! (a copy of this photo will be sent home with the students)

Fish and chips dinner (photo: NZ Educational Tours)

Fish and chips dinner (photo: NZ Educational Tours)

Fish and chips dinner (photo: NZ Educational Tours)

5 comments:

  1. Kia ora Kiwi travelers. I hope you are all enjoying the breath of life in Aotearoa. Te Hei Mauriora.
    glenn

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  2. Kia ora, NMHers. I am following your trip to this glorious land with great interest, and looking forward to the student posts too. Enjoy your time in Aotearoa.

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  3. Hello, travelers! I hope you are all well and having an invigorating experience. Shout out to my illustrious advisees Richard and Minka, and to the other Men of Shea as well! The dorm is pretty emptied out with all of you away. Best wishes from icy NMH.

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  4. Enjoy the Maunga of Tongariro National Park. Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu offer a stark beauty from The Crossing, but you are in for some delicately colorful surprises. Kia ora.

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  5. Great pics and posts--thanks.

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