A dose of adventure and self care in New Zealand (Aotearoa)

New Zealand is a beautiful country in the southern hemisphere. We’re enjoying and loving the north island and plan to return one day to see the south. This island has not disappointed despite the many comments and questions we heard before leaving about why weren’t visiting the south. Hawke’s Bay has been rooted in wine country since 1851, we enjoyed the beauty of Craggy Range, their wines, an outstanding cottage and the joy of nature. We celebrated Napier’s famous just like the locals, at the annual Art Décor festival. We’re spending the second week is the northlands, sailing, relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun and community of Russell (once known as the hellhole of the Pacific in the 1800’s but now a quaint and historic town with the oldest church in NZ). To get here, we traversed the largest national park Te Urewara (translates to ‘The Burnt Penis’ to keep the Pakeha New Zealanders on their toes). The park encompasses 212,673 hectares of virgin forest with lakes and river and more than 80KM of gravel roads (quite the drive!)

Much of what I talk about or post about on this blog are related to ideas, perspectives that often relate to work (that’s when I post!). Well, this brings me to NZ and vacationing. I’m a huge proponent of perspective and there’s no better way to do this than to travel. Personal leave is a gift earned or reward for hard work; I take vacationing pretty seriously in the sense that I don’t believe in working any more days than I should. After 3 months in the office, I’m ready for some adventure outside of the world of work, to get an opportunity to release my mind, open it up with images and wonders that reside out of the everyday, soak up new ideas. I know I’m a better person for this deliberate and intentional step to mix things up, have fun and explore.

Some of the most inspirational parts of NZ has been the Maori (meaning common / everyday) Culture. Having watched many rugby games between Wales and the All Blacks, the haka (war dance) has been a consistent connection to the country but I’ve learned so much more to this vibrant, potent and contemporary culture. The Maori are people of the land (tangata whenua), where myths, storytelling, legends, traditions and family run deep. The stories are told through pictures, carvings, ta moko (Maori art of tattooing) and the places of gatherings (Marae). The deep sense of meaning pervades the people and history making the people community based and centered, determined and protective of each other and the land around them.