Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Taste of New Zealand – Auckland

I haven’t checked any maps but Auckland is on a similar latitude – friends, please correct me, to Melbourne and CapeTown. It shares many similarities. British heritage; Victorian architecture; Diverse population; beautiful location by the ocean.

What struck me most about Auckland? The general air of laidback, the natural beauty and the unpretentiousness of the city. Its called the city of Sails because every second person owns a boat here – the marinas are packed – being a weekday there were not many boats out in the bay until this evening when it became busy.

I went on a tour of the city today (alone – had responsibility for the camera – hence the lack of decent photos). You get a sense of the city by what they had to show. First, we drove over the Auckland Bridge to get a view of the bay and the city from the bay (bagged the photos) didn’t stop, then drove back. Second, we went to Auckland Monument and Museum – which is a combination War Memorial and Heritage Museum. 

Then we went to Mount Eden which has a great set of city views– got photos of the city and, MOST important Eden Park – Rugby Stadium and venue for the 2011 World Cup Rugby Final 

and finally did a drive through beautiful waterfront areas including the most gorgeous residential areas and Mission Bay.

The Auckland museum had two emphases I wish I had more time to examine – First, as a War Museum, it provides great exhibits of Aucklands martial past – The Maori War, Boer War, First WW, Second WW, Vietnam and subsequent lesser skirmishes. South Africa looms prominently – as foe – in the Boer War and as ally – in the First WW. It was the First World War that seems to have really forged an identity for Australia and New Zealand – especially Gallipoli.
Second, as a repository of Polynesian and Maori history, culture and NZ natural history – ever heard of a Moa, or an Emu. Seen a kiwi (bird not fruit)? I was taken particularly by the Maori carving skills – the war canoe carved from a single tree – huge and the storehouse with its rendition of the owners family tree carved in a line from the peak of the roof down the center of the front wall – their way of maintaining their history.

Maori adornments were also on display - just wanted to point out - given my ongoing dental issue - the necklace on the right ------ human teeth!!!!!

Met Merle after my tour and went to do a bit of shopping – Rugby World Cup looms large in the offerings. Importantly went to a supermarket to buy wine.
Had pics of me schlepping wine back to the ship; our companion ship at dockside – the Queen Elizabeth which towers over us

When we were in French Polynesia I wrote about their Nuclear testing program and its consequences - here was another!

Tonight had a group come to the ship to do a cultural presentation – song, story dance and finally the Haka. 

A great farewell to Auckland until my next visit (which is already in the planning)


  1. WOW that boat time line sounds amazing!! :D

  2. Cookie and Bullfrog embraced the Maori spirit and watched Whale Rider.