Week by Numbers

1 bulldog named Lincoln

1 cave and waterfall that Rachel and Zoe swam in

1 in-depth discussion about the “Noble Savage” and implications that might have on our classes

2 friends from around NZ that joined us on the marae

2 minor injuries

2 rapids that we swam in

2 dead animals on the river, one sheep at a lunch spot and a rumored cow carcass in the aforementioned waterfall

2 thunderstorms before the river trip (Our first!) that made for easy paddling on the river

3 stops for swimming along the river (Not including impromptu flips, jumps, or “Odds Are” games)

3 types of meats in the hangi. A hangi is a traditional way of cooking food where the men put hot rocks in a hole in the ground, lower the food into the hole, and cover it with wet burlap sacks and dirt. Then the meat and vegetables are left for about 3 hours until cooked. The hangi is used for celebrations or major events in someones’ life.

3 big rapids that we paddled through

4 days on the water in which we paddled about 50k the first day, 20k the second, 10k the third, and finished with an easy 5k on the last day. With the river up, the paddling wasn’t too hard, as we were going with the current. This being said, we had some tired students on the way home from the trip.

4 friends from Maori TV

4 adorable baby pigs on one of the maraes

4 powhiri done, where we listened to speeches and songs, supported Jay as he gave his speech, and sang back to the Maori guides on the marae

5 capsizes on the river trip: Three of them were in the first twenty minutes, none of which were Earlham students. Another was two guides and one of the film crew. The last one got Malia and Glynnis soaking wet. (We speculate that it was an intentional flip to celebrate Malia’s 20th birthday)

5 cheeses in the mac n cheese we had before the river trip

6 Moa eggs in existence (1 in the Wanganui Regional Museum)

7 VERY LOUD snorers in the whare

8 Moa skeletons in the Wanganui Regional Museum

8 Students snoozing in the vans on the way home from the River Trip

12 students hiked up to the Bridge to Nowhere and marveled at the colonialism in such a remote area

16 cucumbers in the gazpacho we cooked (Zoe and Marcie got some strange looks when they were checking out of Pak N’ Save with 16 cucumbers and 10 pounds of tomatoes)

17 group photos taken during our time on the river

20 the number of years Malia has been on this planet

20 fish filets for our first group dinner of the classic New Zealand Fish N Chips meal

62 bird species endemic to NZ. Peter Frost and Mike Dickison gave us an engaging and interesting tour of the Whanganui Regional Museum where we learned about native and invasive bird species, and how the colonization of New Zealand has impacted population dynamics

79 people staying on the marae with us one night

Dozens of “Odds Are” games played (And many lost including Eliza asking Turama for a piggyback ride, Rachel and Ash simultaneously jumping out of the waka during a paddle, dunking heads, stealing snacks, Malia having to sniff a dead animal… and more)

100s of times “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” was sung

100s of bug bites

428 bird species in NZ

Many sunburns, leaving both the students and TV crew sore but tan at the end of the trip.

Many paddle commands, and not enough rest commands

Many water fights between wakas, turns out bailers make great water cannons and paddles are great for splashing water into other boats.

Many snacks and candy stops along the river. The guides did not let us go hungry!

Many songs learned and sung, including but not limited to Justin Beiber, TLC, Maori songs about Lollies (Candy), Jason Mraz, spiritual river songs, and a final war chant as we made it to our final destination.


Blog post written by Regan and Rachel R.


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