Sunday 31 Jan.
“Pick me!” -The Students
We began the day with service at the Quaker Settlement, ranging from weeding to washing windows to digging trenches. After a swift clean of the Settlement, we anxiously waited for our home-stay families to pick us up. The home stays range from several small children, to retired couples, to single women and they are located all over town. The closest houses are a quick walk into town and the farthest gets a long (but flat) bike into class. Once settled, we had dinner with our host families, the first of many, as we are staying in these homes for 6 weeks.
Monday 1 Feb.
“It’s a meta exhibit” -Mike Dickison
This was our first day of Block 2 classes. We began with Environmental Issues with Peter Frost, then had a discussion about environmental justice in Jay’s class. Following a long lunch, we reconvened at the museum to check out Maori cultural exhibits. We learned about the stories and detail that goes into the carvings on a waka, using their war boat display as an example. Another, “meta exhibit” was an older demonstration about how Maori caught mice after they had been introduced by European colonists. Monday afternoon we returned to our home-stays for the night.
Tuesday 2 Feb.
“Do they ever let you put your feet up?!” -Esther
Tuesday was the first day of our internships! These placements range from a dune restoration project, working at the museum, helping at a bird rescue, learning the ropes at a radio station, assisting in various schools, and more! At internships, we met new people who were impressed and surprised at the intensity of our semester in New Zealand. One volunteer at Bushy Park that worked alongside Earlham interns exclaimed “Do they ever let you put your feet up?!” inspiring our quote for that day. Most internships ended fairly early and the students returned home after a long day of work to study for the next day.
Wednesday 3 Feb.
“56.6% Pure New Zealand” -Satirical Ad Campaign
In Peter Frost’s Environmental Issues of New Zealand class on Wednesday, we talked about the development and branding of New Zealand with their “100% Pure New Zealand” brand. We then compared it to actual values in a satirical journal which labeled New Zealand 56.6% pure. This was our first day of class at Tupoho, a Maori Community Center where classes will be for Block 2. We also had class with Jay, a long lunch in town spent relaxing by the river, and an engaging outdoor lecture with Peter Horsley. It never fails to amaze us how “go with the flow” everyone in New Zealand is, especially with Zoe and Marcie rigging a projector screen so we could enjoy class outside. Students then prepared and packed to leave for Kapiti Island the next day.
Thursday 4 Feb.
“Beware of bunnies on the bouncing bushes” -Ben and Eleanor
Internships let out early on Thursday in preparation for our trip to Kapiti Island. Rachel and Gabe had an early start at their internship to (unsuccessfully) look for lizards in flax bushes in Bushy Park. Everyone met at the community center, had a quick checkin, and loaded into the vans for a short road trip to a small seaside town. We spent the evening at Anthony and Marina’s house (they coordinate our trip on the Marlborough Sounds later this semester) hiking, swimming, and eating delicious food on the beach. We learned from Ben and Eleanor (Anthony’s niece and nephew) that divaricating shrubs create a really fun and bouncy route down a hillside. We spent the night in a youth hostel in town named Barnacles.
Friday 5 Feb.
“It’s got your chapstick!” -Students to Nathan
After a ferry ride to Kapiti Island and a brief introduction to the birds, we set off on a hike to bird watch. With no mammalian predators, the birds are quite friendly and bold. Kaka and weka can be extra interested in humans, especially when it is lunch time. Some kaka landed on our shoulders and one was even bold enough to unzip Nathan’s backpack and take out his chapstick. The kaka are large parrots and can be quite alarming as they fly towards you to grab your snacks. We settled into our accommodations and in the evening, we went on a hike just after dark to look for Little Spotted Kiwi. Everyone, luckily, got to see at least one scampering through the forest with the help of our guides. After the walk, we got to bed after a long day of travels.
Saturday 6 Feb.
“Well I’ve never seen anyone make a mustard sandwich before…” -Manaki
We began the morning with a delicious breakfast at the lodge, followed by an interesting class discussion with Jay. Some free time followed giving us the chance to hike, swim, hangout, and enjoy the island. Around 3, we took a windy and wild ferry ride back to the North Island and drove sleepy students back to Whanganui. Lunch at the lodge inspired the quote of this day, after some adventurous students tried the spicy mustard. Manaki, our guide, didn’t quite understand the allure of a mustard and bread sandwich.
Until next time,
Rachel and Alex