Living the Kiwi Life

This week, we finished Block 2 classes and internships, and made our way down South to an overnight in Wellington, making it to Kaikoura on Saturday. We bade farewell to our homestay families and friends we made at our internships. We are all looking forward to new experiences, but are apprehensive about the cold weather. Here is an update on what everyone was up to the past six weeks!

Nathan lived with Karen and his host-sister, Jess. He had the highest hill to bike up to get home, so props to him for toughing it out and getting in a good workout each day. He biked through Kowhai Park on his way home, which was a nice scenic view! His internship was at Awa FM, a Maori Radio Station. His favorite memory from block two was the flax basket and goodie basket from his coworkers when he left. He enjoyed eating lunch with his coworkers at his internship, making friends, and having interesting conversations. He liked eating homemade dinner every night, and his host mom told good stories.

Alex worked at Bushy Park and Castlecliff Coastal Care. The joint internship with Woody was set up so they worked three weeks at each of the two internship sites. He lived with Leon and Hannah and has his own apartment space! In Block two, he enjoyed the trip to Kāpiti, having his own space in his homestay, but also gathering together for dinner each night with his family. At his internship, he liked talking to other volunteers and having interesting conversations with them. He also liked learning about Tongariro Power Scheme with Turama, as well as talking with Richard Thompson, an environmental consultant.

Kelsey stayed with Jo and her two Corgis. She worked with Akul at the Whanganui Regional Museum. She liked working with all of the different artifacts, getting to physically touch the ancient pieces, exploring, and learning about the museum. Also, she enjoyed having independence, being able to do her own project, and getting to know the other staff. She also really like Kāpiti, getting to hike, hear the bird calls, and enjoy the peacefulness of the island. In her home life, she liked meeting the neighbors and friends of her host mom, “living the kiwi life”. Once, Jo took her to Windmere Berry Farm, where she had pancakes with berries, ice cream, bacon, cream, and banana. That was her favorite meal of the trip.

Malia worked at Ki Tai, the company that took us on the River Trip. They also have a Maori education program that she was involved with. Her host parents were John and Ann, who also host people who bike around New Zealand. She enjoyed having big family dinners with all of the people, feeling welcomed by her host parents, and especially when John taught her how to knit. Her bike was along the river so she looked forward to having that time to be meditative and debrief from her experiences that day. At her internship, she liked the Maori culture aspect, learning more outside of class, and witnessing Pakeha/Maori relations. Her favorite memory of this block was making Chinese dumplings with the class and her host family.

Truman quickly became a celebrity at his internship at Whanganui Intermediate School. He basked in all of the fame and glory. He even gave autographs out to the students on his last day! He liked spending time outdoors with the school when they went sailing!! His host parents were named John and Judy; they made sure he never went hungry. Truman always came to class with multiple lunches. His favorite part of Block 2 was going to Rotorua and seeing a different, very touristy, part of New Zealand. He also discovered a good restaurant in Whanganui called Auri Korean.

Woody lived with Verena and Matt, a couple who has a hostel in town. She worked with Alex at Castlecliff and Bushy Park for her internships. She enjoyed going to Kāpiti Island during Block Two, as well as the other outdoor aspects of this semester. Her favorite memory from her homestay was getting to make spetzle with her host family. Spetzle is a traditional German meal and her boyfriend’s mom makes it a lot, which reminds her of home. At her internship, she enjoyed setting out tracking tunnels at Bushy Park and getting to walk and talk in the woods with Esther, one of the other volunteers. Esther also happened to be on the Ferry with us to the South Island, which was a pleasant surprise!

Glynnis had the least distance to move when we began homestays, as she stayed at the Settlement with Belinda and her family. Glynnis liked being a part of a family and going to dinners at “Grandma’s” house. Here, the extended family would gather for meals and laughs. She also liked exploring the Settlement more and found her favorite spot; a wooden platform at the back of the Settlement with a great view of the landscapes around. Her internship was at St. John’s Hill School, an enviro-school that she had researched before arriving in New Zealand. She liked going for a hike with the kids she worked with when they went to camp for a weekend because it helped her bond with more of the students. She is looking forward to making friends with seals and penguins in Block 3.

Gabe enjoyed having more free time, a big comfy bed in his homestay, and visiting Kāpiti Island during Block Two. He lived with Ross and Laura, along with their 3 year old son, Floyd. Gabe really enjoyed playing outside with Floyd for about an hour each day when he got home. His internship was at Bushy Park and Castlecliff Coastal Care. Rachel and he traded with Woody and Alex so all four got to work at each site. At Castlecliff, he enjoyed swimming after work and playing in the waves. During Block 2, he found a new spot, Mischief on Guyton. This is a small café that students often went to during their breaks between classes.

Eliza enjoyed living with Scotty, Melissa, and their two sons, Finn and Matai. She loved having dinnertime conversations with her homestay family. Her internship was at Putiki Kindy, a school for ages 3-5, to prepare them to enter year 1. She liked getting to know the kids better and seeing their improvements over the six weeks. During block two, she enjoyed getting to know Whanganui better, finding new places, and establishing a routine. She also discovered an outdoor workout facility while she was exploring Kowhai Park one afternoon.

Rachel worked with Gabe at Bushy Park and Castlecliff Coastal Care for her internship. She loved getting to be outside all of the time, working on conservation projects, and getting to swim with Gabe after work. She lived with Rae and enjoyed having her own room, joking around with Rae, and getting to know some of her friends and family. Her favorite parks of Block 2 were the trip to Kāpiti Island and the visits to the farms during the Friday Field Trips. Her favorite meal during Block 2 was a Rump Steak with Fried Eggs from the Red Lion Inn. She really likes that Kiwis put fried eggs on everything.

Brianna lived with Adrian, Trish, their daughter Evie, who is six, and their son Daniel who is 21. She liked having her own room and fast internet at her homestay. Her host mom was funny and very nice, and was a really good cook. Adrian told dad jokes, which fit Brianna’s sense of humor. She also really liked playing with Evie and their cat Susie. She lived up Durie Hill, so she is excited about having good quad muscles after 6 weeks. Her internship was at the Bird Rescue, at which she enjoyed snuggling with a baby Pukeko. During block 2, she enjoyed going to the Waitomo Caves and seeing glow worms. She looks forward to seeing new places in block 3!

Regan lived with Evelyn, Belinda’s mom. He liked having good dinner conversations, watching TV shows, joking around, and talking politics with Evelyn. It was an added bonus that he got to have extended family time with Glynnis, too! His internship was at the Bird Rescue with Brianna. He liked working with rare New Zealand birds and feeling like he had an impact on bird survival. In Block 2, he enjoyed talking to Dougal and Dai over lunch, hearing about their family and history at the farm. In Block 3, he is looking forward to seeing new parts of New Zealand, with different places and cultures, recognizing that he is getting an opportunity that many Kiwi’s don’t get.

Akul worked with Kelsey at the Whanganui Regional Museum. He liked working with interesting things, having snacks with the staff, and working in a structured office setting. The coolest artefact he worked with was a coin over 800 years old, worth around $4,000. At his homestay, he lived with Mike and Mary, and enjoyed their cooking. He said every meal was good, and there was a lot of meat, which he loved. He went to the Golf Course with Mike one day and liked making friends with the other people working there, and even hung out with them later in the block!

Love and sunshine from the Southern Hemisphere,
Eliza and Rachel

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