We've just spent several days on the North Island (Aukland, the largest city and the resort town of Rotorua) and we're now heading to the South Island where we will visit Christ Church and other points.
From there, we will head to Australia.
We will get photos up as soon as possible but in the meantime you can see many of our photos on Facebook if you are Facebook friends of ours.
The North Island of New Zealand was created by volcanic eruption. The South Island was largely created by glacial erosion. So, they are two quite different topographies.
Here's some more of what we've learned about New Zealand:
--This is a very orderly nation. Things are done in an orderly, mannerly way and that's the way New Zealanders seem to like it. At intersections in a large city such as Aukland, pedestrians do not cross against the light. They wait patiently.
--The various government ministries seem to have thought of everything and they are now shy about imposing regulations wherever or whenever they have to. There are no state governments -- only one central government and then local councils which have rather limited power. It's been decided that by 2025 New Zealand will be totally smoke free. This means that cigarettes will simply be gone. Smoking will be against the law. They're working on it -- and they'll be happy to remind you of it.
--Agriculture is huge here and the largest single endeavor is dairy farming. After that, sheep herding and wool (as you might expect) count high as well.
--The native people of New Zealand are of the Polynesian race and they are called Maori (pronounced MOWri). They are very proud of their native culture and are happy to share it. Maori are integrated into every aspect of life in New Zealand and contribute greatly to the commerce and the cultural idenitity of the nation. At the same time, they retain their own distinct characteristics and traditions.
--There are vast stretches of open land here -- farmland, forests, national parks -- and, of course there is water all around with many ports, rugged seasides and beaches.
We'll be reporting more about New Zealand and Australia as we move along.