Flat Stanley Visits New Zealand
Letter home from Flat "Cami" -
Kia Ora! That means Hello or Best Wishes in the native language, Maori, of New Zealand. Maori people are the first settlers from Polynesia that came on long row boats to this far away country. They are similar to Hawaiian Polynesians, but have a completely different language and culture that is quite interesting. A lot of the towns throughout New Zealand have Maori native names and the language is official along with English. Mandy and Jacob are learning Maori words daily in school as part of their curriculum. Mandy is in a dance group at school called Kappa Hakka that girls and boys sing and dance in Maori style. The Kiwis (slang for New Zealanders) even sing their national anthem in both Maori and English. It is very pretty to listen to and even more fun to try to sing!
I have been living on the South Island of New Zealand in a city named Christchurch. It is on the East Coast of New Zealand right where there is an area that goes out of the island that is called the Banks Peninsula. I have traveled quite a lot of the South Island with the Holyfield’s to see little Hector Dolphins on a boat cruise in the Banks Peninsula area of Akarora, watch yellow-eyed penguins come up to the grass from the sea at Moerki, punt (canoeing) on the Avon River in Christchurch, Jet Boat (superfast boat) in Queenstown lake, and Boogie Board on the Sumner beaches! I have also been taken grocery shopping, to the playground, and driven down the roads on the wrong side!
New Zealand National Anthem
Where is New Zealand?
As you can see on the globe, I have been visiting an island that is quite close to Antarctica. There are a lot of U.S. Scientists who come here to research and take ships down to Antarctica from here. It does have palm trees and flowers and green grass all year, but it can get quite chilly. In fact, there have been days that the weather has hit all four seasons in one day depending on if the winds are coming from the South (cold) or the North (warm)! The Holyfield’s have actually turned on their heat pump and their air conditioner in the same day. It is springtime right now and will turn to summer in mid-December when we are all celebrating Christmas. Mrs. Holyfield has been tending to a huge garden of rose bushes and rhododendrons and peonies. She is attempting to grow vegetables here too in a greenhouse that is in their yard. There are no predators in New Zealand including snakes! And most deer have been domesticated to ranches. (i.e. Elk don’t bother the garden!)
This huge set of islands has a lot of different topography too. There are mountains that run down the middle of the islands that have lots of ski fields (that’s what they’re called here). Also, there are beautiful beaches with gorgeous sand and seashells that are different colors depending on which beach you go to. My favorite seashells are the dark purple ones and the Paua Shells that are shiny purple that lots of jewelry is made. Throughout the country are rolling grassy hills that make for perfect grazing land for sheep (40,000,000 sheep live in New Zealand, and 4,400,000 people live here!). A lot of the mountains and bay areas were formed by volcanoes. The Banks Peninsula where I saw the Hector Dolphins (only place in the world these dolphins live) was formed by a huge volcano! The Holyfield’s are looking forward to skiing next July at a ski field that has an active volcano at the top.
Cassie & the Kids
What it's like Living in New Zealand
Some words and terms that we are picking up from New Zealand Kiwi People (very different from Australian accent): They pronounce e’s like short i’s and don’t pronounce R’s (Yes is pronounced “Yis” and the s is carried out!!) Z’s are pronounced “Zed” when saying letter Z
Lolli – Candy
Sweet As – Cool
Let’s Have a Look – (what people always say!)
Wee – Little
Good as Gold – Feeling Good
Have a Think About It–(people always say!)
Chips – Fries
Like a Box of Fluffies–Feeling Really Good!
No Worries! – no worries!
I have been enjoying this family. They recently adopted a Golden Doodle puppy named Cassie who is quite a bit of fun! Jacob is 13 - Year 8 and Mandy is 10 - Year 6 and they have helped me with my adventures quite a lot. They are both enrolled at Prebbleton Primary School and get to scooter or ride bikes to school every day as they live about 2 km from their school (yes – it is the metric system here). They wear uniforms to school too. They sometimes get to have fun things at school like Sausage Sizzles that are fund raisers for their school’s PTA. A $2 coin buys a sausage. That would be about $1.44 US. Each day they have a Morning Tea around 10:00 a.m. This is actually free milk for the kids and recess that lasts 20 minutes while the teachers have their tea time. They also have to bring a sack lunch each day as there is no cafeteria in New Zealand schools. The kids eat outside for one hour usually unless it is too cold and then they eat in their classrooms or hall. They eat their sack lunch and then can play the rest of the time. The kids will be finishing school in mid-December and moving up to Year 9 (Lincoln High School) and Year 7 in February. High School goes through Year 13 here. Jacob and Mandy will get 2 summer breaks this year since they just moved to NZ from Colorado in August. However, the summer break in December is 1 1/2 months compared to U.S. summer break of 2 1/2 months.
When they took me grocery shopping, I found the stores look a lot like American grocery stores except there are not many American products. The shopping carts are called Trundles or Trolleys and all four of their wheels turn. People sometimes walk around the stores barefoot! Some of the food is named differently like Beef is called Minced Meat, Tomatoes are pronounced with an awe in the middle, and many vegetables have very different names like peppers are Capsicum, zucchini is Corgette. Sausages are quite popular here and they have a yummy pastry I enjoyed called sausage rolls. My favorite dessert is Pavalova cake with fresh kiwi fruit (grows here). It is like angelfood cake & whipped cream!
I’m anxious to come home to show you the seashells, lollies, NZ $ and some other goodies. If I want to see more NZ scenery, I can always watch “Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit”, and “Narnia” Movies! See you on the flipside!! Cheers, Flat Cami