Tuesday, 23 December 2014

New Zealand Then and Now

Zealandia is an expensive day out and I would only recommend it if you are into walking. For my part I looked on the expense as my contribution to the conservation effort. Is the visit worth the money? Not if you think only of what you do whilst there but if you consider all the work they do and that the place is so much more than you see then I consider my money well spent. As well as having a lovely day out, the sun was shining and the wind was slight for a change, I took the opportunity to learn about New Zealand the land mass both as it is now as how it came to be. I am fascinated but how our planet has evolved. Even at my age I still love dinosaurs, dinosaurs are cool and anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what they are talking about. When I was in Australia I made a point of going to the museums in the cities I visited and whilst they had the usual dinosaur exhibits they had new marsupial dinosaurs! Animals I had never seen or heard of and they were also very cool. Therefore I hoped and was not disappointed to find something similar in New Zealand. Here it was massive flightless birds. I think of New Zealand as a couple of small islands but once it was a large land mass which at one point was almost completely submerged as it got smaller and smaller, before it became the real life Atlantis though it rose again as the tectonic plates moved and sea levels fell again until it became the islands we know and love today. 

 Though the Maori were here long before the Europeans settled here they have nothing on the aboriginals whose culture goes back over 50,000. That means that in historical terms New Zealand was uninhabited until very recently which in turn means that it was untouched and unique. Then people came along and tamed it but though much of the untouched beauty has gone it is still an amazingly beautiful place. The wildlife and plants are different again though the climate bears more similarity to home so some of it is strikingly familiar. Anyway the point of this is that Zealandia is a sanctuary where they are trying to eradicate the non-native species so that the native ones can once again flourish. It is an ambitious but I think worthwhile project and I was happy to donate to the cause in exchange for a chance to look around the place. In fact writing about it makes me want to visit it again and since it is summer (less rain, warmer wind) I may even look in to a year pass.....

As for the place itself it was peasant place to walk around. It was peaceful and the walks were not challenging but also not too easy as to be uninteresting. The scenery was like nothing I have ever seen and yet I was still in the capital city! I can honestly say that Welly is the least city like city I have ever been in and I love it. We didn’t see the reclusive Kakapo or Kiwi but we saw plenty of other birds and had a few quite sit downs in some lovely clearings whilst waiting just in case one should happen to come along. All in all it was a lovely day out and a great break from my unsuccessful job hunting. 

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