Everybody I know who has been to this land says only beautiful things. All Kiwi people I have met before coming here were super nice, friendly and most of them are amazing musicians. So it’s not a surprise I was very excited to come here.
As it is my habit I started to hitchhike straight from the airport. New Zealand is known as one of the best country for hitchhiking. So far I agree with it. From my experience Europe, Taiwan and Japan are easy and fun too. I did wait a bit outside of the airport, I was in front of a gas station about a kilometer away. Few cars stopped but they were all going to Auckland. After some time one man stopped, he told me he could take me to a highway which was just around the corner. Once you make it to a highway you know you already made it to wherever you were planning to go. This man was originally from Fiji. Unfortunately he wanted to drop me off on the highway, not a gas station, which is very dangerous and illegal. So we went off the highway again. As soon as he dropped me off another car stopped, even though I did not make any afford to hitchhike. The driver told me he works as a security man at the airport and when he saw me getting out of the car he assumed I was a hitchhiker and the place where I was dropped off was not good so he took me to another spot. Soon after I got a ride from a French girl who is here on a working holiday visa. I was thinking about applying for it as well but last minute I have decided to come only on a tourist visa. She will finish her job in about a month so we exchanged contacts and maybe will travel together later on.
After I got a ride from two Kiwi men, son and father. Very nice people, we had really interesting conversations about the country. I asked them about the situation between Maoris and white people which I asked as well another couple who gave me a ride later. I already felt a huge difference comparing to Australia. Of course two completely different cultures will have problems but it is possible to try to solve them peacefully. Relationship between Maoris, the native inhabitants of this land and white people was not always good but many things have changed in the recent years. A lot of land was returned back and now Maoris are the guardians. In their culture they do not believe in owning land, nature is a mother and you cannot own mother. As a first country in the world, New Zealand recognized some parts of its land and rivers as human beings, giving them the highest possible rights and protection. Maori language is one of the official language of New Zealand, it is taught at schools, along with English and sign language.
Everybody I have met so far is very proud and curious about the Maori culture, it is respected and accepted. I spent the first week of my stay in this country around area, Rotorua, which is famous for Maori culture and I was very lucky to spend my time with a Maori person who is now my brother. He taught me a lot, told me about the traditions, habits, we cooked a traditional meal – hangi and sang songs together. I was signing Czech songs and he was teaching me Maori music which I love. He took me to his village where he used to live. There are some places which are called living villages where Maori people open their homes to others so we can learn about them and they show traditional dances, haka. It is a win-win situation, foreigners can experience the culture and it brings money to the locals.
This land and its people are very special. There is so much we all can learn from them. How to treat each other and take care of the environment. It is a common part of everyday life to recycle, people respect the nature and don’t throw the trash outside. Rubbish can be recycled, nature can not. It is one of the first country I have been to where I see a lot of people doing outside sports. Running, jogging and mountain biking are very common. Normally when I go hiking in other countries which is called tramping in New Zealand I don’t see many people. There are always some people on the tracks here, a lot of elders as well. It is so peaceful and relaxing. The weather hasn’t been very good since I came here, I think about 70% of the time it rains but that’s what makes this country so green and beautiful. So if you ever decide to visit this land, be prepared, waterproof jacket and shoes are must. It is not unusual to experience different kinds of weather within a day – sun, rain, strong wind and sun again. Especially Wellington, the Capitol is a master of changing weather.
I try to go hiking every day, if the weather permits. There are few walks which are called the Great walks of New Zealand, I have already done two of them and getting ready to start a third one. First one was around the Waikaremoana lake, it was a guided tour. Very beautiful and I enjoyed it a lot. Second one is probably the most famous in the whole country – Tongariro crossing. I have heard about it a lot, have seen some pictures but I did not expect to see such a unique and diverse nature. It was probably the most beautiful walk I have ever done. Not very difficult so I think almost everybody is able to experience it.
I spent the last week around Wellington, waiting for a good weather to take a ferry to the South Island and start adventures there. People say South Island is completely different from the north. The nature, even the people, I have been told people in the south are more nicer but to be honest I cannot imagine somebody being more friendly, relaxed and happy than people in the north. While coming to Wellington one of the driver took me to a deer farm, I had a chance to play with them and also feed them, it was fun. This man was so nice, stopping along the way to show me interesting places and give me time to take pictures. As a hitchhiker I always take the opportunity to talk to people about the world, about places I have been to, especially areas which are not common to visit. You won’t believe what looks people give me when I tell them I have been to Iran. It is a very beautiful, safe country with super friendly and hospitable people.
I spent one week around the Tongariro National park staying in an army base. It was an interesting experience. Walking around military areas where soldiers are training, tanks passing by but also enjoying the luxury the camp provides – gym and heated swimming pool.
I have seen two interesting movies since I came here – White lies and The dark horse. Both of them are from New Zealand. People recommended me to read few books about Maoris and Europeans who came here. They said it will help me to understand the whole situation and also why the relationship between them is so different from Australia. The books are Making peoples, Paradise reforged and The fatal shore. Reading can seriously damage our ignorance so try to find at least few minutes a day to read a good book. ♡