The Doulos in Auckland
Good morning everybody!! Probably it would be better if I say good evening....
First of all thank you for your comments. At the end of my message I will try to answer to your questions!!
Today I would like to introduce you The Doulos. Have you ever heard about that? Maybe you had a cruise or a nice trip on it! You have surely understood that I am talking about a boat, but a special ones! I went to see it last week at the Auckland Harbour. But before starting let me tell you a little bit of history....The Doulos was built in the United States just 2 years after the Titanic, in 1914. At the beginning it was a cargo ship, then, during World War Two it served with the US Coast Guard. It was a luxurious cruise ship owned by an Italian company and finally, in 1977 a Christian charity purchased the vessel with the idea to teach the Bible to the world. In fact if you visit it and have a look inside you will find a lot of books, it is quite amazing I have to say.
This will be the last ever visit, as the Doulos is due to retire.
Here you can find some pictures my husband and I shot during our visit.
As you can see I'm wearing a light jacket.....in fact it's Winter here while it's Summer in the Northern Hemisphere....!!!
Actually, I can't really complain about the weather in New Zealand. I am thinking about the freezing winter we usually have in the Dolomiti - Italy!
Here I have never wear a real jacket, like a heavy windbreaker but I use more often the umbrella instead !! You probably know that New Zealand is much green, its nature is just amazing and there are beautiful trees and plants. It's because here the rain is very common!! I even saw raining cats and dogs!!! Ahahahahah!!
And now my answers to your many questions:
Dear Jeronimo 14, I am not keen on football. Anyway I like watching some "important" match like the Euro 2008. I woke up at 6.00am to watch Italy vs Spain......and we lost!!
I am happy that Spain won, I think it deserves it....after more than 40 years!!
By the way, I have been to Valencia to see the race between New Zealand and Alinghi....did you guess which sport I am talking about?
I don't miss my family yet but I will tell you about this in one of my next messages.
Ana Paula, nice to meet you!! You are right, New Zealand is wonderful and I will show you some pictures soon. At the moment I'm working in a special food shop and I talk with customers all day. I am quite happy to practice my English, especially regarding my studies, food I mean.
Adek, I don't have children yet...
Adytya, as food technologist I should work in a food company, analyzing food in a laboratory or formulating new products. For now I am improving my knowledge about English products and, trust me, it's not easy!!! I took my degree in Italy so , here, I have to learn many new things. I think it is very exciting, though!
Naheed, thank you!! I hope I could answer to all your questions!
Hi Fuji! I live in Auckland and yes, you should travel all around New Zealand because it is fantastic!!
Dear Mercè, I am writing from New Zealand cause I live here now.
Habooba, I like your name!! It sounds strange to me but it is nice. Wow, 50 degrees!!! Here there are about 13-14 degrees during the day....
Felicitas, thank you for your comment. I already wrote something about a food technologist job so you can read my answers. I'm working here...so my holidays are finished...sigh!
Vijay, thank you so much!!
Dear Elena, you asked me a big question! I guess there are many reasons if they do that. Often a gm variety is much more resistant to some diseases and so it lasts longer and harvest is better. Think for example to a kind of strawberry that has a gene of a Baltic fish to keep it resistant to cold temperatures! We don't know yet all the consequences of these modify food and people don't know much about these new studies. That's why, in my opinion, all this seems to be so scary.
Well, I'm drinking my coffee and I am almost ready to go to work as the day is starting here!
I can’t wait to read your comments so, turn on your pc and write me!
Good night everybody!
posted on Tuesday, 01 July 2008 | comment on this post
Where is New Zealand?
Hi everybody, especially to Simon!!! I am glad to meet you...your life seems to be very interesting. I love traveling and, because I like Maya and Egyptians, I really would like to visit Mexico and Egypt.
It should be very hot there in this period! Can you tell me a little bit more about the life there? How is the style life? Is it difficult living there? Can you use your English to work there?
I was reading again all comments you wrote and I was wondering if you all know where kiwi Land is located...uhmmm.
I attach a world map so you can have an idea of the position. I think that Italy is the most far Country from here!!
Before coming here I thought that New Zealand was like a tropical Country, with palm trees, crowded beaches and overall a very warm-hot climate... Instead it is a mild Country, Winters are not rigid and it is rare seeing the thermometer under zero (overall in Auckland). On the other hand Summers are not so hot but you can reach 30 degrees during Christmas time, that is not bad I guess! Anyway, it is always a good idea bringing a sweater for the night, after all we are surrounded by the ocean and we are close to Antarctica.
This reminds me two years ago when I was in Italy and my kiwi friends told me about some icebergs that "left" Antarctica to "visit" the neighbor. They told me that you could go in an helicopter to see them!
Another sign we are so close to the ice is the presence of penguins. I didn't see them personally but many people did in Wellington, the Capital city and throughout the South. I saw sea lions actually!!
A part from Wellington and Auckland, there are other cities quite famous: in the central-north there are Rotorua with its geysers and the smell of sulphur and Taupo with its nice lake.
In the South there are Nelson with beautiful beaches and the best weather of all the country, Christchurch with its strange, in my opinion, architecture (old and modern mixed together) and Queenstown with its ski runs and amazing landscapes. I had the chance to visit them all and I think that my favourite remains Wellington. It is built in an European style, it's small and it seems to have a nice soul. I love its pubs and restaurants, its atmosphere and the shops, the Harbour and its green islands.
I will show you many pictures throughout this blog, I promise!
By the way, all your comment are amazing!!!!! Thank you so much!!!
You are so interested in knowing stuff about New Zealand and I will try to answer. I don't have so much time today because I will work all day but I will try to answer to all of you later on.
Let me start....Felicitas, how many questions!!!!! I have been in New Zealand twice. The first time was about three years ago and I've stayed for one year. This time I came last January, so it is just few months ago.
Yes, New Zealand accent sounds different from the British ones (that you usually learn at school) but after few month you will understand it. For me Maori people are difficult to understand but now I can manage with them!
Dear Jeronimo 14, I like Valencia and I enjoyed so much vela and the race!!! I couldn't decide which team I would support because I was born in Switzerland!
There are 24 hours of flight between the two Countries, so for the entire trip about 35-36 hours I guess....it's a long trip!!!
Cristina, I am so happy you wrote to me! I read your blog and I found it very interesting. The life style here is much better than in Italy at the moment and we both need to improve our English, these are the main reasons of our move.
It's true, Ernesto, I am happy so far!!! When you move to another Country there are so many things to learn and this sounds exciting to me!!
I attended an English conversation course and the teacher was amazing. She helped me a lot but I think that the best way for learning English is practising it every day and being committed help a lot I reckon!!
Dear Luis and Kelly, I am glad you found interesting the Doulos!
Naweed, I didn't understand your question, sorry. Could you please explain it to me so I can answer? Thank you!
I agree with you Marianna. I find that the BBC is an amazing tool to improve English and I am so happy it gave me the chance to write this gorgeous blog!
Hi Davide! Thank you for your comment!! I look forward to catching with you on the phone. By the way, I miss you all guys!!
Good on you Ahwaz!
Pritam, probably life has an end for everybody...ahahah!
Sorry if I didn't answer to everybody....it's time for me to go to work.....
Have a nice day and see you soon!
posted on Wednesday, 02 July 2008 | comment on this post
The City of Sails
I am just shocked about all your comments! Thank you so much!
I am happy you ask me about this Country and I will tell you as much as I know.
It's also amazing how much you feel my enthusiasm between the lines! I always think that giving happiness and good feelings to somebody is one of the best things you can do.
Today I would like to show you my new city, Auckland. It is called also "city of sails", in fact if you have a stroll along the harbour you will see a lot of sailing boats.
Auckland is the largest and most populous urban area in the country, with around 1.3 million residents, over a quarter of the entire population. Its name in Maori is Tamaki-makau-rau. Did you know that here there are the Maori people here? And that they have their own language and, of course, culture? I will tell you about them one of these days because I think it's so interesting this people!
For today I just would like to show some pictures we shot during our staying here and one, Auckland at night, that I found in internet. You can see the Sky Tower, the tallest tower in the city centre where you can also jump if you like (it's not for me!!!!) and the sailing boats!
This is Auckland from Mt. Eden, one of the numerous volcanos of the region.
Can you see the sailing boats??
The Sky tower from the bottom.
Auckland at night. Isn't it beautiful?
Well, it's all for today.
Waiting for you comments...
posted on Thursday, 03 July 2008 | comment on this post
The MAORI People
Many of you asked me to speak about Maori so I decided to make you happy....
I did some research because I wouldn't make mistakes telling you about this People.
There are so many things to tell you about them so I think I will do it in more than one day, otherwise you will become bored I'm afraid!!
Today I am going to tell you a little bit of history and I will show you some pictures we shot three years ago, when our cousins Valentina and Gianfranco, came to visit us. In that occasion we went to visit an ancient village, now used only as a tourist attraction, situated few kilometres from Rotorua, in the middle of the North Island.
It is in the middle of a wood and all the huts are in wood as well. They are very tiny so you can't stay stand up in one of that. They were used just for sleeping as Maori used to live all together in the village.
In the next photo you can see the typical Maori greeting. The Maori form of greeting is called ‘hongi’, which is the pressing of noses. It is a tradition which continues today at major ceremonial functions.
There are many legends about Maori so dates are not so sure. Anyway, I will tell you what I found.....
In the 1300s the Maori came from the islands hundreds of miles to the north and by 1500 had established contact with over 60 countries, including the Vikings.
When the English began to settle here the Maori had many of the same experiences as American Indians - wasted by white man's diseases, and their huge sequoia like (kauri) forests were razed. I will tell you more about these particular trees later on.
The Maori fared well compared to natives in other countries because they were such fierce warriors. Even with superior weapons the whites gave up fairly quickly. The land was so rugged and the Maori so fierce and scary, that the whites signed treaties which they largely kept (quite a contrast to most histories with native peoples).
In 1840 the Waitangi treat was signed between 45 Maori head-men and Captain William Hobson and so the Maori had a relatively peaceful and prosperous relationship with the English. Today this treat is still very important as it defines the relation between white and Maori regarding both aspects financial and territorial.
The Maori were cannibals who ate their enemies as a way to insult them. Much of the Maori art shows bulging stomachs to warn you what will happen if you mess with the locals. I think all these should was very scary for enemies! It was probably one of the main reasons white people came here just in the late 1600s.
Below you will find some pictures of carvings images. As you can see all the faces are with tattoos. In fact it is very common here seeing Maori with many of them. Some people have both arms and legs painted!! Do you like them?
Today some of the tribes are quite well off, as they own large tracts of land which they lease. They are all over the island, fully integrated into every aspect and corner of NZ.
Before leaving you I would like to answer to some of your questions:
Mauricio, on the Sky Tower there are two steel cables that drive the jumper. In fact it's impossible jumping freely because you could easily hit the the tower....and it is made of concrete!
Cristina, I was born in Switzerland. Thank you so much for your compliments, you are very kind!
Jorge, I will show you some pictures of sheep later on, don't worry!!!!!
Well, it's all for today.
I hope you enjoyed this story!
I will tell you more tomorrow.
Have a wonderful day!!!!
posted on Sunday, 06 July 2008 | comment on this post
The Marae and the Haka
Before starting I would like to ask Simon some questions. I have been in Japan just once for few hours, in the way to come to New Zealand and I visited only Narita, the town where there is the airport. I don't really know much about that Country and I was wondering how is the food a part from sushi... Can you tell me something about that? And which is your favourite meal? What about drinks? Which is the most common ones?
And now the continuation of the Maori story...
As you can imagine after my brief description I wrote last time, Maori have different traditions from white people (English and Kiwis). A specific tribe lives in one village and has her own Marae. This is a Maori community facility which consists of a carved meeting house (wharenui), a dining hall (whare kai) and cooking area as well as the marae atea (sacred space in front of the meeting house).The marae is a symbol of tribal identity. It is a meeting place where people can discuss and debate various issues, and is considered by Maori as a turangawaewae (a standing place, a place of belonging). It is the area of greatest mana (prestige, power), the place of greatest spirituality, the place in which Maori customs are given ultimate expression. On the marae, official functions take place: celebrations, weddings, christenings, tribal reunion and even funerals.
I put some Maori words in my description so you can see how different is that from the English language. For example, to say hello they say "Kia Ora" that also means "You are welcome". If you watch the news on the television, speaker always says Kia Ora before starting with the news. Besides, there is the Maori channel where, for most of the time, they speak Maori language. Unfortunately I can't understand anything.....
Another thing you have surely seen is the Haka. It is one of their traditional dances, where the warriors jump around in an intimidating manner, bulge their eyes and stick out their tongues. Haka is not exclusively a war dance, in fact it is performed for various reasons: for amusement, as a hearty welcome to distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements or occasions.
The NZ national rugby team (the "all blacks" because their uniform is black) loves to do the haka at their opponents before a match. Did you ever see them?
This depiction of a haka as a war dance dates from ca. 1845.
And now let me answer to your comments...
Thank you dear Pritam, I don't really think Maori are threatened by someone. In fact I reckon they are very important for New Zealand. Without Maori this Country wouldn't be the same.
I have some pictures for you, dear Aditya:
Also for me it wasn't very nice knowing about the cannibalism, dear Naheed, but fortunately now they eat just fast food!!!
Dear Antonio, I have seen a shark here in New Zealand...but at the Napier Aquarium. They don't usually come to visit us cause of the cold water (luckily!!!).
You are right, Francis, there are many birds here. My favourite, I have to say, is the Pukeko but I promise I will find some pictures and I will tell about native fauna and flora in one of my next blog.
Why wouldn't you make a tattoo Ernesto? For the pain or just because you don't really like them on your body? I don't have any tattoo actually but I don't want to say that I will not do ones one day. Who knows!
I think it's a good idea remaining calm and friendly with them...ahahahahha...I am joking!!
Dear Cristina, my parents are both Italian and I went to Italy when I was two. In fact I can't speak German, unfortunately! In those years many Italians went to Switzerland, France, Germany to find a good job because in Italy life was very difficult.
Thank you Felicitas for your information. I have to say I didn't know that, so I didn't go to visit that place.
Well, I have just the time to say see you soon!!!
posted on Monday, 07 July 2008 | comment on this post
Thank you so much Simon for your last blog! You wrote so much and it was so interesting reading about Japanese food. I tried sake more than once and I think it is nice and you are right when you say that it is very good in Winter!!!
Regarding my mistakes....thank you for your corrections.
It is difficult thinking in another language...at the beginning I used to think always in Italian, and then translating it in English but it doesn't work!! Now it's much better but, as you can see, I still make mistakes. Do you think I will learn sooner or later??
Concerning my homework, I can only think about two funny things. The first one was a bad translation. In Italy, when you want to say to someone "good luck" you say "in bocca al lupo!" but in English it doesn't have any sense. My husband and I used to say "in the mouth of the wolf" but people didn't understand!!! Now I know why..
The second thing was funny...it happened one day while we were playing pool with some friends. One lady had a very good shot as the ball went into the hole. My husband suddenly said: "You have had a big ass!"....ahahahah!!! In Italy we say that when you are very lucky but in New Zealand it's not so polite...anyway, it was funny and we laughed a lot.
I don't really like to risk saying silly things so I usually shut up when I am not sure.
And now I would like to tell you about my bad experience with the Italian Post office and Custom. Last September a Kiwi friend of mine sent me (in Italy) a small package with some Paua shells inside. I will show you some pictures about that later on but I am sure you already know it, Simon. Anyway, I have never seen that package!!! It arrived in March, 6 months later and I was already here!!!! Isn't it unbelievable?
Well, today I would like to end up with the Maori stories telling you something about their beautiful jewellery. Every carving has a special meaning or a story behind its design. This is because the pre-European Maori had no written language so tribal history and the stories of the gods were kept using many forms of fine arts and crafts ranging from basket and cloth weaving to complex wood, bone, shell and jade carving. These artefacts were then handed down through generations of tribal elders and became sacred objects or treasures "Taonga", telling the history of a tribe and taking on the spirits of past great leaders and warriors who had worn them.
It is believed that a carving which is worn with respect or given and received with love, takes on part of the spirit of those who wear or handle it. In this way it becomes a spiritual link between people spanning time and distance. A carving that has been worn by family or tribal members over many generations contains the spirit of all of those people and is truly a great and powerful treasure.
The Maori have a great respect for nature and have many legends about the creation of the earth and all its inhabitants. Many of these legends revolve around the spirits or gods who created or protect each part of their world such as the mountains, the forests, the lakes and the creatures of the sea.
Most carvings combine elements from several areas of mythology which interact with each other to tell a story. Each element has its own specific meaning and the way they are portrayed or combined is what gives a carving its own special character.
Hereby you will find some of the most famous shapes with their meanings.
It represents the fern frond as it opens bringing new life and purity to the world. It also represents peace, tranquillity and spirituality along with a strong sense of re-growth or new beginnings.
The Koru is also often associated with nurturing so when interlocked with others is frequently used to represent the strength and purity of a loving relationship within a family.
The twist with its crisscross form represents the many paths of life and love and as such is regarded as the original eternity symbol. The single twist in particular shows the joining together of two people for eternity. Even though they sometimes move away from each other on their own journeys, they will always come together again sharing their lives and blending to become one. It tells how the strength of bond of friendship, loyalty and love will last forever.
The double and triple twists have a similar meaning but refer more to the joining of two peoples or cultures rather than individuals.
These very stylised fish hooks represent strength, prosperity, abundance, fertility and a great respect for the sea.
It also is said to provide good luck and safety when travelling over water so is often worn by travellers.
Hei-Matau are also symbols of power and authority which are held in great reverence by the Maori people.
They were used as a practical tool for fishing and were often decorated as a sign of respect for the creatures of the sea.
This is an ancient mythical being with a birds head and a human form. It is said to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits illustrating the strong links the Maori people have with spirituality and the spirit world. It is a holder of great spiritual energy and is a guardian against evil.
The Tiki is a very ancient symbol and is by far the least understood so there are a number of legends about its meaning.
Some say he came from the stars and that he was the first man of the world. He is also often depicted with webbed feet which suggests a strong link to the creatures of the sea.
Tiki was respected as the teacher of all things and the wearer of this symbol is therefore seen to possess clarity of thought, loyalty, great inner knowledge and strength of character.
The Tiki is regarded as a good luck charm when worn and in some areas is also regarded as a fertility symbol.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this long blog and that you didn't become too much bored....
Before leaving you, though, I would like to answer your questions:
Ana Paula, I didn't see that movie. Is it about New Zealand? Instead I watched "The Lord of the Rings" and I was very happy when I visited most of the place where they shot.
Silwal, I have to say that I was just very curious about this new people. Before leaving Italy I read something about them. The most weird thing I noticed was their naked feet everywhere. They don't wear shoes often!!! It's just strange for me.
Hi Anita! Thank you so much for writing!!! I used to read your blog every days. I remember that your English was amazing and the effort you put was fantastic. Thank you again and I look forward to reading your next comments!
Hi Toni, you are right. I think Maori are well integrated also if I can't deny that there are problems as well. It is not easy living all together...
Naheed, they are beautiful artists indeed! And you can see it also from the pendants I have shown you today.
Kamisaraki Ernesto and thank you so much for your teaching!!!!!! I understand your opinion about tattoo and I agree with you 100%.
Hi Francis! I have to agree with you, they look very scary indeed!!! Anyway I have learnt that there are different versions of Haka actually. Some can also be performed by women. I think it's great knowing about other people so that you can understand their traditions and respect them better.
Thank you for your comment Davide and Valentina. I really appreciate your effort in writing English! Don't cry Davide, you know that I would never disturb you while you are working....
Have a good day everybody and see you soon!!!!!
posted on Wednesday, 09 July 2008 | comment on this post
sorry if I didn't write so often last week, I have been very busy and I couldn't find any time to write.
First of all, I really enjoyed your last blog, Simon!!
My package now is in Italy, with my parents in law....I will see it when I'll go back (I don't know when yet!!).
Anyway, I have to tell you that I really don't like exams. I remember every time I had to take ones at the University...I was so nervous and, strange but true, for the few last ones I used to close myself in the toilet for a couple of day before..Ahahahha!! It wasn't funny at that time, though.
On the contrary, I love flowers, also if I don't have a green finger (is it correct this in English?). Anyway, I want to say that I am not really good with flowers and every year some plant dies.
I take advantage from this topic to show you some of the native plants you can find in New Zealand.
My favourite ones is the Pohutukawa.
Pohutukawa is a tree and its flowers are red and they have a particular shape. The bloom happens in December so, when it's Christmas time, New Zealand is completely red. There are many trees also on beaches and it's just wonderful seeing blue ocean, yellowish sand and red trees!!
Another plant is the Koru, the baby fern frond . Unfortunately, last time something was wrong with my koru symbol image. I try to show you it this time so that you can see the similarity between the plant and the Maori symbol. I hope to be luckier this time!
Kauri is the most imposing tree I have never seen. It is the biggest but not tallest species of tree in the country, with trunk diameters that rival Sequoias. They attain heights of 40-50 meters and have smooth bark and small oval leaves.
You can see me in the picture.....I am so small comparing that huge Kauri!
Gorse is another kind of plant. It is a bush with beautiful yellow flowers and you can see hills just covered by them.
And now I would like to show you the rain forest. We went there three years ago, close to Rotorua, in the middle of the North Island. The atmosphere inside the forest is just amazing! It seems to be in another planet with no noises except for birds and the wind among leaves.
And now your comments:
Marianna, I like Tiki as well, maybe more for its fertility "power" than for the other meanings. I think it could be a nice gift for new married couples. My husband gave me a couple of green stone twist earrings and I love them though!
You are right Ernesto, there are many theories regarding UFO and the Tiki!!
Hi Ana Paula! Thank you for your link, I read about the movie and I am so sorry I didn't see it. I will find it so I will find out more about it! About Maori I only saw "Once were warriors" but it is about the violence inside Maori families. This is, unfortunately, a big issue here.
Regarding "The Lord of the Rings" I can just tell you that the landscapes are just like in the movie. They shot around all the Country and there is still the Middle-Earth with the Frodo's village. Now it's just a tourist place and you have to pay to visit it. Unfortunately there are just the holes of the houses in the rock, nothing really interesting to see.
Hi Pary, sorry for your previous comment! I agree with you, our brain is complicated and it is not easy thinking in two different languages. Mistakes are inevitable I guess.
Thank you Anita for your comment! I am usually very careful about what I eat but I have to say that I am greedy as well....so sometimes I buy chips and some not so much healthy snacks . I always read the labels to check ingredients and I try to find something well balanced. Yes, I control also the substances added for the flavour and the colour and the calories as well. I usually read the name of the producer and the Country the product comes from. There are different food laws abroad such as limits and ingredients permitted.
I don't like fast food so I prefer cooking myself and I am also lucky because my husband cooks as well!! I like baking cakes, pizza and bread. I think it is very relaxing too. Our meals are always based on cereal (especially rice), vegetables, pasta, fish and few meat. There are some exceptions of course! I have to say we don't eat much fruit, especially during the Winter and we drink alcohol just in rare occasions.
I love butter and I could eat it just like that. Unfortunately it's not healthy eat it often so I usually dress my salad and cook with extra virgin olive oil.
I eat about 4 times a day but the better way should be 5 times so your metabolism works better and your digestion is much easier.
I hope I answered all your questions. If it is not so, please tell me.
I look forward to reading your next comment!
Nice to meet you, Leila! I can't imagine how was Aotearoa 30 years ago!! I guess there were much less people and it was very very quiet! Am I right? Mt Eden is very nice and the view from there is splendid I reckon!
Thank you again for your comment and, please, write again!
Thank you Cristina, Jorge, Naweed, Felicitas and Silwal for your comments and compliments! I hope to read more about you next time!
Well, that's all for now.
Have a wonderful day and see you soon!!
posted on Saturday, 12 July 2008 | comment on this post
What a wonderful blog!!!
How are you everybody?
Here is already dark and the day is ending....
Regarding your question, Simon. If you eat often and not big amount of food, your stomach works without huge breaks so that you don't feel a big hole in your tummy...ahahhahahh!!! Besides your digestion will be much easier and you will burn more calories.
I have something for you, dear Simon.....this sign is so funny to me!!! Every time I look at it I laugh. It means just that you have to pay attention to the railways if you are on your bike!
What do you think about that?
Today I should answer just your comments, they are so numerous! Thank you so much for that! It means much to me and I am really happy you like my blog!
Today there are more than 4.5 million of inhabitants in Auckland dear Leila, and immigrants are still more than emigrants. I was thinking that when you were here the Sky Tower didn't exist! You should see it, it's amazing and I think the landscape is very different with it!
I was checking my pictures and I found one of the museum. I hope you like it!
Dear Christine, in New Zealand there are few big cities like Auckland (the biggest ones), Wellington, Christchurch. There are many little villages but you won't find huge empty areas like, for example, in Australia. I can say that there are many earthquakes but most of them are imperceptible. I heard two of them when I was in Wellington, more than three years ago.
In one of my next blog I will show you some picture of the Mt. Cook with the snow!
Delphine, in Aotearoa there is the Boxing Day, December 26 as a national public holiday.
No worries Ana Paula. Unfortunately violence is a tough topic and I don't know enough about it to give you a rational and complete answer. Anyway, in my opinion, Maori are not discriminated. If they want to study and have a good education they surely can get a good job. As always it is up to people achieving good goals, don't you think so?
Hello Silwal, my husband is very shy so I won't show you pictures of him. Sorry about that.....by the way, why do you want to see him!! I'm jealous!! Ahahahahahah!!
Hi Chris and thank you for your daily comments, I really like them. I have to tell you there isn't specific meal here in New Zealand. In fact here there is the "fusion cuisine" , a mix of different way to cook (Asian, Indian, English, European). Anyway there are particular food such as Kumara for example which is a delicious sweet potato.
A part from the way Kiwis eat, I think that here there is more variety of food and this is very good for my taste!
I will be very glad if you tell me about your Country, Sagar!
I can understand your English Redouane, and your effort is appreciable!!
Sylvia, get on the plane and come here!!! Ahahahahah!!!
Hi Filippo....do I know you?? I used to live in the North East of Italy. What about you?
Fuji, I have been to that garden and I think it is amazing!!!
Yes Habooba, all the carvings are hand-crafted. I really wish you to come here because I think it's beautiful.
Mong Thuy Vo, it would be a wonderful place for a honeymoon here! Are you getting married soon?
Thank you Anita for your comment. 22 years are many!!! Congratulations! ( I answered to your latest comment below)
Unfortunately windows were dark to protect customers from the Sun, Dani, that's why colours are not so bright but you can have anyway an idea of the view.
Hi Guzin, we have been married for 6 years and, luckily, we are very happy and in love!! I like your wish! Thank you.
Thank you Rafal. The All Blacks are very good indeed!
Ciao Concetta! Can I ask you where do you live in the Po valley? The life style here is much better, in my opinion, than in Italy. There is not so rush doing things and you can still enjoying your family without dying for your job....keep on writing!!!
Hi Ernesto! I will write about animals one of these days. In fact I've already promised to write about them.
I really would like to see The Morro!!!! It sounds exciting!
What a surprise dear Linda!!!!!! Thank you for your comment. Of course you make me feel happy and welcome in this wonderful country. All your family is wonderful and we both thank God for meeting you all!!! Having "foster" parents here is just a blessing... Thank you again and see you soon.
Ahahah. I always enjoy reading your comments, dear Anita. Yes, I like preserving and making jam but for now I don't have a garden here. I would really like to taste one of your jams, I can imagine the nice smell and the delicious taste...
Anyway, here is still winter and my favourite fruits will be on the market i few months....I will probably buy them in some farm and then I will make my own jam.
When we got married, 6 years ago, the church was full of sunflowers. It was amazing and from then it became our flower. We have been to Tuscany for our honeymoon and we saw many sunflowers fields....I remember I was astonished!! That beauty was fabulous!!
Have a good day and see you next time!!!!!!!
posted on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 | comment on this post
Birds in New Zealand
Today I'm going to tell you about birds in New Zealand. Some of them are very funny I reckon and I will show you some pictures so you can tell me if you agree or not with me.
My favourite is the Pukeko, one of the few New Zealand native birds to have flourished since the arrival of man. It can be found in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations. Groups will often be seen foraging for food in road-side areas.
With their bright blue plumage and red beaks, they easily stand out against the New Zealand greenery, particularly when their white tail feathers begin flashing in alarm. You'll find their images on all manner of art and craft works. Ask any visitor to New Zealand what bird they remember most, and they will more than likely answer, "The Pukeko!"
The most famous bird here is, of course, the kiwi!!!! I didn't know anything about this animal until I came here. Then, I saw it in a zoo because it is quite difficult finding it. In fact it is a nocturne bird!
The kiwi is the sole survivor of an ancient order of birds including the now extinct moas. A flightless bird about the size of a domestic fowl, the kiwi has coarse, bristly, hair-like feathers. Females are larger than males.
Using its excellent sense of smell and flexible bill, the kiwi feeds on worms, insects and grubs, supplemented by leaves, berries and seeds.
Here below there is another funny sign I found.......it means you have to pay attention because there could be kiwi birds crossing the street!!
I have never seen the Kokako, a bird that belongs to the endemic New Zealand wattlebirds (Callaeidae), an ancient family of birds which includes the North and South Island saddleback and the extinct huia.
The kokako is the only member of its family still surviving on the mainland. A dark bluish-grey bird with a long tail and short wings, it has a pair of brightly coloured, fleshy "wattles" extending from either side of its gape to meet below the neck.
The North Island kokako has blue wattles, while the South Island kokako has orange or yellow wattles. The bird is not particularly good at flying and prefers to use its powerful legs to leap and run through the forest.
The Tui is another famous bird of New Zealand and it is also known as the parson bird due to it's white throat feathers and dark plumage. It is one of the best known and loved birds of Aotearoa because of it's beautiful song and habit of visiting gardens to feed on nectar. Both the male and the female sing and it is an adept mimic.
Well, these are the most popular birds here and I hope you enjoyed seen them.
I can't believe time is getting by so fast and I still have so many things to tell you!!! I hope I will have the time to do that!!!
Thank you again for all your comments!
Ernesto, do you know my name??? Ahahahah..
Thank you Paco and I like trams as well. I've been in Zurich, Switzerland, and I really enjoyed trams there. I think it is one of the most means of transportation (is it a correct English Simon?) in that city.
Here in New Zealand people use a lot of chilli I have to say, dear Anita. I know it is not an herb but comparing with Italy here everything has to be tastier and hot. They use a lot of coriander too and many Asian and Indian spices.
I promise I will show you pictures of landscapes next time Christine so that you can have a better idea of all this stunning Country.
There are heaps of roundabouts in Italy but we drive on the right side, Fuji, so it is been quite difficult at the beginning here!!! Fortunately I didn't give up and now I am very confident to drive here. I am just worried to go back to Italy!!!
I am very sorry Silwal but I won't show pictures of other people apart from me if they don't want to. I hope you understand. Thank you anyway for your comment!
Filippo, I have a good friend in the same area of you and with your name as well.....world is very very small...don't you think so?
Also in Italy there is the same proverb, Habooba. Thank you so much!!!
Thank you to all of you for your comments!!!! It's nice having so many readers!
See you next time and have a wonderful day
posted on Monday, 21 July 2008 | comment on this post
Wellington, the capital city
From today on the end of this blog I would like to show you something more about New Zealand landscape. What do you think?
Apart from Auckland, that is the biggest city, there is the capital, Wellington. I really love that city because it seems to have a nice soul and the style of buildings is more European. I feel a little bit closer to my home maybe.
Wellington is situated in the south of the North island, near the geographical centre of the country.
Wellington is New Zealand's political centre, housing Parliament and the head offices of all Government Ministries and Departments, plus the bulk of the foreign diplomatic missions based in New Zealand.
As you can see, the shape of the New Zealand Government "Beehive" is quite peculiar. The Beehive's circular footprint (rotunda) is an elegant and attractive design feature. However it is also quite impractical, as many of its rooms are wedge-shaped or asymmetrical, with desks and other office furniture at awkward angles.
Wellington's compact city centre supports an arts scene, café culture and nightlife much larger than most cities of a similar size. It is a centre of New Zealand's film and theatre industry. Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the biennial New Zealand International Arts Festival are all sited there.
This is me outside the Te Papa museum.
And now some pictures of my beloved city and its region.
The harbour. Isn't it beautiful?
The seaport at night.
Can you see the airport behind me?
Ivano and the area around Wellington.
Here we are on the coast close to our previous house.
Dear Leila, thank you for your comments! I love kumara and I love barbeque here!! It is amazing for me seeing that bbq is so common among kiwis. In Italy is not like that.
Honestly I like eating just cook meat without sauces but here it's impossible.....they put sauces everywhere. Did they do that also when you were here?
Habooba, I think that in a way it is true. New Zealand is far from everywhere, you have to catch the plane if you would like to visit other countries and this is, in my opinion, an advantage and also a disadvantage. You will find animals, plants and traditions that are peculiar to this Country as well as signs.. ahahahha!!
It's nice knowing about healing plants, I reckon. Also here there are rainy days but temperature is very nice. A weird thing I noticed here, people don't use umbrellas!!! It is strange but maybe it's because you will never know how the weather will be so it is not so important protecting yourself from the rain.
Thank you again for reading my blog and see you soon!
posted on Tuesday, 22 July 2008 | comment on this post
Hi Simon and readers!
Thank you for your suggestion, teacher, and also for your pictures! I find a great idea having my bicycle with an attached umbrella!! In that way you can use both your hands for driving and you are not worried to hit someone...ahahha!!.
You are completely right about the windy Wellington, that is the reason my husband didn't like the city so much.
People say the Cook strait , the one between the two islands, is the windiest in the world. I don't know if it is true or not but I can say sometimes it is really amazing. Unfortunately here houses haven't a good insulation yet and it is not rare finding "windy" ones. In our previous house you could feel the wind throughout your body also if all doors and windows were closed.
Anyway, today I'm going to show you another part of New Zealand, Coromandel Peninsula. I can't deny it is one of my favourite places and I would like spending there my holidays.
We have a couple of Italian friends living there, they decided to spend their retirement in a beautiful villa with a stunning view upon the Whitianga harbour. We've visited them a couple of times and these are some pictures of their place.
I think the view is just breath taking!!
When we were driving to Coromandel Peninsula we used to stop in every nook and cranny because of the terrific places. In fact we drove along the ocean as you can see below. I think the pictures don't need any further word so just enjoy them!
These Agapanthus are very common in New Zealand. I love their colour so I shot them, it reminds me holidays!!
This cow is outside a park and I think it is funny.
We visited a small beach in Whitianga and there was nobody there. It was like been in heaven!
When I saw this teeter-totter on the beach I couldn't resist to the temptation... I felt like a child!
Well, I hope to read soon your comments cause I really enjoy them!
Have a wonderful day!!
posted on Wednesday, 23 July 2008 | comment on this post
What about you all?
Here we are again!!
I love your comments, thank you so much for that!!!! All this blog will be a beautiful memory for me, I will keep it like a treasure.
I would like to start with you all.
Thank you for your information Anita and for your timely comments. It's nice reading about you and it is a good chance to read again your blog....I'm getting old and I need to refresh my memory sometimes!
Christine, it is true. Here in New Zealand there are no snakes. In fact it is unbelievable seeing people in the forest without any shoe or sock, just with naked feet!! This is one of the strangest thing I have never seen.
I really wish you to come here, I have a spare room if you like...;-)
Hi QT, unfortunately not all the pictures I shown are mine. I did some research and I found most of them on the net. All the others about cities and places are mine, though.
Thank you Cris, you are always so nice. I just would like you to see some of this beautiful country. I think it is very interesting knowing about a place that is not so known. I work about 40 hours a day and so far I enjoy working here because I'm improving my English very fast.
Dear Paco, you nosed out me!!!! I already have some pictures about New Zealand and Italy and I meant to show them one of these days. Anyway, you are right. The two countries are so similar in shape!! Here are those pictures...
Thank you Maycon, I am sure you will discover a lot here, no worries!
I will post some picture of our trip in the South island soon, Fuji. It's a pity you didn't see it . You should come here again!! I don't know how long I will stay here but I hope to live this experience as long as I can. I don't do plans in a too long future because when I did it I had to change them... I will see what happens. I guess I could choose a warmer Country if I leave New Zealand, maybe closer to Italy too, so that my family would be happier.
Ernesto, I was joking! I forgive you by the way. Ahahaha!! In New Zealand there is an issue about the wind power development. In fact some people are not happy for the environment change. If you would like to know more about this topic you can read this pdf document: http://www.pce.govt.nz/reports/allreports/1_877274_29_1.pdf. Thank you for all your comments. Keep on writing!
Hi Bia, is it correct the spelling of your name? Sorry if it is not. My English needs to be improved a lot but I keep on studying and exercising it. I still make many mistakes but what I can suggest is that you don't have to be shy. Don't be worried if you are not sure about something, just try to tell or write it. People will understand you and if not, probably they will correct you and you will learn something more.
I try to keep updated this language listening cds, watching tv, reading a lot and talking all day. I often do exercises on the bbc website. I reckon this is the best site for learning English by yourself. I find absolutely useful listening to the article and to the sounds of words. I hope I have been useful to you...keep on writing, that's a brilliant exercise!
Thank you Vemuki for your words! I hope you will write again.
Marianna, how old are you? I am joking, it is a compliment what you wrote, thank you!
Thank you Bruno, photography is one of my passion but I have so much to learn!!
Joanna Marie, as you see your comment has been published and I am very happy you wrote. Cheers!
I did the same trip, Chilad, 3 years ago and I agree with you. I will post some pictures next time of the South Island.
Dear Ruth, you find most of the answers of your questions in my previous instalments. Maori are well integrated here and there is no problem if they want to marry white people. In fact it is difficult seeing real Maori, they are mixed now.
Hi Jorge, you can read the same document I gave to Ernesto to have more information about wind power in New Zealand.
I have just the time to have a quick coffee and go to work now!
Have a wonderful day and see you soon!!!
posted on Thursday, 24 July 2008 | comment on this post
Mountains, lakes, rain and glaciers of the kiwi Land
Today I have a small cold but you can't heard me, so it is ok....
Did you enjoy the pictures I published yesterday? I hope so because today I will show you more of them.
After visiting Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand (3754 m), we went to Queenstown.
"Rugged mountains, majestic lakes, crystal clear air, and just so much to do. From bungee jumping to wine trails, jet boating to tramping, dining out to skiing, the tricky part is extending your stay to try and fit everything in".
This is the introduction of this city you will read on every books and on internet...and that is true! Queenstown is a beautiful village, in my opinion and it is very famous for its ski runs. In winter you can see white mountains that plunge in the Lake Wakatipu.
As I've just written, there are a few of bridges where you can try a bungee jumping (I'll never do it!). We went to see one of the sites, the Kawarau Suspension Bridge with an height of 43 m, and here you can see the pictures:
In the South island you can find also gold fields, they are now tourist places and it is interesting to see how mines were once.
Punakaiki is one of the major tourist attractions on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Here you will find the Pancake Rocks. They have irregular chasms and ridges, typical of limestone country. The layers of resistant bands of limestone are separated by softer, thin, mud-rich layers. Erosion by water, wind and salt spray near the coast has etched out the rock, forming the distinctive ‘pancakes’.
During our trip throughout the South Island we had a couple of days with bad weather. In New Zealand it means that you will find a lot of rain!!!! Just have a look at these pictures!
Can you see the men over there?
Finally, we had a walk on one of the Glaciers located on the west coast, the Franz Josef Glacier.
And the bad weather ended up in a beautiful view....again!!
Thank you Maycon, I really would like to have a cup of coffee with you. We have our blog but it is in Italian, unfortunately! Maybe you will meet here, who knows!!
Thank you Leila, it is been nice having you in this blog! Anyway, I hope to read about you before finishing.
Hi Anita and thank you for your comment! I know just some Italian ways to predict the weather and they seem to be just the same of yours (apart for the legend of Saint Medard)!! It is amazing, sometimes the same sayings are used in two countries far away from each other! For example we say that two people are like cat and dog when they can't stand each other. The same is here in New Zealand, about 18.000 Km far away!
I was thinking about thunders and lightning . In my little village in Italy they say that the noise of a thunder is made by St. Peter, our patron saint, that it is rolling nuts. There is also the saying "Red on evening, we wish good weather".
Cristina you are right and, as you can see, also Simon corrected me....auch!! I'm a good worker though ..ahahah!!
You are right Toni!!! Keep on writing!
Well, it's all for today.
I'll catch up with you in the next days!!
posted on Monday, 28 July 2008 | comment on this post
Unfortunately something was wrong with some pictures.
I try to send them separately so you can see the glacier and the rain as well!!
Can you see the men?
And here the Franz Josef Glacier!
I hope you can see them now, otherwise I am sorry for that!
See you soon.
posted on Monday, 28 July 2008 | comment on this post
Nelson city and a funny Safari
Good day everyone!
Did you already recover after the jet-lag, Simon? How is the weather up there? Your trip sounds like a little nightmare! I have never slept during my flights and we decided next time we will have a stop somewhere for few days so that we can recover a little bit. Maybe we could stop in Japan!!
Thank you again for your comments, readers!
Dear Fuji, I am sure you know how strict the New Zealand immigration is. You could try to find a company in your field and ask it to be a sponsor for you. You can come here for a holiday anyway.
If I can suggest you something special, you should go to Kaikura, in the north east of the South Island. It is unbelievable how many crayfish sellers there are along the beach. You just have to stop wherever you like, get on one of the little vans you find and choose a beautiful and fresh crayfish for few dollars.
You can eat it just there, on the beach. There are benches and tables for visitors so that you can taste and smell the New Zealand Ocean! Or you can go to Oamau, as Chiladi suggests, to have a wonderful chocolate!!
Thank you Adriana, Leila and Feelize for your kind comments!
Ehilà Cristina, you are right, we both learnt a lot I suppose. I don't know if I've been good enough but I am very happy for this opportunity to write about New Zealand. I think the world is beautiful and one of my dream is to visit as much as I can and to learn about new cultures, traditions and people. I really would like to see all your Countries. In Argentina (Buenos Aires) I have some relatives and I wish to go there in the future.
Yes Habooba, I am pretty sure our planet is the same ;-)
Thank you Marianna for writing so often and for your nice words. I will keep you updated about the Tiki power!!!
I have never visited Russia in my life, Julia, but I will go there for sure one day! Thank you!
Dear Chiladi, do you know that I am very gluttonous? I didn't try that chocolate but I will next time, I promise!!!
Hi Anita! Actually I am still sick, I even can't speak today as my voice has gone away.....I suppose my husband is happy! ;-)
My days are quite the same. I usually get up at 7.30, I have a coffee and breakfast (usually milk and biscuits or cake that I make). Then, at 8.20 I go to work as I start at 8.30. I finish it at 6.30 pm and then I go home, I have my dinner with Ivano and watch the telly or write the blog or e-mails. Now on Tuesday night I'm teaching Italian in a college from 7 till 9 pm. Last night was my first lesson and it wasn't easy at all, but everything ended up in the right way.
On Sunday we usually go to the church in the morning and we spend our afternoon having a walk or visiting new places.
As you can see, there is nothing special I do at the moment.
I have just two days left and I would like to show you some pictures again.
My husband really likes Nelson, a little city in the north of the South Island. I heard that about 50, maybe 60 years ago, many Italians moved there because of the beautiful Weather. They used to grow tomatoes and there are still many of their kids over there.
As you can see this is the geographical centre of New Zealand and it is situated on the top of a hill.
Looking for my Nelson's pictures I found another sign, it means that you can't use your skateboard on the street. At a first glance I thought it was an airship but then I realized it couldn't be possible :-)!
I found also the Kumara, I cook them sometime and this is the way they look.
To finish this day I would like to show you one very kiwi thing.....a 4 wheel drive safari. We took part some months ago with our "foster" parents Linda and Peter and, believe me, it was such a funny day (sometimes scary for a fearful lady like me!).
The Safari took place at about 1 hour drive south of Auckland and it lasted for about half day. Just see these pictures and I am sure you will have an idea of that day.
Well, see you tomorrow for my farewell...sigh!!
posted on Wednesday, 30 July 2008 | comment on this post
Well, this is my last hello!!
It sounds strange to me saying goodbye cause I was so used to write about my new Country.
Today it is just the right time to thank you everybody for writing comments. It is been a beautiful journey with you. Reading about you all, from many places in the world, it is been a great experience. I am sure we will keep in touch writing and reading comments of others bloggers.
Thank you Simon for your corrections and for sharing your life with us. I learnt heaps of interesting things about Japan, and I hope to read about you again in the future.
I would really like to thank again the BBC for this opportunity. This website is the ideal tool for learning and practising English.
Before leaving you I would like to show you some pictures of the area around Auckland and then my view and my suburb.
Mahurangi National Park, north Auckland
Lake Taupo, in the centre of the north Island
"my" beach and the Rangitoto volcano
Auckland, I already told you, is called "the city of sails", so I went once sailing in the Harbour with my husband and our friend John. Actually we went by John's sailing boat! It was just amazing, no noise, except for the ocean and the wind. We stopped in a very small island and we had a swim there. It was fabulous, the sand was orange and the ocean was just turquoise. Here there is a picture of that day.
And finally the kitchen from I've been writing this blog throughout this month.
Well, It's time to leave you and to say goodbye to everyone.
Take care and if you come here just whistle at me! You will never known, I could be waiting for you on our dream sailing boat....can you already see me?
posted on Thursday, 31 July 2008 | comment on this post
From BBC Learning English
Many thanks to you Rosalba for your kind words about our blog and for sharing with us your NZ stories and pictures. We hope you will continue to take part in the blog as commentator.
From tomorrow please welcome Kiran from Nepal who will be with us throughout the month of August. Enjoy the experience Kiran!
posted on Thursday, 31 July 2008 | comment on this post