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New Zealand – A Personal Observation

It is obvious that the only people we really met whilst in New Zealand were those involved in the tourist industry, and let’s face it, it’s their job to be nice to you. Be that as it may everyone we came into contact with were truly friendly and seemed to be genuinely happy with their lot.

What impressed us the most about New Zealand, other than the most beautiful and stunning scenery, was how clean it was, the cities, the towns, the tourist attractions, the rivers, and the harbours. The water is crystal clear with no sign of contamination, and then we come back into Sydney Harbour, look over the side, and there floating in our harbour is rubbish. Welcome home.

The Maori people that we met were the most welcoming and gentle people one could wish to meet, they went from being quite fierce during the Haka, to melting your hearts with their smiles 30 seconds later. The Maori are a people who are truly proud of their heritage, they have a lovely language, beautiful legends, our visit to the Tamaki Village was the highlight of our trip, I came away with goosebumps.

It seems almost impossible to believe that until the 1950s the Maoris were not able to speak their language nor enjoy their own culture, all that changed when the first Maori was elected to the New Zealand parliament. New Zealand is a better place thanks to that man.

Our own Aborigines could learn a lesson from the Maori who have taken their culture and gifted it to the world, they are a proud and gentle people. In all my years living in the country of my birth I am yet to meet an Aborigine who displayed the same sense of pride in their culture.

The Australian government could learn a lesson from across the “ditch” as well, there is zero unemployment in Auckland, and the statistics are very low in the rest of the country as they seek off shore workers due to a labour shortage.

If Brian and I could relocate our family to New Zealand we would.

Sun Princess Cruise to New Zealand

It is now just six days since Brian and I arrived home from our 13 day New Zealand cruise aboard the Sun Princess, but already it seems like a dream. This is the first in a series of blogs I intend to write in order to share our experience with you all.

Day one was a bit of a nightmare, we flew to Sydney expecting to go straight to the ship, however on the previous cruise there had been an influenza outbreak which meant the entire ship had to be fumigated, which in turn meant we would be boarding much later than planned. We were shuffled off to the Novotel like cattle and left to spend the day wondering if our holiday would ever begin. I must say this day was handled very badly by the staff of the cruise line.

Late in the afternoon we were allowed to board so were shuttled dockside, once we arrived things went fairly smoothly and before we knew it we were in our cabin unpacking. The cabin was a reasonable size and quite comfortable, although we did not have a balcony we had a very large window so we got plenty of natural light. There were a lot of very large people on the boat and one cannot help but wonder just how they negotiated the very small toilet and shower, I suspect they would have to reverse in as they would never be able to turn around. Oops, was that out loud!

The first night I slept like a baby but the next two nights were a bit rough, and although neither Brian nor I had any seasickness the constant turbulence was not conducive to a good night’s sleep, I was starting to get grumpy and I was very bored.

By the time we landed at our first port in New Zealand I was grateful for something solid underfoot, those first few days on board were not a joy and I was ready to go home until I saw New Zealand, but more on that in my next blog.

By the time we were on our way home I knew my way around the boat and I was much more comfortable with the whole cruise experience, I spent many pleasant hours reading on deck. Brian and I have decided to do another so we will see how I feel after that.

On board we met some lovely people, in particular the gang in the Regency Dining Room, Table 123, in the limited time we had together we became quite good friends and I hope we can all stay in touch. I also finally got to see The Jersey Boys at the theatre, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I also saw Noah with Russell Crowe, and Grace with Nicole Kidman, I will be forever thankful I did not have to pay to see those, four hours of my life I can never get back.

The staff on board were wonderful, over 100 different nationalities, and although the accents were a little difficult at times we soon got used to our favourite staff. Allan was our Head Waiter at dinner, nothing was too much trouble, a lovely young man to whom I would give a job any time, he was assisted by Ade our Junior Waiter. William was our Cabin Steward, he did an adequate job but did not really go the extra mile. Ronaldo, our favourite Drinks Waiter, was another young man who gave us excellent service. We actually became quite fond of Allan and Ronaldo and will miss them.

The food on board was simply amazing, I tried lots of things I would not normally eat, souffle, eel, pheasant, wasabi ice-cream, sorbet, but I still could not bring myself to try escargot. I also drank more than I have in years, a different cocktail every night with dinner, but I remained tidy.

We were quite sad on the last night as we said goodbye to our new friends and the staff, and we look forward to seeing them in the future. As for New Zealand itself, well you will just have to read the next installment, suffice to say, we love New Zealand.

Thoughts of a middle aged man…..8 March 2014

I read the other day that the Maori King has declined to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst they are in New Zealand next month, well who even knew there was a Maori King until now. Apparently a 90 minute meeting does not allow sufficient time for the appropriate protocols. Would you not think that a meeting with the future King and Queen of Great Britain would be such an honour that you would not refuse the request, I would think the publicity this meeting would have generated would have far outweighed any lapse in protocol.

I wonder just how many people outside of New Zealand even know there is a Maori King, unless you are an expat New Zealander of course. His Majesty will now forever be known to the rest of the world as the King that snubbed the British Royal Family, this would have been his time to shine.

I have just heard about the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, my heart goes out to all those affected by this tragedy.