• Sam Darling

Ode to Aotearoa

New Zealand has been good to us. It’s been a five-year vacation from the grime and absurd pace of New York City.


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I had to stop saying “That’s so pretty!” after the first few months because it was a constant refrain.


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Tramping in the beautiful South Island.


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Wide skies and endless landscapes.


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Clouds that cling–even to your feet as you walk to work in the morning. Aotearoa is said to be Māori for Land of the Long White Cloud.


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Tramping and horseback rides on the beach.


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Rainbows so commonplace we barely paused unless it was a triple rainbow.


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Cricket in the park.


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Finding evidence of a Māori pa on a volcanic cone in Auckland.


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Tree climbing and wine tasting on Waiheke Island.


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Local traditions for the holiday season like the Pavlova.


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Or Summertime Santa and his Surfing Elves.


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Admiring local wildlife at Kelly Tarlton’s.


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Hanging at the beach on a chilly (yeah, not really) winter’s day.


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The occasional harmless yet alarming weta finding their way indoors.


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The uniquely English-born love for quince paste.

I got this one in my CSA box and was confused and delighted.


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Soaking in hot pools in Rotorua.

Realizing that Hawai’i and New Zealand are culturally like cousins.


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Exploring the antipodean version of Lake Tahoe, Lake Taupo–the second largest freshwater lake in Oceania.


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Delighting in the Asian influence on downtown Auckland at the annual Lantern Festival.


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The friendly locals.


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To everyone in Aotearoa who made us feel welcome. Thank you! We lived in a place where the rare sound of a siren makes everyone stop and take notice and worry.

It was a privilege. And if you’re thinking of vacationing here, the flights are long but they’re worth it!

I’ll return to New Zealand. I didn’t memorize the national anthem in both languages to never sing it again.

Oh, and sure, why not? Home of the Rugby World Cup champions, The All Blacks.

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#Pavlovamagic #rainbows #hotpools #tramping #winetasting #Hawaii #LakeTaupo #Landofthelongwhitecloud #Rotorua #Santainsummer #volcaniccones #NewZealand #pavlova #Aotearoa #WaihekeIsland #travel #weta #quince #clouds #Auckland #AucklandLanternFestival #smallgaugetrain #MaoriNewZealandnationalanthem #FantailFalls #sharks #horsebackriding #NewZealandnationalanthem #Maoripa #aquarium #hiking #treeclimbing #cricket #Edmonds #KellyTarlton #SouthIsland

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