Wrapping up

Our last NZ days have been spent in Christchurch and we have had time to reflect on what we have  seen and experienced during the past 44 days amongst the Kiwis. We have slept in 26 different hotels or BnBs and have been transported by aircraft, motor yacht, jet boat, steamboat, coach, public bus, private vehicle, bicycle and by foot. During our stays at the many places we have met so many welcoming, friendly, relaxed and considerate New Zealanders who just love their country and are proud to show it to interested foreigners like us.
Nature is grand in all aspects on the South Island. Here are alpine mountains with glaciers and tall peaks, wild rainforests with strange-looking fern trees, a most peculiar native flora and fauna, hot springs and earthquakes, big turquoise lakes and rivers, millions and millions of sheep and cattle on countless bright green pastures, – and all these elements are framed by the blue Pacific Ocean to the east and the blue Tasman Sea to the west.

Thank you so much to Anne and Richard, our friends in Hanmer Springs, for being so great representatives of Kiwi hospitality and friendliness, – and thanks to all other Kiwis we have met.

A kaleidoscopic small selection from some of our experiences on the South Island
For details you are referred to the specific blog entries.

Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs
Rainbow Road and NE Coast
Rainbow Road and NE Coast
Mount Cook
Hanmer Springs
Castle Hill
Castle Hill

Taiaroa Head
Taiaroa Head
Central Otago
Central Otago

Click this link to view my Google album with all NZ photos



Today we encountered being elevated in various ways.
At the half-way restored Christ College we visited the Great Hall ...
... and elevated our eyes and minds while taking in the huge Memorial Window depicting service of humanity by action and thought.
At the top: Virgin Mary, and at the bottom in mid section: Robert Scott (with ski pole) and James Cook. All the others are also loyal subjects of the British Empire.
To further elevate our minds in relation to creative arts we paid a free visit to the steel-and-glass construction called "Christchurch Art Gallery" or  "Te Puna o Waiwhetuu" if you'd prefer Mauri.
Evelyn Page, 1942: Road through Arrowtown.
We were happy to again see places we have been and landscapes we have experienced.
Rata Lowell Smith, 1933: Hawkins.
Colin McCahon, 1951: Canterbury Plains.
Eileen Mayo, 1971: Chief Post Office at Cathedral Square.
Eileen Mayo, 1983: Springing Fern.
Rita Angus, 1936: Cass.
The elevated meaning behind the light-sword-pierced chairs hanging from the ceiling eluded me ...
... as did the extensive collection of heads by "headmistress" Julia Morison.
After this inning we needed an outing and fresh air.
We therefore ascended in elevation by use of a gondola ...
... and arrived at the very top of Port Hills between Christchurch and its port at Lyttleton.
View over Lyttleton towards Banks Peninsula.
From the summit at 445 m above sea level the views in all directions were phenomenal, especially on a day like this.
View towards Christchurch and the beach at New Brighton.
About 200 km to the north, beyond Kairoura, we could make out the snow-clad mountain of Tapuae-o-Uenuku, the highest peak in the northeast of the South Island; 2,885 metres.
Most of these destinations were beyond today's horizon.
But just as we were about to return to downtown a truck passed us carrying two MAERSK containers. – Maybe a greeting from good old Copenhagen (Maersk is a Danish-owned and -based company with HQ in Copenhagen).
. . .
Tomorrow will be our last full day among the Kiwis.


Coolest places in town

We arrived in CHCH yesterday and had the rest of the day off (it was after all a Sunday).
We strolled around a bit in downtown Christchurch and were again amazed of just how much was destroyed by the quakes 8 years ago and how much has been demolished, cleared, repaired, rebuilt and constructed. It is a long-term ongoing process.
New and quake-proof buildings mix with old to-be-repaired ones.
Container-based businesses are excellent space-fillers in the many lots with no buildings.
Pieces of art are another good space-filler in the townscape.
Carpark buildings have been constructed in excessive numbers post-quake, apparently due to a lack of coordination among investors.
Across-the-street arcade game done with a giant joystick operated by any by-passer.
Typical Kiwi: Sewer cleaning in no-nonsense language. 
Today has been yet another melting hot late summer day and we thought it fit to visit a cool place.
New Zealand has for centuries played an important role in Antarctic exploration and science. 
For the past 60 years Christchurch has been the main gateway to Antarctica for deploying researchers from the US, Italy and New Zealand.
Swedish tracked vehicles are essential for surface transportation in Antarctica.
Although I am done with the cold Polar regions it was interesting to see the fine educational exhibits about Antarctica and the way researchers survive on that frigid continent. Indeed, I met the very tent model (at right in photo) in which I spent my first cold (-42ªC) winter night in NE Greenland almost exactly 46 years ago.
And my good old Swedish friend, the Optimus primus, was also on display! – with this text provided: "The light, portable and very reliable primus stove, invented in 1892, made long distance polar travel possible. More modern gas stoves are not as reliable and your stove needs to be reliable if you are to survive". – That is absolutely correct.
Once again, New Zealand's own home-grown Blue Penguin, was displayed in a fairly respectable penguinarium.
The BP is the smallest of all penguin species ...
... and it fits easily inside the mighty jaws of the Leopard Seal, king of penguin predators.
. . .
Tomorrow, we plan to become elevated.