Tag Archives: New Zealand

Finding my Pepeha in New Zealand

The ceremony was supposed to be a homecoming, but I felt oddly foreign. Alex and I took our places atop Mt. Eden in Auckland, New Zealand, an extinct volcano the indigenous Maori consider tapu, or sacred and untouchable. Across from us stood Tracey and Tom, descendants of the Maori chiefs who founded the city.

Kia ora,” began Tracey, “We will now formally welcome you home to New Zealand according to formal Maori protocol.”

Our father is from New Zealand and we are full citizens. We’ve always considered New Zealand to be our distant homeland, but I’ve never lived there and never felt very Kiwi. Neither are we Maori. We are descendants of Pākehā, or European New Zealanders, and I was acutely aware that we now stood on land historically belonging to Tracey’s tribe.

“First,” he continued, “we will acknowledge the creator. Then we will bless you – our visitors – acknowledge your ancestors, and introduce them to our ancestors, who walk alongside us at all times.”

According to custom, strangers cannot enter tribal land without blessings, formal introductions, statements of intent and asking permission in the form of a song and a poem. It is a tradition originating from when New Zealand was divided amongst hundreds of warring tribes and travelers could not casually walk across the country without risking trouble.

These days, such a formal host/visitor relationship is an increasingly antiquated concept in our globalized world of vanishing borders. But to me it represented a chance to formally reconnect with my kiwi ancestry, a chance to be welcomed not just into this particular place, but into the other half of my heritage.

Continue reading on MSN Travel UK

 

 

 

North Island NZ: The Grand Kiwi Finale!

For the final episode of BBBTV we explore the North Island of New Zealand: sailing an America’s Cup yacht in Auckland, learning about the natural and cultural origins of New Zealand in Rotorua, and sipping craft beer on the vibrant streets of Wellington.  Sweet as, mate.

My Destination North Island: My Destination Wellington, My Destination Auckland, My Destination Rotorua.

Wellington: Megisti Sailing, Museum Hotel, Weta Cave, Zealandia, Wellington Cable Car, and Brady Dyer Photography.
Rotorua: Four Canoes Hostel, Tamaki Maori Village, Wai-O-Tapu, Polynesian Spa, and Hobbiton.
Auckland: SkyJump, Explore Group (America’s Cup Racing), and Tamaki Hikoi (Maori Cultural Guides),

And, as always, credit for the final rap goes to our buddy, Stevie B of Higher Minds.

North Island NZ: Behind the Scenes (Episode 23)

In the final episode of BBBTV we reconnect with our father’s home country – New Zealand – where we race America’s Cup yachts, learn about Maori culture, and explore the real-life Shire!  Tune in for a recap of the last six months, some final thoughts and a big announcement.

My Destination North Island: My Destination Wellington, My Destination Auckland, My Destination Rotorua.
Wellington: Megisti Sailing, Museum Hotel, Weta Cave, Zealandia, Wellington Cable Car, and Brady Dyer Photography.
Rotorua: Four Canoes Hostel, Tamaki Maori Village, Wai-O-Tapu, Polynesian Spa, and Hobbiton.
Auckland: SkyJump, Explore Group (America’s Cup Racing), Tamaki Hikoi (Maori Cultural Guides),
And, as always, credit for the final rap goes to our buddy, Stevie B of Higher Minds.

Facing the Fear in Queenstown

Mark faces his fear of heights in the open door of an airplane at 15,000 feet.  Appeared on MSN Travel UK on 19 Jan, 2014.

The plane leveled out at 12,000 feet above Queenstown, New Zealand.  I straightened up and looked out the window to my left.  The deep blue of Lake Wakatipu snaked through the Southern Alps, the outline of New Zealand’s adventure capital reduced to just a few small houses in one corner of the lake.

The jump master threw open the door and the cabin pressure dropped.  A green light began flashing. To my right, the line of first-time skydivers was sucked out of the plane with their instructors strapped to their backs.  Out the window I saw them hurtling towards the earth at 200 km per hour – terminal velocity.

Then the door was closed, leaving just me with my brother Alex and our dive instructors.  The plane nosed sharply upwards, climbing towards 15,000 feet.  I tried to remain calm, but somewhere in the crevasses of my mind lurked was a primordial, instinctual aversion to what I was about to do.

From behind me, I felt my instructor tap my shoulder and pass something forward– a thin tube of oxygen, perhaps to calm my nerves.  I put the tube between my lips, breathed deeply, and prayed that the parachute was packed correctly.

Read the full story at MSN Travel UK

Queenstown: Parachutes, Propellers and Panoramic Views!

Queenstown, New Zealand is the birthplace of bungee jumping and jet-boating and an gorgeous destination for adrenaline-seekers.  We soaked up the scenery the best way possible: by rocketing down a river at 85/km per hour, jumping 134m off Nevis Bungee, and sky-diving at 15,000 feet over the Southern Alps.

Thank you so much to everyone who made our stay possible: My Destination QueenstownVilla Del LagoShotover JetAJ Hackett Bungy: Nevis BungyNZONE SkydiveAmisfield WineryGlacier Southern Lake HelicoptersMt NIC High Country ExperienceSouthern DiscoveriesSkyline GondolaMore FM QueenstownTracy Roxburgh from Otago Daily Times.

Queenstown: Behind the Scenes (Episode 22)

We travel to Queenstown, New Zealand, the birthplace of adrenaline sports, to conquer the last of our fears: by rocketing down a river at 85/km per hour, jumping 134m off Nevis Bungee, and sky-diving at 15,000 feet over the Southern Alps.  Epic.