Wednesday, 6 July 2016


Written by: Calvin Poznik
  Our first site visit of the day (July 2nd) was at a Geothermal Park that we walked through.  it was really interesting seeing all of the sulfur just rising up out of the park and it smelled like eggs.  Apparently it had erupted in 1905 and killed four tourists who were too close to the geothermal waters.  There were some really good views here and seeing the steaming water almost made you want to jump in since it was a cold winter morning here in New Zealand.

  After this we went to our second site visit with Clinton, at the Bay of Plenty Emergency Management office.  Clinton gave us a great talk about Maritime Disasters, change in communities, resilience, and vulnerabilities, as well as professionalism in Emergency Management.  He came to New Zealand from being a police officer in South Africa and he has great ideas to help create a more resilient community in the Bay of Plenty.  He also gave us coffee mugs so that was pretty neat.

  There was a Giant L&P bottle which we saw on our way to Auckland so we decided to take a picture by it.  L&P is a famous drink in New Zealand, kind of like sprite, but a little different flavor.

  We arrived in Auckland the other day and had to climb up a massive hill with all of our luggage to get to our hostel, and let me tell you some of us almost didn't make it.  Auckland is the largest city and has 32% of the whole population of New Zealand in it.  It also is on a massive volcanic field, but we try not to think about that one since they're supposedly not active at this moment.  Mitch set us up with two site visits this day, the first at the North Communications center with the Fire and Police, then with Richard Woods and he took us to the Auckland Museum. The North Com center was pretty neat to see how this huge city handles all of their emergency calls and sends out their firefighters/officers.  Policing over here is much different and they have much different gun laws than the USA. Officers have their guns locked in a lock box in their cars and only use them if they need to use deadly force. I understand that Americas population is much larger but there is definitely something to be learned by these different ways of police tactics and gun laws.  We learned more about the Maori culture from Stacey and Richard, as well as looking at an actual Marae. Marae's are a sacred house/meeting area for many people of the different Maori communities.  The Maori people are well known for providing for lots of their people on a short notice. We learned that they can be useful when it comes to providing shelter for people are a disaster. They also had a volcanic eruption simulator to show what would happen to Auckland if a volcano were to actually erupt. Pretty scary to see a whole city get decimated. We ended up going to Mount Eden, which was a beautiful view of the city of Auckland with a 360 degree view.  After Mount Eden Richard left and then we took a nice walk around the Auckland water front and went to a nice Thai restaurant (Mainly because they had super cheap beer for happy hour and because Augustina loves Thai food).  

We departed from Auckland and headed to the Northlands region of New Zealand.  The drive there was beautiful, and once we arrived Mitch had us set up to meet with the Northlands Emergency Management and Civil Defense team.  Victoria and her team gave us some lectures about risk reduction at the community level. Tourism in Emergency Management was another big topic that was talked about since tourism is one of New Zealand's largest imports of revenue (Especially in the Northlands).  We then headed to the Hopua Te Nihotetea Detention Dam, which helps with massive amounts of flooding that used to happen in this region.

After this site visit we drove to Paihia.  Stacy warned us that this was her favorite hostel of them all, and she once we arrived I could tell why.  The views from the kitchen were so amazing, looking over the water front and the Bay of Islands.  The day we arrived here it was July 4th in New Zealand, so like the true Yanks we are, we went out to happy hour and celebrated Americas independence day.  The bar tender was from New Zealand and kept calling us Yanks and then he started playing a bunch of America songs for us so it was quite funny.  We were the only Americans at the bar but everyone loved us.  They had some cool sayings on the wall so here is a picture of one that I snapped.

The next morning we had a site visit with the Far North District Council, Bill and Alastair took the lead on this one.  They covered Community emergency planning, Severe weather hazards for this region, local-regional response coordination, and Emergency Management Governance.  We went to an area that is known for flooding and they showed us their plans on how to try to mitigate this flooding and creating less of a risk to the people in these communities.
My computer is about to die and I am really tired, so I will finish writing tomorrow! Good night

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