Saturday, 2 July 2016

South to North

Written by: Calvin Poznik

The last few days have been filled with endless and exciting amounts of traveling with our awesome bus driver Stacey, listening to good music, and learning more about New Zealand and the many different hazards from Mitch (our professor).

Before we left Christchurch we stopped at the Canterbury region emergency management office. James, Jessica, and Monica gave some great lectures about earthquake preparedness in the Canterbury region, community resilience, and also different planning procedures.  We ate lunch and then hopped on the bus with Stacey and took off for Kaikoura for the night.

We left Kaikoura at 5:15 a.m. to check out some baby seals.  They get dropped off at this waterfall by the mothers and they learn many of their seal skills while they're here. After this we drove all the way to Picton to catch the Interislander Ferry to take us from the South Island onto the North Island.  It was about a three hour ferry ride but there were some stunning views on the way.

We arrived in Wellington and most of us instantly fell in love with the coolest little capital in the world (it is also the most southerly capital in the world).  Mitch had some site visits set up for us so we headed over to the Parliament building for our first one.  We headed down into the bunker of the "bee hive" which is still the parliament building, it just looks like a beehive from the outside. Inside the bunker was the National Crisis Management Center.  This is where the different departments such a fire, police, and ministry of Heath plus more meet and work together during a national level disaster.  The longest they had been open was for 67 days straight during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.  The last time they opened up was
for the Valentine's Day earthquake this year (no casualties for this one).  Once we finished up our tour of the parliament building we headed over to WREMO.  The Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office is more of a local approach to dealing with disaster and risk in the Wellington Community. After this we toured a little bit of the city and grabbed some grub then went back to our hostel and went to bed.

We woke up bright and early and headed out to lake Taupo. Mitch's boss, Dave met up with us and joined us on our journey.  He pointed out many different cool things and really helped us understand more of the New Zealand landscape and hazards. It was about a 5 hour drive from Wellington but once we arrived the drive proved to be worth it.  Stacey our driver is Maori and Irish so she has been teaching us more about the Maori culture.  The Maori people were the first to discover New Zealand and then the British colonies found the country after them.  Lake Taupo is a very sacred and spiritual place for the Maori people for many different reason.  I could write a novel on why so if you're really interested in learning more about it just do a quick Google search.

  Stacey took us to the Waikato river and the geothermal pools that run into the river.  It is winter time over here in New Zealand but we decided to take a dip into the geothermal pools.  We also made a pact with Stacey that we would jump into the freezing cold River after we went into the geo thermal pools.  It was quite ballsy but if we broke out pact with Stacey she said she would leave us there haha.  It was very cold but it was worth it and also pretty good for your joints and other joint pain.  Once the sun started to set we headed back to the hostel to change and get ready for dinner at Stacey's favorite place in Taupo.  It was called Lakehouse and we ate some stone grilled food which was amazing.  After dinner we were quite tired from traveling al day long so most of us were out pretty early.

The next morning we woke up at 7 and headed to the Waimangu Geyser park to check out the different Geysers and hear some stories of when it last erupted in 1904.
We finished up at the park and now I am currently on the bus eating pasta out of a bag writing this blog on my phone.  I surpassed Jana for the captains chair next to Stacey and I have taken over the aux cord and they are now referring to me as Dj CalPoz. We're heading too Auckland for a few days so I will update y'all again soon. Peace.

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