My Kiwi-land Tour Part IV
Any trip to New Zealand would not be complete without mentioning something about the native people of these two islands – the Maoris.
The native people settled in the island-nation now known as New Zealand about 1,000 to 1,500 AD. Fast forward to this century and we find that the Maori in year 2010 comprise about 15% of the New Zealand population. Maori is an official language in New Zealand and there are many signs, symbols, and sayings that are quite foreign to tourists from the U.S., Asia, the European Union countries, the UK., and even New Zealand’s sister nation – Australia. The NZ Maoris have their own radio and TV stations as well as Maori newspapers and magazines in their native language. Some public schools in this country even teach non-Maoris the Maori language in the hope that it will stay active in the 21st Century.
I’ve even found out that some of the Kiwi’s here, people who have been here for many decades, still greet one another, and us tourists too, in Maori. They say: Haere mai! (welcome!), Kia Ora (hello, good luck), or Haere ra (goodbye).
Some of the more astute business people, who deal in telephone communication, even market some of their products using traditional Maori words. If you go to a grocery store and ask for a Kia Ora card they will sell you a pre-paid pay-telephone card that works in any pay telephone in the country. And, unlike the U.S., pay telephone booths are everywhere! Yes, they do have cell phones too but they are expensive here. Besides a NZ$5 Kai Ora card allows you to call anywhere in the nation for a mere 70 cents a call and you can talk as long as you desire! Neat!!
As a result of centuries of Maori existence in New Zealand, they have, by law, substantial political representation in the direction that the nation of New Zealand goes. That is one big reason New Zealand is sooooo anti-nuclear. They are totally against nuclear power for electric power plants, war ships, and weapons of any kind.
I find some of the names of towns and villages interesting but hard to pronounce, especially using the Kiwi intonations! Like the towns of Punakaki, Hokitita, Takaka, Rotorua, and Whangarei.
And the ever present British English names for some of New Zealand’s place names are interesting. Like Dunedin, New Plymouth, Christchurch, Queenstown, and Duntroon. Plus, those places all have microbreweries in their towns!
Finally here are some of my end-of-my-motorcycle-tour impressions of New Zealand:
NZ is a GREAT place to ride, especially in the summer time here (our winter time in the Northern Hemisphere).
You better be good at riding curves, for even the “major” state highway systems are two lane roads with turns posted from 25 to 85 km/hr speed recommendations.
I’ve never seen so many one-lane bridges – hundreds (and the Kiwis hate them!).
Gasoline is expensive but not so bad if you are riding a 50-mpg motorcycle!
People, the Kiwi’s and fellow tourists, are very friendly, helpful, and go out of their way to help you. All you need to do is ask!
i-Sites (information centers) are everywhere and they are staffed with locals so then really know what is great to do, see, and they can book tours/events for tourists. Neat!
Bicyclists … they are everywhere! They ride those “push bikes”, as the Kiwis call them, all over the roads on this island and sometimes motorists and push-bike riders have confrontations.As Nike says …. JUST DO IT !! Vic Paladini in Kiwi-land!