Kia ora! The semester is moving speedily along, and students are already starting up their first week of God and Nature class, and just enjoyed a fun weekend away from the covent with their homestay families. There’s almost too much happening to keep up! For this blog post I recruited Tiffany, a senior from Houghton College and avid photographer, to share some photos and thoughts from our fieldtrip to Wellington for our Sustainable Community Development class. Enjoy!
After being in New Zealand for a month now, I think most of us caught on to the swing of things around here. After reading week and Te Reo class, we were on our way to
Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. We drove up to Picton, where we hopped on the fairy for a 3.5 hour ride to Wellington. Excitement about going on a ferry for the first time lasted only a few minutes, as the winds and waves were pretty bad that most people got seasick… But then we arrived in beautiful Wellington. The first few nights, we slept at Te Kakano Marae, slumber party style!!
On Monday, we roamed around the Te Papa museum, seeing a skeleton of a giant squid, a life-sized blue whale’s heart (it was taller than me!!), and a WWI exhibit (the statues of war men looked so so real!). We also toured the Parliament building (known as the beehive due to its shape) and had a bit of time to explore the city (with our rain jackets zipped up).
On Tuesday, we started the morning doing a boxing workout with Billy Graham (a famous NZ boxer). Later, we met with the urban design manager for the Hutt City Council and heard their long-term plans on how to create a more sustainable community. Then, we put on our hiking boots and headed to the wetland walk (the rain made it extra wet!), where we saw many different trees and birds!
Billy Graham’s gym, where we worked out for the morning!
Walking around puddles on the wetlands walk
Zealandia (basically a wild zoo for birds) was our first stop on Wednesday, and for many of us it was our favorite! We saw tons of unique birds, including the tui, saddleback, kaka, pied shag, and takahe. Many of us were on the lookout for the giant Moas (just kidding… they are extinct). In the afternoon, we loaded up the vans and were on our way to Ngatiawa, a community tucked away in the country.
Looking for birds in the trees at Zealandia
The kaka bird drinking from his feeder
The takehe bird
On Thursday morning, we volunteered to wash windows, organize the kitchen cupboards, and fixed in potholes on the stone driveway. After a morning of hard work, we fed the lambs, saw llamas, and bonded with the community before we drove to a family’s home to learn about why they chose to live in voluntary poverty in order to try and save the environment.
We met with L’Arche on Friday morning, which is a community organization for those with mental disabilities. Then, we headed back to the city for our last night with some free time. Half of the group hiked to an outlook point and saw the botanical gardens, and the other half of us walked around the city, shopped, and went to the night market to eat great food and listen to live music!
Us with the L’Arche community in Ngatiawa
Overall, we learned much about sustainable community development during out week in Wellington and how to love people, places, and the planet!!