I was asked today what makes New Zealand so special. The answer is kind of complicated, but it begins with a dear friend that doesn’t mind me there for five weeks at a time (if she needs a sedative, she’s never mentioned it. If she’d like to give me a few, she’s refrained), and the very first thing I look forward to seeing once I’m off the flight is the women’s bathroom. The second (once customs declares that I am safe) is seeing my dear friend.
She shows me interesting birds, takes me too zoos (and is still kind enough to bring me home with her!), and takes me to beaches.
I’ve learned that when a Kiwi asks to ‘go away’ I should pack for one – possibly two nights (that’s one I’m still teased – justifiably – over.) we were to be gone two days and I brought only a toy. No chargers or clothing 😳
The plants with various color shades, sizes, and shapes can occupy me for hours. Walks around the block can feel like an expansive garden as birds flit here and there! And, you haven’t seen Auckland until you’ve done the sky jump or eaten at an awesome restaurant that moves so you can see most of Auckland from on high.
There are museums, trail riding, tramps galore (walking trails, all, walking trails!), and boats with glass bottoms enabling passengers to see life below. New Zealand has come a long way from destroying their forests, to now revitalizing them.
The waterfalls of New Zealand are breathtaking beauties as are the braided rivers, and small streams. The water is so clear!
People on beaches are surprisingly friendly, and even while I was wearing five cameras, I felt like I fit right in, although some people wanted a photo of me and my digital treasures.
The sun can get you, though! Bad burns pack a punch at night!
There are jellyfish, and I even stumbled across a shark! Every day is an adventure – I seem to attract them: lost guides, freak snow storms, the occasional cyclone (that must be filmed), and storms that surprise passengers while stalking dolphins in a boat.
So, you see, New Zealand isn’t about just one aspect. Well, on second thought, it is.
It is about love. The love of my friend, the love of thrills, the love of beauty, and the love of visiting new places while trying new activities.
New Zealand has much to teach the rest of the world if we’d only listen. We all could make great strides in cleaning up the environment and saving plants and critters if we would follow the conservation examples they are setting. The countries number one resource is Agriculture. Everything depends on the land, so they are conscience of good conservation practices.
I am goofy, and I love fun, but I also have respect for the Kiwis who do all they can to preserve what they have.
Written by: Kathy Meader
Kathy Meader has a Masters in Fine Arts in Writing. She earned her MFA in writing, but she is self-taught in photography. When Kathy was younger, you had to drag her outdoors. Now you have to drag her indoors!
She doesn’t see animals mean or nice. They are animals and loves them. She’s aware they can be unpredictable, but then, so are humans. When out stalking animals with her camera, she knows she is a guest in their habitat.
Her unique experience was of a bull moose running interference between her and a cougar. From Kathy: “I don’t begrudge the wild cat. In order for it to set its eyes on me, it had to be old, sick, or injured. I was lucky the moose
chased it off. I’m also the only one that I know of that had a wild cow moose rest her head on my shoulder. I never heard her behind me as I was focused on the coyote in front of me. I am blessed to see animals up close and personal,
and it brings me such joy to share my finds and captures with people who might never see them otherwise. I don’t fear the animals. I do fear the humans because at least wild animals give you signs and signals if they are uncomfortable.
Heaven can be a place on earth; I know this because when I run into a mama nuzzling her babe, I realize we aren’t so different from the creatures that bring me joy. The common denominator is called love – love for a babe that transcends across both generations and species.”
I hope you enjoy her writing and her photographs!