Dec 2, 2008

My Kiwi Adventure Comes to a Close

West Coast Jungle

I'm sad to say it, but my time in New Zealand has come to an end. Looking back on my four months in Aotearoa I can't believe that I managed to shoot more than 20 hours of film footage, complete many interviews, and meet with dozens and dozens of Kiwis interested in sustainable fisheries. It's been a whirlwind tour across both islands from the glaciers and fjords of the South Island to the rainforests and volcanoes of the North Island and I'm a little tired just thinking about it.

The Road South to Otago

It's a bit crazy to think but the last 3o days have seen more traveling than the first three months combined. After saying goodbye to my wonderful host family in Christchurch where I spent a good portion of my time on the South Island I headed down the Otago coast and crossed the Southern Alps picking up the last of my footage in Dunedin, Queenstown, and the West Coast. I was met with a barrage of rain, snow, and wind during my brief few stint through these very southern parts, even though it was spring and the flora and fauna were in full bloom. After passing through the coastal city of Greymouth towards the north end of the West Coast I returned again to Nelson where I conducted a few last minute interviews and meetings with my remaining interested parties. Luckily, the day before my ferry to Wellington, the sun finally came out and I was able to take a brief jaunt to the world renowned Abel Tasman National Park where I caught a few fish for dinner and took a much needed nap on a golden sand beach. During my few days in Nelson, I was also blessed to run into my closest friends from Christchurch would happened to be traveling through as well. We built a fire on the beach and watched as the tide slowly washed it away before saying our goodbyes.

Good Friends

My ferry ride across the Cook Strait was uneventful and aside from an interview and meeting with the Seafood Industry Council and NIWA, I barely lingered in Wellington. After leaving the perimeter of the city and headed back towards the West Coast, I was again greeted by torrential rainfall and for the next few days I lived a very wet and miserable existence plagued by more mosquitoes than I ever thought existed. Eventually I found my way to the Coromandel Peninsula towards the tip of the North Island where I met with a Bowdoin couple and filmed a bit more footage. After sitting in my own personal saltwater hot-tub at Hotwater beach (a geothermally heated beach) I finally I arrived in Raglan and was afforded a chance to unpack my bags, wash my clothes, and empty the sand out of my shoes.

As I finish this last post from New Zealand my mind is already wandering back to the breathtaking vistas I filmed and hospitable Kiwis I met. From a friendly fisherman at Opito Beach who offered me a fresh fish he had just caught to all the roadside fruit and honey vendors who were always happy to chat about anything, I have to say I've never met a more friendly or laid-back group of people. And remembering the mountain peaks, glacier-fed rivers, golden beaches, waterfalls, and lush rainforests, its possible I've not seen a more beautiful landscape in all my life. Sure, it hasn't all been a breeze, I've broken camera gear, lost footage, twisted ankles, and ruined more clothing that I thought possible. But despite these few bumps, the road through New Zealand has changed my life for the better and left me with memories that I'll never forget.

West Coast Fox Glacier

So, my dearest friends and family, as the holiday preparations begin back home, I'm heading off on a new adventure, to the tropical islands of Samoa. Chances are I'll be decorating a palm tree with coconuts this Christmas instead of a pine tree! I miss you all and will be sure to write again soon. In the meantime I wish you all a very happy holidays.