Sunday, January 12, 2014

4 January 2014: Te Papa and Picton

Today was a big day, as we visited the marvelous national museum, Te Papa, and rode the enormous ferry, the Interislander, from Wellington to Picton in the evening.  We had some angst once we arrived in Picton, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Te Papa is a museum with stunning displays and beautiful artistry.  The foci of today’s trip was on the geology of New Zealand, including the origin and potential danger of earthquakes in New Zealand, and the Treaty of Waitangi, the document written by British colonists and signed by Maori chiefs that amounted to the chiefs signing-away their privileges to Queen Victoria in the 1800s.  In addition to these two items, the students learned about the means by which the early Maori (Polynesians that arrived around 1000 A.D. in New Zealand) traveled the South Pacific and the types of adaptations plants in New Zealand have.  Several hours in the museum was enough for the students and then it was out to do some exploring of Wellington.  The last few hours on the North Island were spent shopping and grabbing a bite to eat…and for me, the reading of the first week’s-worth of journal entries written by the students.

In the evening, we caught the Interislander ferry to Picton, which proved to be a relatively benign trip given the relatively high winds that blew across the area this evening.  Unfortunately, our luck didn’t extend to our brief time in Picton.  Allow me to elaborate…

After landing in Picton, I walked to the Rental Car New Zealand site and learned that our rental van (only 339,000 km on it!) did not have a trailer!  So, our students spent the brief car ride from the ferry terminal to the hostel with their 30-40lb backpacks sitting on their laps!  Then, once we arrived at the hostel, we were without keys to get in!  Another visitor to the hostel was kind enough to tell me where our keys were hidden, but the surprises weren’t through yet!  Upon entering the hostel, our students determined that one of the rooms, which was to house 4 men, was already filled with 4 people!  Yikes!  So, at 1am, our women settled into their room, a room housing 3 of our men took two more who slept on the floor, and myself and Dr. Moran slept on the floor so two of our male students could have beds.  It was a crazy evening…

Our group in front of Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand.

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