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my mind is all about aotearoa, fresh from the recent visit. and the sudden withdrawal from it all, only fortifies the feeling.

first asked what i like most about this country: i dunno, it’s the cloud really, long white fluffy and fickle.

we took happy snaps on the magic bus, counting al pacas, sheep, cattles and more sheep. why it all makes sense someone has invented the game “hey cow”. (instructions: you yell “hey cow” and count how many moo-heads turn your way. win by outnumbering your opponent, or out-hoarsing the voice.)

there were many magical landscapes too – bubbling lava pools, geysers, rolling hills of the hobbiton, literally, giant mountains and craters in the clouds, grassy slopes where deer and doe dwell, lapping shore and rock coasts where seals laze about suntanning…

it’s also about the people, who say “sweet-as” a lot you don’t feel offended, but rather tempted to say so too. people who are easy about the weather and the landscape, loving their country, with a bit of dark humour and banters.

people who respect all cultures and eccentricities, who acknowledge the past, live in the present, and work for the future.

the maori who taught us stories and values, not unlike ours, but how they treasure and sustain them, gives me a whole new perspective of where you stand.

the new zealand experience, to sum it up, is like the first encounter with a maori warrior. it’s mesmerising and puzzling, but you have to take the challenge bold and brave.

once you’ve proven yourself worthy, with a hongi – the ceremonial greeting by touching noses – you get to share a breath of life with this country, her people, and her stories.

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photo taken on lake taupo, new zealand.

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