I arrived safely and soundly in Auckland, NZ on Thursday morning, local time. Since then I’ve been staying with a wonderful Kiwi family I know through Gretchen Haughey, a friend from UVa.
Auckland is the LA of New Zealand. It’s big, spread out, and the rest of the country snubs its noses at it. But I’ve found it to be fun and hospitable, to say the least–a decent place to decompress before embarking on my effort to see the rest of the country.
The coolest thing I’ve seen so far is this:
There’s a park here called One Tree Hill. Tragic story. It’s the site of an old Maori pa, a fortified encampment on which a single huge radiata pine stood until a disgruntled Maori took a chainsaw to it. (Bono wrote a song that appears on U2’s album The Joshua Tree about a deceased Kiwi friend of his.) But all over this public park are free-roaming sheep. Kevin, the familial patriarch of the family hosting me, says the city hires shepherds to tend to these sheep.
Three cheers for multi-use public spaces!