After an agonising day of waiting Peters announced he would support
Labour because the global environment was undergoing rapid and seismic
change, and he believed a Labour government was best-placed to handle
the social and economic welfare of New Zealanders.
Via The Atlantic (full story here)...
When humans first settled in New Zealand in the 13th century, they found
a wonderland of strange creatures—including a green, bumbling parrot
with the face of an owl and the mien of an old gentleman. That was the
kakapo—the world’s largest parrot, and its only flightless one. It had a
set of endearing traits—a disc of whisker-like facial feathers, a
ponderous slow-motion gait, and a habit of awkwardly climbing trees with
its beak and large wings—that made it easy to love. It also had a set
of unfortunate traits—an inability to fly, a naïveté toward danger, a
distinctive earthy smell, and a habit of freezing when threatened—that
make it easy to kill.
...the kakapo—once thought extinct—is one of the most thoroughly studied
animals on the planet. Every single one of the last 153 kakapos on the
planet is known to researchers. Every one carries a radio transmitter,
so scientists know its position, as well as its movements and sex life.
Well, that was a lot of flying. 17 hours plus three in LA between flights, enough time to look up from my seat in the waiting area and see a guy across from me wearing a red Make America Great Again hoodie.
And then I wondered: am I jetlagged or did I read that the US president threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans?
Rocko is the Springer spaniel who ran the motel (at least he thought he did) in Waiomu, where we stayed our last night in NZ. Hard to believe that was only yesterday. We hit the road toward Auckland around 11 and dropped the trusty Rover with Selwyn and Rawyn before having lunch with them near the airport. One last piece of NZ fish, this time tarakihi.
That fish didn't hold me for 20 hours, despite a decent effort on the airlines' part to feed us. When we arrived home just before 10 pm last night we weren't hungry, but after attempting sleep for 3.5 hours with no luck, I finally realized in the middle of the night that I was famished.
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to a group for their discoveries of the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms. I spent the hours between midnight and 3 am pondering the power of the biological clock (ours was certain it was seven hours earlier).
The biological clock is involved in many aspects of our complex physiology. We now know
that all multicellular organisms, including humans, utilize a similar
mechanism to control circadian rhythms. A large proportion of our genes
are regulated by the biological clock and, consequently, a carefully
calibrated circadian rhythm adapts our physiology to the different
phases of the day. Since the
seminal discoveries by the three laureates, circadian biology has
developed into a vast and highly dynamic research field, with
implications for our health and well-being.
On the last NZ newsstand we glimpsed, a chilling headline. These two were engaged in NZ, she murdered in the Las Vegas massacre.
Our arrival home was a bountiful one, with piles of produce and snacks and a fridge stocked with homemade soups and cleaned French breakfast radishes and cheese and salmon. We are very lucky indeed to have friends who are like family and family who are friends. Thank you all for helping us ease back into...breakfast salmon.
Click here and scroll down to hear the Maori pronunciation of "goodbye."
Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud and the cleanest air I've ever inhaled. Seven months to the day, Oct 4, and I could start another seven tomorrow. We're deeply grateful for the chance to live here so long, but today our goodbyes are keenly felt.
Behind each photo are a dozen Kiwis who were kind to us, extending friendship, concern, and good humor (and asking us how the US could have elected such a racist putz).
Which is to say Kiwis feel like a people apart. It's not that we don't know and love good-hearted people in the US--there's you, after all--but in NZ, ranked the second safest country in the world, people outside of major cities don't even lock their doors.
There's a pervasive sense that Kiwis know how to live the best possible life. Is it inherent in the culture? We will never forget the generosity of spirit extended to us every day. Or the approximately 900 flat whites we sipped in the exquisite landscapes of this country.
4816 miles later, a look back. Some stops were like re-visiting old friends, others new to us. Here are a few of our favorite things...
Auckland, City of Sails
Fish, god the fish
2015 friend Selwyn, who keeps the Rover for us
Surf town Raglan, on the west coast of the North Island
New friends Hannah and Logan, his six-month campervan healing journey a success