Completing the road trip south

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September 8th 2016
Published: December 13th 2017
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Geo: -41.2865, 174.776

We received a call from our hosts for Thursday and Friday at 7:45 am - leave asap, the main road from Taupo to Wellington is closed due to freaky weather!!! Uh Oh.
We headed out from this lovely apartment overlooking the lake-larger-than-Singapore and drove the same way south we had done to climb the giant volcanic mountains - because it was the road to the East that was closed. The so-called "desert road," probably because the wind sweeps over a plains. We did encounter some little squalls of rain, then snow, then tiny hails, but nothing out of the ordinary for Ohioans 😊
We came upon rolling hills, flat lands, lots of cows and sheep (we expected the sheep, but the cows are everywhere - black and white Friesians, sweet-eyed Jerseys and Guernseys, brown ones, even BELTED GALWAYS, Debbie!! like they have at the Hattie Larlham main campus in Mantua.
Nearing Wellington, some 6 hours later, counting ourselves very lucky with the weather, the wind picked up furiously - it's coming from the south. We found the marina where the ferry should take us to the South Island on Saturday - the ferries were bouncing around in the white caps. Oh dear.
The Te Papa Museum was incredible - we could only spend about 75-90 mins there. They have permanent exhibits and visiting ones - the latter a larger-than-real life display about Anzac troop involvement in WWI in Gallipoli. Very painful and amazing. It was done in Sir Peter Jackson's "Weka Caves" studios here in Wellilngton.
We couldn't take photos but it's findable on the net. Also fantastic permanent display of Maori war canoes and meeting houses, etc. What was VERY interesting was the answer to David's quick Q: are there similarities between languages of the Maori and Hawaiians? 15 mins later we had heard all about the theory of migration, Captain Cook's arrival, etc. Just one fact: the catamarans of the Polynesians could move 3x faster than any Western ship of its day. And another: ancient songs and poems contain details of stars, currents, etc. that can guide any decent mariner from island to island. For ex, there is a deep deep trench that runs N-S on the E side of NZ - that is where the whales travel (watch Whale Rider) and so forms a helpful navigational aid.
Our hosts are amazing: Mary Jo Mohlmaster's second-cousins, or maybe third and many times removed. We have much in common. Everard and Antonella are both in the real estate business and have been to just about every place we have (Antonella's fam is from Capri!!). They have 2 adult daughters, an engineer and just-graduated-lawyer, and 2 teens at home. David had great fun talking details about cricket and rugby


8th September 2016

When you get home, get the "ANZAC Girls" series from Netflix. It's the story of Australian and New Zealand nurses during World War I who cared for the wounded from Gallipoli.

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