Sunday, April 26, 2009
We have often commented on how little patriotism we see here in New Zealand so we were startled with the sudden patriotism around us. War songs being sung; documentaries on TV; announcements in the paper and assemblies at the schools.
We attended the local ANZAC Day memorial service at the local War Memorial Hall. As we were walking in 2 WWI era planes few over, then the retired soldiers walked in. It felt a little awkward as I didn't know what the protocol was. When do you stand and when do you sit? Do join in singing or remain quiet. How do you dress and where did everyone get the paper poppies they were wearing? (The poppies are a symbol of Flader's field where the soldiers are buried under crosses - row on row.)
The service began with singing "God Save the Queen". The local priest led the service with prayer, scripture reading and singing of the 23rd Psalm. The mayor, wearing a traditional Maori feather cape, gave an address. The local Lions club sang war time songs with the older generation joining right in! A military representative from Australia gave a speech on the brotherhood of the two countries. A New Zealand Air Force commander gave a speech as well. When all the address and speeches were over we went outside to a memorial.
The cadets stood in respect, the priest and mayor were at the flag pole and the retired military personnel stood in front of the fire guard. The flag was lowered and then raised again during a bugle call. Wreaths were laid on the memorial and a 21 gun salute was fired. Following the service people placed white crosses around the memorial.
I appreciated the opportunity to look into the heart of a nation and see what it holds dear. The pride of fighting in a world war and the sorrow for the lost citizens.
No worries - Kris
Friday, April 24, 2009
On Monday, Mom and I went on a train to Greymouth. We took a taxi to the train station and we had breakfast on the train. We went through 16 tunnels on the way and 16 tunnels on the way back. It was very dark inside the tunnels and the longest one we went through was 8km long. It took about 10 minutes to get through. On the way there, when we went through the tunnel it was raining, but not hard. At Greymouth, it was still raining and we had fish and chips for lunch. On the way back we went on the observation deck and when we went through the tunnels, it looked like it was going to hit us. It was fun going over bridges because you could look down and see everything. We stayed on the observation deck most of the time going back to Christchurch.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
On our first day in Christchurch my Mom and I got up early to go on a bus tour to Mt. Cook. The landscape of the South Island was very different to that of the North Island. It reminded me somewhat of home, the trees were changing beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow, and there was snow frosting the tips of the mountains. We stopped at an old church that over looked a magnificent glacier feed lake with mountains in the distance. As it was Easter Sunday there was a service going on inside, but on the way back we got to look inside. It was made from stone and wood, and its name was “Church of the Good Shepherd”. After that we went to the Mt. Cook visitor's center, where we ate lunch in front of Mt. Cook. Mt. Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand and also where Sir Edmund Hillary trained for an attempt at being the first man to climb Mt. Everest. He was successful. Then we made our way back to Christchurch on the bus.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
We've all heard of and may have even done "white water rafting" before. The "white water" comes from the bubbling water in a river. What great fun flying down a river in a raft, paddling like crazy! "Black water rafting" is nothing like this. Rather than being in a raft, each person had his own personal tube. The water is black because one is floating down a river, deep in a cave.