Monday, October 27, 2008

Blogcards from Aukland, New Zealand (on way home)

As expected, there’s emotions as we leave overseas countries after a tour. We have had a wonderful time in Australia and New Zealand with people who have been the most welcoming of hosts. On top of that has been the beauty of scenery, mainly wonderful weather, excellent accommodation and superb food.


During the past couple of days Claire and I have been present at the New Zealand Irish Association Feis shared between Kapiti Coast College, about an hour’s drive from Wellington, and Kapiti Club Ceili.


The Feis was fun and encouraging. New Zealand people with a connection with Ireland through birth there or relations there were present in wonderful numbers with their youngsters sharing extraordinary talents in Irish dance, poetry, storytelling, songs and music. There are superb teachers on both North and South Islands combined with a motivation and enthusiasm from the young people. These people have taken Ireland’s culture and made it their own, which i find is refreshing, just like the interpretation of Ireland’s culture in Co. Sligo is different to Co. Kerry, so New Zealand’s regions are developing their own. This is very visual in the costume styles of the regional dancers.


Claire performed a beautiful set during a break through the Saturday sessions that was very well received. She was also the ajudicator for the singing competition sections. On Sunday, Claire adjudicated ceili music sections and performed a very short set during the full evening ceili. The ceili was a very lively noisy bar kind of event so Claire’s music was a bit lost. Well, the music of the main band was a bit lost too.


The Feis at Kapiti, North Island combined with my days on South Island introduced me to the wonderful fresh, light, “no worries”, nature of the New Zealand people. Being a new nation with the most ancient people being only there for about 600 years, maybe 700 years, it was evident that vibrations of torment, fear and guilt had not yet swallowed the psyche of the people. These are people without “baggage” so nothing seems to enter their minds about what cannot be done.


New Zealand must be one of the most free countries of the world. While here i did not see any signs of poverty, poor education, bad health and discrimination. Most of these people look so fit! Age expectancy is very high here with this being 79 years old for men and 85 years old for women. Personally, I found the air always fresh, fulfilling and comfortable.


Food here was stunning with wonderful menus with several choices and extremely healthy. The food servers here also seem to be very proud of their coffee. They love coffee here and mack it well. Even the roadside mobile camper types of trucker greasy spoon stops made and served from extended menus of excellent gourmet coffees and teas. Sandwiches are usually local home made bread filled with local produce. A lot of the country are vegetarian and are very well served. The rest do eat a lot of lamb, but seafood is a surprising minority considering its island status and abundant yields of sea life, possibly due to them actually not eating much of it.


I do believe that New Zealand will soon become a model of an upcoming world economy boom. Through its history the country has had its severe ups and downs due to its leading industry being agriculture with its export market changing due to the fluctuating overseas policies. Currently, thanks largely to the awareness of the country’s beauty and mystery through the Lord of The Rings movies, tourism is constantly rising. The focus of current tourism is New Zealand’s remarkable facilities for outdoor action vacations due to its mountains, glacier lakes and well services “tramping” trails. The tourism has also leaned very closely towards eco-awareness and this understanding appears to have spread through its other industries. For one, I noticed its ever growing wine industry has not only ventured into organic wines but bio-dynamic wines too grown in accordance with sun, moon and even planetary positions, along with companion planting and natural bio controls of pests.


Eco building is also a fast growing industry in New Zealand. So, if we combine the country’s forwardness in easily living a comfortable eco and sustainable based lifestyle and their ability to teach this I do believe New Zealand is about to become a world leader in a new booming economy that will run parallel to saving the planet.


As I finish this Blogcard I am actually aboard our flight to Singapore where we will change to a flight to London. The two flights combined will be a 24 hour marathon but we are currently on board a new Singapore Airlines A380 which is stunning in space, comfort and service …… and those goddess hostesses in their stunning oriental dresses.


I think this will be the last Blogcard that I will write of this tour. My focus now is to be home, rested a little and accept the delivery of about 200 trees for completion of the Garden Labyrinth at Carrowcrory.


Reminder that our Carrowcrory Samhain Open Day will be Saturday November 8th.


If you would like to come, entry by donation, and I can help you to arrange transport, accommodation and meals if you would like to turn this into a short break or vacation. Please contact me for info


Claire and I met and shared with some of you during this wonderful tour of Australia and New Zealand and we thank you so much for meeting us.


Our next tour will be next March in the USA which looks like starting in New Orleans and moving north through the Carolinas, Tennessee, maybe Virginia, Illinois, Wisconsin and possibly into Canada. We will have an itinerary by mid November. Looking forward to meeting some of you then.


 


 

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