Written by Bre’Anna Phoenix ’19
This post is written in response to Bre’Anna’s fall 2017 3-week course to New Zealand with Professors Douglas Brattebo and Acacia Parks.
New Zealand will forever be memorable for its beauty. Out of all the various activities and sites we have seen on the trip, my favorite and most memorable ones were Hobbiton, snorkeling, the animal encounter at the zoo, and the Maori experiences. These were the most memorable because these were all new to me, maybe even ones that I would have never experienced or tried had I not gone in a group or even thought of. Most of these experiences were unique and specific to only New Zealand. Hobbiton film set is one that I won’t get to see anywhere else. The food was lovely, and the scenery was too. I have never been on the a filmset before and the fact that it is on a person’s property is pretty cool.
What amazed me about the set besides the good food was how they made the film set. It was fascinating how they were able to age the wood to make it look old, it was also impressive how they used tricks on the little hobbit houses to make certain people look taller or smaller. Even more fascinating was how they manage to film inside these little holes, let alone made the village seem big and almost hidden low to the ground. One can only imagine the type of money the home owner must make from letting them use his land. The best part of the evening was hobbit feast, we had everything from chicken, to beef stew, to warm bread, to lamb, to buttered mashed potatoes, cooked mushrooms in garlic sauce etc., the desserts were just as good. This made my day because I have watched every single Lord of the Rings movie so seeing it up close in person was surreal.
Another unique experience I quite enjoyed was the Maori. Their history and background as it pertains to being the native people are similar to the Native Americans in the U.S. They have had their fair share of being slaughtered for land upon European arrivals to their land and having their cultural tradition ripped away from them. However, the difference is in New Zealand’s history they were quicker to end their feud and try to make things right. They are also related to the Hawaiians (Polynesians). For the first Maori experience, it was interactive. We got a chance to do some of the cultural games they play and some of their tribal dances. Their games include two sticks each person uses that they throw and catch to another person for hand eye coordination and fast movement. It was a fun way to learn about their culture as they explained things. We also got a chance to eat some of their food as well. They steam their food in the ground which was interesting to see. They also performed a welcoming ceremony which was amazing to see.
This experience has opened my eyes and helped me to see things through a different perspective. Everything seems great when you’re not living in it. New Zealand seemed wonderful to use but to the New Zealanders it’s nothing to grand or about them. But what I noticed is that our perception of happiness is different from theirs. I enjoyed doing new various activates and being outdoors. In New Zealand they have more access to do activities and to be active. I also enjoyed seeing that New Zealanders don’t walk around with phones in their hands and are into their gadgets every minute of the day. It seems to me fairness, and applying it makes a difference. In America fairness is at the bottom of the list, if you want something you have to make it on you own is our attitude.