On our free day in New Zealand, half of our class took a hiking trip to an area called the Belmont Trig in the mountains. What we thought was going to be a leisurely 3.5 hour hike through the beautiful mountain terrain, turned into a 7 hour hike that can only be accurately classified by the adjective “strenuous.” Amongst this 14 mile hike, we were able to see some of the most beautiful landscapes of rolling hills, luscious green mountains, native New Zealand plants and animals, and overlooks of the city of Wellington. About midway through our hike, we reached the top of one of the mountains and were treated to one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. I may have been out of breath by the time I reached the top of that mountain, but it was totally worth it for the view! When I got to the top, I could see just why film producers choose to shoot movies here in New Zealand. The island embodies views that will literally take your breath away. When I was out in the middle of the mountains like that, surrounded by trees and nature, it struck me just how lucky I was to be able to experience these picturesque views. New Zealand is unique in the aspect that they have been able to preserve such an exotic area in such pristine conditions. The people of New Zealand have been able to do this through extensive preservation efforts and eco-friendly initiatives which can be seen all over New Zealand. These people care a lot about their land and want to make sure they preserve it for future generations. This idea stems from the Maori people and their dedication to the land. I found a saying in the Te Papa museum that sums this idea up perfectly: “Titiro whakamuri. Whakarite inaianei, hei hangai whakamua,” which translates to “Emrace the past. Prepare now to shape the future.” The Maori people understood how important it was to protect what had been provided from the past so that future could be fruitful for those to come, an idea that has stayed strong in the heart of the New Zealand community.

-Kacy Nichols


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