All posts filed under: Kiwi culture

One off the bucket list: Watching a rugby game in a real stadium

Ever since I’ve been in New Zealand I wanted to see a rugby game – ideally in a giant stadium. Who knew that this dream would come true on my first night in Auckland already? Shane had picked me up from the airport and after the obligatory jet lag passing out on his couch he took me to watch the Auckland Blues play against the Wellington Hurricanes at Eden Park Stadium. With 50.000 seats it is New Zealand’s largest stadium and although not all seats had been sold, the atmosphere was pretty spectacular to me. Just like all the weird things going on on the field. Funniest thing for me is the so-called scrum (short for scrummage) where the players get together into a seemingly organised way of interlocking their heads, shoulders, arms and bums in order to fight for the ball (from what I’ve seen). Other stunning thing: It was so cold that night and the players seemed to have been so hot that their scrum turned into a giant steam party (see picture below). Needless to say that …

The Forgotten World Highway

Believe it or not – this is considered a highway in New Zealand. The Forgotten World Highway to be precise. Having stayed at Rob’s family’s place for a couple of days in the beautiful Taranaki it was time for me to head on and since I already know the other two routes out of New Plymouth I opted for the scenic route via Highway 43. And oh, how scenic it was! The 155km adventure starts in Stratford, just behind Mt Taranaki (a volcano) and ends in Taumaranui on the Central Plateau, with Mt Ruapehu (another volcano) just in front of you.  The road itself is a windy one, leading through untamed bush, rainforest, over hills covered in sheep and stunning scenery. Half-way through you arrive in Whangamomona, a tiny collection of houses and a famous Pub. Tales are that after a fight over water between two neighboring districts the village of Whangamomona declared itself a Republic in 1989 – with its own elections and celebrations of Republic Day in January which apparently attracts thousands of …

One last look back at the Cardrona season

Today I went for the last ski up at Cardrona – all alone, with lots of time to look back on the season and reflect how it went. So many things are different over here in New Zealand – you have to drive all the way up to the base area of a mountain, everything at the ski field is owned by one company, there are canteen style fast food places instead of cosy chalets with good food, slopes are not marked as such, ski fields have a maximum of four lifts and lifties are actually friendly and good fun instead of grumpy old men. Yet, at the same time so many things are similar – you feel immediately welcomed in the ski instructor community, the town has a buzzing night life with happy hour drinking and in the end everybody is here for the love of snow. But the one thing that really struck me as the most challenging difference was the living situation: I had no idea that there is no central heating …

Snowed in at Tekapo Top House

The snow storm last night must have been pretty bad – considering that those snow flakes are stuck on the window (which is by the way stretching all along the hot tub – not too bad for a bathroom view). We were pretty lucky that we found this lovely B & B last night because whole Tekapo seemed to be booked out. And even luckier considering that our host Tony decided to clear my little Fugly from the snow while we were having breakfast inside and chatting with his wife. Kiwi hospitality is truly outstanding.  

“Yeah, nah.. not too bad. Just a bit chully.”

This is the typical Kiwi answer I get whenever I tell a local how much I am suffering from the cold. As a ski instructor AND being Austrian I thought I was used to being exposed to cold weather but it’s a different kind of cold we experience here. Although the temperatures are not as low as in Austria it’s the wet & humid NZ climate that make it so hard to handle. Plus the fact that there’s no heating. Which is probably the worst. Especially when you work outdoors all day…. you would really look forward to coming home, being warm, drying your wet gear and having a cosy evening. But as soon as I open the door to our house it and the expected feeling of warmth and cosiness does not kick in I remember why: We don’t have heating. And that’s not only the problem of our house, if basically applies to most houses in New Zealand. And I must admit: We are pretty lucky that we have a fireplace and double …

The perfect ending to my life as a wannabe-dancer

Saturday was the last show at the Herald Theatre for our dance group but it was a special one. First of all it was on the weekend and the whole city seems to change during the weekend: Everyone’s out and about in Auckland’s restaurants and bars, girls dress up and wear high heels, there’s lots of laughter in the streets and everyone seems to be in an even happier mood. Secondly, every group performing at the Dance festival knew it was probably the last show and it seemed liked everyone went that extra mile in their performances. For us that meant completely freaking out on stage and I had trouble not laughing while performing and watching my fellow dancemates on stage. Also the audience seemed to be way funnier than during the week and we already got a feeling for that when they occasionally laughed or clapped at our crazy moves. Once our performance was over we stayed in the backstage area where you can watch the other group’s performances on a TV and we …

A week in the life of a dancer – a real dancer!

There’s been a little side project that has kept me busy for a while already: As it happens I became part of dance company here in Auckland (Etched Dance Productions) and this is our big week as we are performing every night at the Herald Theatre in downtown Auckland. But from the beginning: It all started with Jess, the choreographer, looking for people who like dancing. I said I like it but am not particularly good at it – which was sufficient for getting on the team (without knowing what I got myself into.) A couple of days later I went to rehearsal at the Dance department of Unitec, one of Auckland’s major universities and just that was an experience in itself: Big dance studios, all of them fully equipped with Ballet barres, a piano, huge mirrors (which turned out to be quite confusing when learning a new piece) and dancers – lying around everywhere, stretching their already super-flexible bodies even more. During that evening Jess taught us the main phrase of the piece and …