My adventures in New Zealand (MS New Zealand Trip April 2019)
Sayuri Kato, Grade 7, Dover Campus
The New Zealand trip started in Christchurch in the South Island, to many parts of the country. We enjoyed many adventurous activities, breathtaking landscapes and also learned about Maori culture. We travelled for 10 days around the island with 26 students, 3 teachers from UWCSEA and the wonderful team from Little Brown Kiwi (LBK).
This trip in New Zealand was a priceless experience, including cold dips in different parts of the South Island, ziplining at Adrenalin Forest, mountain biking, jet boating or horse trekking in Hanmer Springs, a challenge by choice of Bungy Jumping for some, white water rafting, overnight camping at Punakaiki, underworld caving adventure where we saw the incredible lights of the glow worms, Arahura Marae and cultural exchange, Hokitika Gorge, team challenges, West Coast tree top walk, seeing the Kiwis at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, Franz Josef Glacier for some, Okarito bush walk, Arthur's Pass Devil's Punchbowl waterfall walk and Willowbank Wildlife Centre.
The sky full of stars, double rainbows, kiwis, greenstone hunting, and the never ending green as well as the land of cows and sheep which you will never see in Singapore amazed me and made me feel the love towards nature. I felt very grateful to have this nature surrounding us and for Mother Nature. However I also felt extremely sad that we humans are destroying this beautiful nature, and the need to start acting, and made me think of things I could change around me, such as my house’s electricity consumption, water consumption and not to buy as many products covered in plastic and make my own products, and also join an organisation for things such as beach clean ups in Singapore. Staying at Arahura Marae was a very unique experience. The family who accommodated us was very kind and welcoming. The artwork in the house represented important stories and told us their values and attitude towards nature. I really admired their strong respect for the surrounding rivers, soil, mountains and the sea. The Hakka which they taught us will forever be a treasure of mine. It was truly an honour to stay at Arahura Marae, and for them to share and teach their culture and to have built a powerful relationship with us.
Through all of this amazing experiences, there were also many challenges, which made this trip even better. In my opinion, the cold dips in the lakes called “cultural swims” were the most challenging. However, I stayed brave telling myself that this would probably be my first and last time, and dunk myself into the water. Knowing that I could go that far, surprised me and built more confidence in me. The Adrenalin Forest walks, hiking in the cold and camping in the rain was also very hard, but being with the LBK team and other friends, encouraged me to overcome the challenge. It made me think that supporting each other can get each other further, and how I am grateful for my family and friends for supporting me till today.
Lastly, I would like to thank UWCSEA for organising such an exciting trip, full of learning and fun. New Zealand is a very beautiful and peaceful country, and there was so much to take back from this trip, which I will never forget. Thank you, New Zealand!