In 2004, I emigrated from the country of my birth (England) to New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud or “Aotearoa” (to use the Maori name). For five happy years, it was my home, and had work circumstances not forced me to re-locate to Australia, I would still be living there now, I think.
From the beginning, NZ was everything I wanted it to be – green, beautiful, full of space, and stress-free. It’s scenically stunning and it remains in my mind one of the most incredible places on Earth, from the lush tropical waters of the Bay of Islands in the north to the stunning glaciers and mountains of the far south. While living there, I spent every possible moment exploring, either by 4WD or on foot, having some brilliant outdoor adventures and wondering at this feast of nature right on my doorstep. The country is truly blessed.
The Kiwi people were warmer than I could ever have hoped. I’d barely been in Wellington a few days when one of the few people I knew waved at me warmly from across the local New World supermarket – I could have cried at the feeling of belonging that rushed through me: something I’d rarely experienced in ten years of living in London. I quickly realised Kiwis are some of the world’s most friendly, good-natured people, quietly proud of their land, knowing that what they’ve got really is something special.
NZ feels like my spiritual home, one of the very few places in the world that feels “right” and where I ought to be. It’s quite bizarre in a way, as I have no relatives there and didn’t know a soul before I arrived. I’m tempted to look into my family tree to see if there’s anything in my distant past that could explain it – I did once hear tell of an Auntie Ida who lived somewhere Down Under…
Today is Election Day in New Zealand, and as the proud owner of a Kiwi passport, I have used my right to vote, even though I’m based for the moment in Australia. I have dual citizenship (UK/NZ) and a British accent (with a few Australasian “twangs”, so my English friends tell me!)… but my heart most definitely belongs to New Zealand. I will return one day, that’s for sure.
Have you travelled in New Zealand? I’d love to hear your impressions of the country, so feel free to post comments below! Jeanie