KeriKeri Mission Station: Home of New Zealand’s Oldest Buildings

Stone Store in Kerikeri. New Zealand's oldest surviving stone building

Established in 1819, the Kerikeri Mission Station is home to two of New Zealand’s oldest buildings and offers an interesting bit of the country’s history. It was built 22 years before the Treaty of Waitangi established the relationship between Britain and the indigenous Māori people. Europeans were arriving in increasing numbers, and there was tribal fighting […]

MOTAT Live Day: Where Else Can You Ride in an APC?

Visitors can ride inside this military vehicle at the MOTAT Live Day in Auckland New Zealand

Sometimes it is the unexpected that turns out to be the most fun. We headed up to MOTAT to see the da Vinci Machines exhibit, and our timing worked out that it was also a MOTAT Live Day, a family friendly event bringing the Museum of Transport and Technology to life. For us, it was an […]

Waka Taua (War Canoes) at Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand

Maori waka taua at Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand

Walking towards the waka house, we listened as our guide brilliantly narrated New Zealand’s history.  While many say it was discovered by Dutchman Abel Tasman in 1642, the reality is that the Maori people had arrived 650 years earlier. With only 1000 years of history, New Zealand is one of the world’s youngest nations. Our guide told a version of the story I […]

Why Kiwis and Tourists Should Visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds

A hongi shared at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in New Zealand.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds is probably the most historic and significant site in New Zealand. Only three hours north of Auckland, it should be a required visit for anyone who wants to understand this great nation. Once you arrive, take the tour and experience the cultural show. This was my third visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds since we […]

Volcanic Crater – #AtoZ Postcards of New Zealand

The Auckland city skyline seen while looking over the 50 metre crater of the extinct Mount Eden Volcano, Auckland New Zealand.

V is for volcanic crater. Practical Information:  Now grass covered, the volcanic crater is 50 metres deep. The photo was taken from the Mount Eden’s summit, just outside the volcanic crater. It is the highest natural point in Auckland. Hiking to the top is steep in parts, but overall it is pretty easy, and took us […]

Wellington’s St Paul Cathedral: Gothic Revival vs Modern

Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington caught me by surprise. The streets of New Zealand’s capital reflect an active, upbeat, modern city. The general architecture styles are eclectic, contemporary and interesting. Then there is old St Paul Cathedral. Built entirely of native timber, this 19th-century gothic-revival masterpiece is well worth a visit. The high, vaulted […]

Itinerary Options: Driving to the Top of New Zealand

Top of New Zealand, the northern tip of the North Island.

The top of New Zealand is too often overlooked by tourists, as there are so many amazing places to visit in this country. However, it is a paradise, filled with amazing natural history and cultural folklore. We have made the journey a few times. The trip to the top of New Zealand can be done is 3-days if you […]

Aviation Display Hall of MOTAT Brings NZ History Alive

This Tiger Moth biplane designed by Geoffrey Havilland greeted us as we entered the Aviation Display Hall of MOTAT in Auckland New Zealand

Airplanes never did it for me before I visited the Aviation Display Hall of Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) this week. What I found incredible about the aviation display is that it brought history alive with an element of reality found in the stories, often told by listening to recordings of actual pilots. […]

Riverhead Tavern, Red Boats, and a Relaxing Afternoon #AtoZ

The Red Boat leaving Riverhead Tavern, Auckland, New Zealand

An afternoon at Riverhead Tavern is about the journey, as much as the destination. My adventure started in Auckland, where I boarded the Red Boats for a 90 minute leisurely cruise on a river system I had yet to explore (see the map below). We traveled on the calm waters of the upper Waitamata Harbour […]

One Tree Hill, an Auckland Icon, but Where is the Tree? #AtoZ

Look out from One Tree Hill, Auckland New Zealand

We hadn’t been to One Tree Hill for years when we headed up a few weeks ago thinking about P for Park, V for Volcano, M for Maungakiekie (its Māori name) or L for Lookout. It didn’t take long to remember One Tree Hill has its own story. Are you wondering, where is the tree? Practical Information […]

Nautical History at Auckland’s Maritime Museum – #AtoZ

Nautical History at Voyager, Auckland Maritime Museum, New Zealand

Being an island, New Zealand has a long nautical history. From the arrival of the first Polynesian people through today, much of New Zealand life revolves around the sea, especially here in Auckland where it is said that one in four people have a boat. The Voyager Maritime Museum is one of my two favorite […]

Auckland Museum’s Māori Collection – Auckland #AtoZ

Maori storehouse for preserving food called Pātaka, at the Auckland War Memeorial Museum in New Zealand

As we start our journey through AmaZing Auckland from A to Z, there is no better beginning than the home to our local history, the Auckland Museum. Located in the central city, on a dormant volcano, the museum is home to an impressive Māori collection, as well as extensive history of the flora, fauna and […]

Walk Wellington – Best Way to See New Zealand’s Capital City

New Zealand Parliament and the building nicknamed the Beehive in Wellington, the Capital City

Walk Wellington is the perfect name for the city tour we took to kick start our mini adventure in New Zealand’s capital. We went open minded, expecting to learn a bit about the history and architecture. Our expectations were far exceeded as we discovered a city filled with mystery and surprise around every corner. It’s […]

Auckland Celebrity Walk – Rivaling LA for Famous Hand Prints

Start of the Celebrity Walk in Auckland New Zealand

I remember how excited I was to take our teens to Grauman’s Chinese Theater to see the hand and foot prints of the stars when we were in Los Angeles last year.  Little did I know then, but Auckland also has a celebrity walk of fame. And just like Grauman’s, it is filled with hand […]

On Board Steinlager 2 – A Bit of New Zealand’s History

Staning at the helm of Steinlager 2, winner of 1989/90 Whitbread Around the World Race

We all have our heroes. Sir Peter Blake is one of mine. Maybe that’s why I was so exciting to step aboard the Steinlager 2. It’s his boat. Well, technically it’s New Zealand Sailing Trust’s yacht, it is Sir Peter Blake who skippered to an unprecidented victory, winning all six legs of the Whitbread Round […]

Photos: A Maori Cultural Show at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

maori warrior

We enjoyed the new Maori Cultural Show at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.  Shared today as it is Waitangi Day in New Zealand, a holiday commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. First a traditional greeting and welcome to the Marae, the meeting house and centre of daily life: Then we entered the marae for […]