Oscars, vineyards, the Haka and a fond farewell to Wellington

Right gang, I’ve been reliably informed that my updates are getting way too long now so here is a long update before I try and make them a ‘wee’ bit shorter!:)
This one has to be long as In the past couple of weeks I’ve learned the Haka, met some Lord of the Rings Legends, held an Oscar, watched a World Cup cricket match and best of all I’ve spent time with some pretty wonderful people.

One thing I ‘forgot’ to mention in my last update was that on the final day of the Abel Tasman trek I fell asleep on the beach, missed my bus back to Nelson and as a result was almost two hours late meeting a lovely 101er called Tania who had invited me to stay with her and her family before I headed back to the North island.
Luckily I had Flo with me who gave me a ride and Tania was so lovely about me being my usual idiotic self.

Tania drove an hour and a half from her home town of Blenheim to pick me up from Nelson. It was so kind of her and luckily I caught her just as she left so she could wait at home whilst I attempted to rush to finish the last few kilometres of the trek.

I had such a lovely time in Blenheim although I didn’t feel I was particularly good company. I was pretty tired from the trek and spent my afternoons asleep in their garden hammock. Tania has been following my journey since my travels in Central America in 2013. Her husband Brent sadly lost his brother to cancer at the young age of 21.
We had a wonderful time visiting Vineyards, the famous Peter Jackson air museum but my favourite moments were watching TV in the evenings with Tania, Brent and their youngest daughter Emily. We watched a show called Hamish and Andy. If you haven’t seen this then you just have to. Just imagine my trip around South America but with crazy challenges by two of the funniest guys ever. Absolutely brilliant so add it to your Christmas wish list.
I stayed with Tania for a few days and then headed back to Wellington where I’ve sent the last couple of weeks with my friends Lisa and Ruth.

I was also taught the Haka by the amazing lads at Wellington College. This was Thing #65 on my list and one of the things I was most excited about doing. As you’ll see in the video my version of the Haka stills needs a lot of practice. I’ll talk more about that when I share the video but it was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about Maori culture and when they welcomed me into the school they performed the Haka for me and it was mind blowing. Unfortunately my gift back to the guys was to sing Flower of Scotland. I think I got the better deal there!:) A huge thank you to Warati and Tina for helping me are age this.

As well as sneaking me into the WETA Oscar party my wonderful friend Ruth organised for me to go into WETA the famous effects studio that made Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I got my face scanned and even got to hold some real Oscar and BAFTA awards. Those puppies are heavy!
As you can see from the photo if I ever won an Oscar I would be least cool person ever! I also got to meet three WETA legends. Two famous illustrators who were influential in the design of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbitt. The incredible Alan Lee and John Howe. I couldn’t believe I got to meet them. They were so lovely and agreed to sign some books which I plan to auction off to raise money for Camp Quality New Zealand. They didn’t simply sign them but also drew the most beautiful unique illustrations in there as well. I’m tempted to keep them for myself!:) such great guys.
Camp Quality is a very similar charity to The Hole In the Wall Gang camp and stands for everything 101 is about.
I had asked to volunteer there but sadly I was too late in enrolling so couldn’t do it. I’ll talk about them more when I auction off the books but they are amazing.
I sadly didn’t get to meet the legend that is Peter Jackson as he was busy but thanks to Ruth, Peter said he would be more than happy to sign something for the auction.

If anyone has any suggestions where the best place to Auction things like this would be then please let me know. Fingers crossed we can raise a lot of money for Camp Quality.

I also got to meet and befriend a wonderful guy called Gino. Gino (photo with oscars) is an effects supervisor at WETA and has worked on everything from Lord of the Rings to Men in Black. He is such a lovely guy and Ruth and I got spend time with him and his lovely family. Gino lost both his parents to cancer so we talked a lot but mostly about films and what they mean to us.
He showed me some of the amazing props he’s worked on, what its like chatting to Steven Spielberg and how moving to New Zealand from the states was the best decision he ever made because that’s where he met his wife.

Ive met so many wonderful people here and thanks to Ruth and Lisa Wellington has felt like home to me. Lisa’s boyfriend Sean and his wonderful daughters feel like family to me now. I’ve made new pals with some people that follow this blog like Karen and Merrie and I also got to catch up with my lovely friend from Raleigh International, Kirsty who also now lives in Wellington.
I can definitely recommend Wellington to either visit or live. I fell in love with the harbour and the botanical gardens. The cafes are incredible and there is such a nice non city vibe about this place. It’s hard to believe it’s the capital.

I now only have a few weeks left to zoom up the North Island before I head off to Asia.
My plan is to head up the North Island to do the amazing Tongaririo crossing (minus big backpack), see the glow worm caves in Waitimo, visit Hobbiton and then head to the beautiful Coromandel before finishing up in Auckland.

I’ve loved being here with my friends in Wellington. It felt like home and spending time with them has been my most favourite part of being here in New Zealand. I think the fact that I think that suggests that it’s almost time for me to go home. The fire I once had for travelling has dwindled of late and I find myself longing for a more settled life. I think I’m almost ready.

Miss you already Wellington.


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