Monday, March 30, 2020


I greet you from New Zealand,a population of 5 million people.nicknamed Kiwis,after the elusive ,nocturnal,flightless bird.Kiwis have a  popular saying"Hatches,Matches and Dispatches."Births,weddings and death are the important events of one's life. Kiwis keep it simple and have a fundamental sense of what is right and what is important.
New Zealand,consists of 2 main islands created from volcanic eruptions many years ago,with only one active volcano,located on White Island,some 200 km from Auckland. White Island,the site of a recent eruption, in which 39 people were killed,is a source of stress for many Kiwis.I read  an account in a local paper that many nurses on duty that day have not returned to work.As our ship circumvented the island we all felt the somber mood of the tragedy.
 Geo physically, New Zealand is divided by 2 dramatically different islands.The South,more isolated,is blessed with the natural beauty of the fiords and the tree lined mountain range  reaching the sea.Home to seals,dolphins penguins and many birds including the 10 meter span albatross, the South Island is an out door paradise.The people are proud,hardy,adaptable and have a strong sense of community.
We visited one such community. Oban,Stewart Island, at the mosy southern tip of the island, where 400 hardy souls are totally isolated from the mainland.Despite their isolation,they have managed to develop a thriving fishing and tourist industry.During our stay we visited a local community center built and maintained by volunteers The building had all the amenities of a modern recreation center.
Similarly, visiting other Southern Island communities,we found all of them had a sense of community,pride in their natural heritage, and respect for the land.Climate and environmental issues are the number one concern for Kiwis.Indeed,fully 86% of New Zealand's resources are renewable. A record we should all emulate.
Our first stop on the Northern Island was Wellington,the capital of New Zealand.We visited the
 impressive legislative building,nicknamed the "Beehive"for it's physical resemblance to a bee hive.New Zealand is governed by a left leaning coalition led by an impressive 38 year old single mother Jacinthe Rearden. She is highly admired for her compassion and diplomacy. Inclusivity is a theme practiced by the government.One example is the respect given the Maori aboriginals by the government This theme of inclusivity is also practiced by the people of New Zealand. On Sunday mornings the Catholic Church holds their traditional services,on Sunday afternoon, the church rents the hall to Muslims, who hold their traditional services.
The North Island is home to many island and beaches.Auckland,with a population of 11/2 million people is known as the "City of Sails" with 1/3 of it's citizens owning a boat.Auckland city extends over a narrow isthmus joining the Pacific ocean and the Tasmanian.sea.Auckland has the world 's largest Polynesian population. The city  with it's dozens of islands is a magnet for boaters,fishing enthusiasts and hikers.
I learned why "The All Blacks",New Zealand's famous rugby team has as it's symbol the silver fern plant.Legion has it,the Maori were tracking through the woods and turned the leaf over to it's illumines underside which allowed the warriors to track at night.After the last warrior passed he turned the leaf over and they could not be followed.
 A personal experience I had in Napier, a coastal town on the Northern Island,had a major impact on me in New Zealand.While in port for the day, I left my I pad, containing 4000 pictures I had taken, at a coffee shop.After returning to the ship I realized my mistake.I tried unsuccessfully to retrieve my I pad by contacting the front office of the ship to no avail.Fortunately the next day I made direct contact with the ship's agent in Napier. Fortunately he had been found my I-pad and couriered it to me at our next stop at my hotel in Auckland. I am very grateful to him and to the people of Napier for their compassion ,integrity and decency.


The people of New Zealand are uniformly kind,warm,considerate,laid back and proud of their land.They have a respect fior their environment that is much to admire.In all of my world travels I have never seen cities that were as clean and well maintained.Certainly the highlight of the trip was the reception we received from the people of New Zealand.
 Recently in the world of psychology I live in  I've begun to classify people as either"They get it", or"they don't get it".".Kiwis get it.They intuitively know what is important,family,health,education and community.Moreover it is a society of inclusiveness where the government actively provides a strong social safety net for all it's citizens.
Simply stated" they get it".If I were a young man I would get me to New Zealand,the land of opportunity.

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