Our first stop was at the temple in Hamilton. It was our first time doing baptism in 3 months! Loved the sweet old temple workers as always, loved the strong islander accents that made the words of the ordinances undecipherable, and loved our first temple cafeteria experience!Afterwards we watched a movie at the visitor’s center about Matthew Cowley who was a missionary, then mission president, then GA in New Zealand.
We started our morning right on Saturday with a trip to the Sheep show where we got to see and pet tons of sheep, see a sheep sheered, and some lucky volunteers even got to milk a cow or bottle-feed a baby lamb! I bought some wool yarn so I’d have something wool to take home, so start thinking of what we can make with it mama!
That afternoon we went Zorbing. What’s Zorbing, you ask? Well, Zorbing is when you get a running start to dive headfirst into a human-sized hamster ball of colored water only to start rolling down a hill. At this point you just giggle and scream as you slowly become more and more disoriented and tangled up with the other two people in your ball. We plan on bringing it to Provo and making bank in the near future.
We had to wait in line for showers when we got back, but we were freezing so we waited in the natural hot spring pool in the backyard of the home we stayed at (just with some members, friends of James), and it was soooo hot, like that steam is from the water, not our bodies.
On Sunday we went to church (again couldn’t understand a word of the islander accents) then drove to Taupo (like the beginning of towel, tow-poe) to walk around a pretty lake.
Monday started with lots of Maori culture at Te Puia (tay poy-uhhhh) where we had our second Powheri (everything is starting to click now that I’ve seen it a couple of times), got a tour of the geysers, wood carvings, and flax weaving, and learned all about Ta Moko, or the Maori tattoos which are actually so much more legit now that I know what they mean.
We spent a good amount of time imitating the tiki man faces and taking pictures; here is one of my best J We learned they are usually sticking their bellies out because its supposed to look like the haka stance, so its supposed to look ferocious.
That afternoon we walked around the town and rode paddle boats arounda lake! We ate dinner at a dinner theater run by our hosts and it was just very funny (they took the story of a nearby town that was buried under lava when the volcanoe exploded in the 1800s and turned it into a comedy)!
Ready to hear about the coolest thing I’ve done so far in New Zealand? Ok: Glowworm caves. We went black water rafting down in these caves that have glowworms covering their ceilings like stars. We were dressed in wetsuits, boots, and helmets complete with head lamps (first wetsuit experience, successfully completed the journey without peeing in it as we had had to promise our guides)!
It was so cool as we jumped down waterfalls (butt sticking through inner tube, then jump backwards), hiked around the rocks, and even held onto each others feet in the dark while being pulled around by our guides. At that point they said the acoustics were fantastic, so we sang a Maori song for them that we learned for our first Powheri a couple weeks ago. That minute ranks in the top 5 best minutes of my life!
We got home last night from that trip, and we leave tomorrow morning for the next trip, so today we went hiking in the Waitakere Ranges with Angela (the mom of the family that has us over for FHE), which is one of the last things we had wanted to do in Auckland! It was so pretty with the tropical foliage, Heidi even spotted a real live koru, aka the symbol of NZ that we have never actually seen before!