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Wellington sure lives up to its “windy and wet” reputation- by Renee

by on June 22, 2016

We arrived in Wellington last night, and were greeted by  a 4.4 earthquake at 9:05pm.  Now, perhaps we were overly sensitive since we had watched a movie in Napier all about the 1931 earthquake that shook for 2.5 minutes and leveled the city killing hundreds.  David and I looked at each other and realized that while we had located the fire escape – we had no idea what you should do when you are on the 8th floor of an apartment building and an earthquake hits.  So we did nothing.  Luckily that seemed to be the correct thing to do and when we turned on the TV to see if we could get more info, not a single channel had interrupted programming to comment on the quake….although Alex did delight us with some of the thousands of Twitter comments that were posted under #eqnz.  Apparently here on the ‘ring of fire’ they have quakes often, but this one seemed to have gotten people’s attention. Really it was a minor thing… the building just swayed a bit.

You will be happy to know that David successfully navigated over 1,000 KM of narrow New Zealand roads, driving on the WRONG SIDE and sitting on the WRONG SIDE…with no major incidents.  (The turn signal lever was also on the WRONG SIDE, so he did accidentally wash the windshield a lot). We returned the GIANT mini-van to Hertz in exactly the same shape we rented it in.  The Hertz guy said that he had “seen the carnage” that results from Americans renting cars in New Zealand…so congrats David on a job well done!

Today we visited the “Great War” museum…which did a great job explaining WWI and New Zealand’s contributions.  It was a ‘walk through movie-set like experience’ created by Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson.  Well done, and if you find yourself in Wellington, highly recommended.  

We also walked around in the WINDY AND OFTEN WET city.  We can’t really complain, as we were prepared for every day in New Zealand’s winter to be wet and windy, and we’ve had remarkably warm weather, and mostly dry too.

We also had a near-private tour of the New Zealand Parliament.  Parliament was not in session so we got to enter the Assembly Chamber and stand in the center between the governing party and the opposition party areas (which, according to centuries-old British law, have to be a minimum of 2 1/2 sword lengths apart).  We also saw the spot where Queen Elizabeth (or the Royal Governor) sits to convene Parliament, and learned about how the system of government works in New Zealand.  Also, Anna and I were very happy to learn that New Zealand was the first representative democracy in the world to give women the right to vote, 20 years before the US.  Way to go NZ!  Aunt Ginny was NOT excited at the idea of touring Parliament, but even she agreed that it was very interesting.

We are keeping track of our walking, so far hitting more than 5 miles everyday.  This will be good news to share with Alex’s PE teacher who told him his goal of walking 2 miles per day was too aggressive a goal for summer fitness!

Tomorrow we will spend most of the day at the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.  We are excited to have my friend Jaimee King’s brother, Benjamin, there show us around the exhibits he designed… everyone says they are amazing!


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  1. Lucy permalink

    Yay David!

  2. That photo at the “Great War” museum looks fascinating!

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