Feb 16, 2001
to NEW ZEALAND
-- Story by Chris --
A bit about NZ taken from a promotional
CD-Rom: It suffices here to note that the country is slightly larger than the United
Kingdom, about the size of Italy or half that of France. Its area equals that of the state
of Colorado. The population totals some 3.4 million, of which some 322,000 are Maori and
about 125,000 Pacific Islanders.
The country lies in the Temperate Zone of the South Pacific about 2,250 kilometers
southeast of Australia. Auckland is almost due east of Sydney. The "four main
centers", Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, are evenly spaced along the
country's 1,600-kilometre length. Centers with populations greater than 20,000 are
eligible for "city" status.
There are 2 main islands; the North and the South. Wellington is the capital,
located at the bottom of the North Island, while Auckland to the top north carries about
40% of the country population.
What else, ...... oh, New Zealanders are the first to see the sun of the new day, 18
hours ahead of New Yorkers. NZ was a huge spot for the Millenium Celebration --
"First to see the sun"
Currency is the NZ dollar, and currently the NZ$1.00 = US$ 0.45. Petrol is about
NZ$1.15/litre (US$1.97/gallon), and its available everywhere. A large pizza
(chicken/brie/cranberry) in a café was about NZ$16.00. Tent camping is about NZ$12/night,
while a basic cabin (like we had in Scandinavia) in a 4-star campground is about
For you Rugby fanatics, a bit about the Maori Haka
The word haka, commonly applied only to the spirited Maori war dance, correctly extends to
all forms of rhythmic posture dancing. Traditionally the art form derives from the
marriage of Hine-raumati (the Summer Maid) with Ra (the Sun), and their child, Tanerore,
whose appearance on warm summer days was manifest by the quivering atmosphere. It is this
quivering which pervades all forms of Maori dancing, from the peruperu (war dance) to the
gentle poi dance (a dance performed only by women in which raupo balls on the end of
strings are swirled in time with music).
Warriors with taiaha (long clubs) performed the peruperu in hand. Their leader held a
quivering mere (short greenstone club) and to his shouts of command the warriors would
reply in chorus, stamping their feet in unison and moving their quivering hands through a
series of gestures as they rolled their eyes and contorted their faces. All the while the
performance was anxiously watched for omens of good or ill.
Pre-eminent among haka choruses (and one often used by touring All Black rugby teams) is
that associated with Te Rauparaha as he hid in a kumara pit while his enemies hunted for
him. As discovery seemed certain he breathed 'Ka mate! Ka mate!' ('It is death! Death!'),
and as the searchers moved away he sighed, 'Ka ora! Ka ora!' ('It is life! Life!'). When
all was safe he emerged and expressed thanks to the hairy chief Te Wharerangi who had
|'Ka mate! Ka mate!
Ka ora! Ka ora!
Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru, Nana
nei i tiki meiI whakawhiti re ra!
Upane! Upane! Upane! Kaupane!
Whiti te ra!'
|'It is death!
It is death!
It is life! It is life!
This is the hairy person Who
caused the sun to shine!
One upward step! Another upward
step! One last upward step! The step forth!
Into the sun that shines!'
The peruperu has been adopted by a number of schools and some
sporting groups, and is occasionally performed at school rugby matches.
Well, after almost 7 months and
25,000 kms, our time in Australia is over. It's now day 638 of the journey, and we have
ridden over 75,000 kms before reaching New Zealand, our 35th country.
We departed Sydney far sooner than
originally expected, and we didn't get to say goodbye to all our friends in person.
So to those of you we didn't get to see or talk to, thank you for such a great time and
for being .... Aussie.
Monday, Feb 12th Australia: We woke early, and headed
down to Sydney Airport. We rode the bikes to the Qantas Export Terminal, disconnected the
batteries, finished the necessary paperwork (D/G paperwork was already done), unloaded our
clothes, and walked to the departure gate to catch our plane.
Pricing for 2 bikes (uncrated) -- A$1.00 = US$0.56:
F650 = 242kg; R100PD = 294.5kg. Total was 536.50 kg
- A$2.40/kg (rate based on 500+kg)
- A$0.15/kg fuel surcharge
- A$25 = Airway bill
- A$42 = Dangerous Goods Check
- (A$132) for Dangerous Goods Documents -- we did our own = FREE.
- Customs was also free -- export agent will try to charge A$100.
- NZ$33.50 = MAF (quarantine check in NZ)
Total = US$813.00
Shipping by sea would have been about US$550, not to
mention the hassle of crating, transporting crates to the docks, delay in importing,
uncrating, and 2 weeks without the bikes. Flying was worth the investment.
evening Arne Rohde, a local BMW rider and computer engineer, met us at Auckland
airport. Arne brought us back to his home in the Bombay Hills, about 40km south of
the city. He and Ilse have a lovely home which sits high in the hills, on
approximately 120 acres of beautiful woods and pasture, surrounded by miles of hills and
valleys. It's called a "Lifestyle Property" -- Some of the land is
allocated to growing trees, and most of the rest is leased to farmers who bring their
cattle over for grazing. What a way to live -- views of rolling hills, roaming
cattle, and fantastic sunsets.....ahhhhh.
out the property in Arne's Argo
On Tuesday afternoon, we returned to the
airport, and after 1.5 hours, rode the bikes away the fastest and cheapest import
yet! Insurance is not mandatory in NZ, but we wanted it anyway. We picked up our
third-party insurance for NZ$100 (both bikes) for up to 3 months: firstname.lastname@example.org / or free call 0800 65 62
64. The insurance office is about 20km south of Auckland, just off the main
hwy. We again have a NZ phone (+64-21-153-0064) to receive calls, or even text
messages from the internet: www.mtnsms.com
Wednesday, Valentines Day: Erin was very impressed I
was able to sneak out and get her a card. I was even more impressed when she gave me
a hand-made card with the cutest, most adorable poem ever -- I wanted to include a copy
here, but she forbid me. I guess there are some things we should keep to ourselves
Thursday, Feb 15: Went riding today along the western coast,
where Arne handed us off to Steve Bell, another BMW enthusiast. Steve has put us in
contact with a lot of the local BMW club members, and has owned all the same bikes we
have. He is a police officer, and met our friend Benka last year saw her foreign
license plate and actually pulled her over in his cruiser just to see what she was up to.
A straight road in
Taking a break
Our ride was, well
unbelievable. Were talking about roads cut into beautiful rolling hills, lined
with grazing cattle and sheep, with no more than 100 meters to the next bend. We forgot
how much fun riding these types of roads can be. There is virtually no traffic, and the
quality of the pavement (and gravel) is top-notch. The roads along the coast offer
breath-taking views over the cliffs. If you take the rolling sweepers of the Cabot
Trail in Nova Scotia, the fjords of Norway, add the tight twisties of the Alps, get rid of
the traffic, multiply by a fabulous factor of 10, ........ yeah, that should come close to
what this is like here. This was only the first real day of riding here,
and it is a motorcycle paradise! What's really hard to believe is that everyone tells us
it only gets better on the south island!
View at the end of the day