Australasia | New Zealand | South Island – A bit about North and South and Kiwis in general
For those of you who were wondering what had happened to me, last seen stuck in a thermal mud pool, Ive spent two amazing weeks in New Zealands South Island. Now I am in Melbourne and having some sleep for the first time in 3 weeks I have just about enough energy to regale to you all my adventures. I appreciate that some of you have limited reading time and I realise that my e-mails have expanded rather exponentially akin to Harry Potter novels so I will try to be as brief as possible. Please note however, that that promise may prove to be just lip service as it is a challenge to cut down when Im visiting such terrific places and meeting interesting people. Plus this time I have to cover two weeks…. Hey, I know, why don’t you just print this out and read it at home instead?
Oh well, lets not waste anymore time and get this road on the show.
So as you probably got from my last e-mail New Zealanders, aka Kiwis, have a really good nature complemented by a wickedly dry sense of humour. Personally it took some adjustment to be around such genuinely nice people for long periods of time so it came as a relief to hear that even the Kiwis have their chips and issues.
Firstly, Kiwis hate Aussies, often making jokes suggesting that Australians are not too intelligent. Whether that be true or not, the Aussies lost whatever chance they had of a fair hearing in New Zealand when they bowled an under arm bowl at the end of some crucial test match a few years back thus preventing NZ from winning with a six. This grudge is so ingrained in the Kiwi identity that its even mentioned in their national museum!
Secondly, there is fierce competition between the North and South Island. Basically the general opinion is that if you only visit one you should opt for the South and that there isn’t much of worth to see on the North Island. Having visited both I can see why you would go for the South as it is so sensational and breathtaking. That said, I really liked the North. In its own way it more than just a little incredible and I think its a place with amazing surroundings thats still liveable in – the South doesn’t strike me as a place you could live a normal life in unless you were a sheep farmer or a bungy instructor (or a sheep bungy instructor.. interesting!) Anyway, I think one of the drivers summed it up well (obviously he was a North Islander) when he said that the South is astounding because of its stark differences – lots of giant mountains, glaciers and amazing lakes but the North has much more variety in a smaller area – large lakes, alpine areas, desert terrains, thermal areas plus rolling pastures. Whatever, like most regional grievances rational arguments hold little weight so I would just suggest that you come and visit both and decide for yourself and please dont attempt to convince any of the locals to change their minds.
Finally, all Kiwis (North or South) hate Aucklanders. Auckland is not the capital but it is the city with the largest population and the nearest youre going to get to an international city. Aucklanders are nicknamed JAFAs which apparently are some kind of food but as one driver explained its also an acronym for Just Another F^&%ing Aucklander! Kiwis living out of Auckland dont get on with these big city people more or less for the same reason as any city people and country people dont get on, for example many are disgruntled as petrol prices were recently raised nationally by 5c to fund road building in Auckland which has notoriously bad transport systems. Many of our guides were Aucklanders whod moved on desperately trying to forge new identities and loyalties in other parts of the country so one way to get a Kiwi wound up is by making them reveal their true Auckland roots!
Anthropology lessons aside lets get back to ME!