The orientation hosted by IFSA-Butler at the YMCA Lodge in Shakespear Park was the perfect way to adjust to a new everything, really. The group flight landed in the early morning of Saturday July 5th where the Butler Staff met us at the airport and then took us to the park. Shakespear Park is a perfect example of the New Zealand coast with rolling hills dotted with sheep, private little beaches, and stunning views. The Park sits in a peninsula that juts out into the Hauraki Gulf and offers amazing views of surrounding island and in the distance the Auckland skyline.
As soon as we arrived we were fed and taken on a walk around the park. After this we were fed again and again and again. It was impossible to go hungry between all the meals and tea times. After lunch we were taught how to play rugby, which is the most popular sport here in New Zealand, and then taken to natural hot springs in the Auckland area. The whole day we were kept busy to help adjust to the new time zone.
Despite the typical winter weather in Auckland, which is rain. The first two days were absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining which made the kayaking and exploring the park very enjoyable. I also go to try mountain boarding, which was really fun. My snowboarding experience definitely helped with not falling down. I wish that we had been given more time there because it was just beautiful. However, we had to move on. After spending a few hours in Auckland we made our way north to spend the next night getting our Maori cultural experience where we learned a little bit of the language and stayed in a traditional Maori village. It was a great introduction into the other side of New Zealand. New Zealand is a country that is trying to do things differently. It is working on finding a balance between its different cultures of the native Maori and the European settlers.
Orientation flew by faster than expected and was such a great time. Next it was time to move into our accommodations. I’m living in Carlaw Park, which is the newest housing development at UoA. I’m excited to get settled and start exploring the city and campus.