Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Purea Nei

Kia Ora!
Kei te pēhea koe?

Meaning, Hello! How are you?

Kei te pai  = Good :)

Ko Katie taku ingoa = My name is Katie.

I started school this week! The papers (classes) that I'm taking are Socializing in Māori, Biostatistics, Social Psychology, and Studies of Education in New Zealand. At the moment, I'm most excited about my Māori language paper! Kei te ako tāua i te reo Māori. We're learning Māori. We're going to learn a lot of songs. Our professor plays the guitar and we all sing. The song we learned the other day is really pretty.


Purea Nei

Purea nei e te hau
- Scattered by the wind
Horoia e te ua
- washed by the rain
Whitiwhitia e te rā
- transformed by the sun
Mahea ake ngā pōraruraru
- swept away are all anxieties
Makere ana ngā here
- removed are all restrains

E rere wairua e rere
- Fly free O spirit, fly
Ki ngā ao o te rangi
-to the clouds in the heavens
Whitiwhitia e te rā
- transformed by the sun
Mahea ake ngā pōraruraru
- swept away are all anxieties
Makere ana ngā here
- removed are all restrains

As a side note, the men wear really short shorts here and I've seen five guys with this hair style:

The Rat Tail

My question is why.

Ka kite   (See ya)


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Kiwi Camouflage


I tried a new flavor of ice cream today. It's called Kiwi Camouflage. It's lime and chocolate - an interesting, but very delicious combination - with little dark chocolate fish hidden inside.



A Whole New World

Kia Ora!

We just finished up the last of orientation today. It's been a really fun week! On Wednesday we split up into our Programmes (field of study) and my math major fell under a Bachelor of Science. There are a few math majors here, but it's not too popular. People come from all over the world to study Food Technology, Veterinary Science, Agriculture, Biology/BioChem/MicroBiology, etc. It's cool to be out of the Engineering setting for a while. So, also a Bachelor of Science, is my new friend, Jess The Kiwi. Jess is starting her first year at uni (university, which they say instead of college). Kiwis attend five years of high school and three years of university. Jess is a Psychology (as a Natural Science) major from Wellington and plays hockey! We got on quite well and stuck by each other for the remainder of the week. (I'm trying to write like a New Zealander... it's subtle, but it is different!) We participated in a big team building exercise where we needed to complete a series of challenges to obtain materials to transport water from big barrels at the top of the hill down to our little team buckets at the bottom. For example, 20 hula hoop spins got us a piece of paper, 100 collaborative push-ups got us part of an egg carton, and a completed pun quiz got us a styrofoam cup. And since it was so hot they also had a big slip 'n slide! Everyone was going down in their clothes and I was accidentally wearing my watch and now it doesn't work anymore :( oh well.

Here's me, Jess, and some Rugby players representing my new NZ bank! BNZid

Thursday was moderately uneventful, but today I participated in a Guinness World Record! We had 620 people on campus all bobbing for apples! We were on TV and everything! Go Massey!

If you look closely, you can see me in some of them! I'm wearing a pink tanktop and yellow sunglasses. 

Then we had one last international student BBQ at The Centre. It's amazing all the different people I'm meeting! I absolutely love it. Is it weird if I tell you about them?
  • There's a lady from Indonesia who is 40 years old. She was a high school Biology teacher but now she's getting her Masters in Molecular Biology. She's really friendly and gave me some malted milk balls. 
  • A guy from Mexico with white skin and blonde hair who is studying AgriScience. He worked in the US for a few years and people always comment about how he has very good Spanish, haha. 
  • A girl from Canada who just spent the last month backpacking in Thailand, just living the island life! She's starting her Pre-Vet programme and is getting her whole degree in NZ. 
  • Another girl from Canada who works at the coffee shop who just came here to live and work at a coffee shop! She spent a year doing the same thing in Ireland, just living casually and traveling around. She has a hula-hooping business as well and occasionally performs with LED lights and fire.
  • A guy from Tanzania who is also getting a Masters in AgriScience. He's going to be a professor when he returns home.
  • A guy from Japan studying Business who didn't apply to Massey through a program. He just came on his own to learn better English and for the experience. 
  • A woman from Malaysia studying Microbiology - basically germs, she says. She's researching the different types of microorganisms (like E Coli) living on poultry in NZ and what their effects are.
  • A Chemical Engineer from Brazil and another Engineer from India
It is so interesting! Everyone is so nice. The world is huge. Wah.

♥ Katie

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Hot As

Just wanted to give a quick weather report from Palmerston North, New Zealand. It's been in the 80's all week. I've gotten sunburned a few times even though I've been wearing sun screen. The locals say this is unusual weather, especially for the heat to be lasting so many days.

Today we were the hottest city in the country at 31ºC - that's 88ºF.

That's hot as.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Because I'm an International Student


The past two days we had orientation just for the international students. For the next three days we will join forces with the Kiwis and have a combined orientation. Our orientation thus far went a little like this:

On Monday, we listened to some people talk and got a bunch of information in a nice three-ring binder. I'm happy about this because now I don't have to buy one :). We had free time and free lunch. There are a lot of American students studying abroad - which I sort of expected, but not this many! So I made friends with a lot of people from all over the US. Some even from Michigan! I'm glad I am still able to identify myself as a Yooper on the opposite side of the world. I met people from other countries too. So many different cultures here! There are people from Japan, China, Vietnam, Canada, the UK, the Philippines, Singapore, Africa, Tonga, and the list goes on! It's really cool.
After lunch, they took us to see Massey Farms where we visited the sheep unit and the dairy. In the sheep unit, we watched a sheep get sheared and the dogs herd them around.

At the dairy, we watched cows get onto this merry-go-round type of thing and go through an automated milking process. The cows are just hangin' out, eating some feed, and these metal things are attached to their utters milking them! You can see the machine move up and down and see the milk coming through the tubes. It's pretty interesting. Then, when they stop producing milk, the machine loosens its grip and the cows kick it off. Then the cows proceed to exit the merry-go-round and go on their way. 

Massey University began as an agricultural school 50 years ago. Agriculture and food science is still pretty big at Massey and they conduct a lot of research for improvements in farming. 

Today, we listened to more talking and then went and had lunch at Ashhurst Domain, a nice park outside of town. We also had a Maori mini-lesson from some guys building a canoe. Then we went through the beautiful Manawatu Gorge, between two sets of mountains, and ended up at the Te Apiti wind farm where my host family had taken Jenny and me the week before. It was a little nicer weather today, so I was able to get more pictures!

That's about it! So many pictures......

10 Things I Love About New Zealand
1. The Accent
2. Hearing so many different languages on the bus
3. NZ loves dessert. My host family gives me ice cream every day; this is both a blessing and a curse
4. All NZ fruit, vegetables, seafood, top-quality meat, and dairy are GMO-free!
5. NZ is trying to become smoke-free! Right now, cigarettes need to be kept behind solid doors at store counters and they are heavily taxed. One pack costs $17.20 !!! Their goal is to be smoke-free by 2025.
6. The sheep. I thought, yeah well, I've seen sheep before, it's normal. But I love seeing them in the hills on the side of the road everywhere. The sheep to human ratio is 8:1. There are 4 million people here and about 31 million sheep.
7. NZ uses renewable energy! Currently, approximately 70% of the country's electricity comes from renewable sources. The goal is to have 90% by 2025.
8. There are no natural predators. No deadly spiders, no Bigfoot, nothing.
9. Hobbiton. Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Fiordland. Franz Josef Glacier. Zorbing.
10. Did you know it's beautiful here? I've only been around Palmerston North and it's already been so awesome. Just wait until I get out and travel :)

All the love,

Monday, 17 February 2014

Weekend Sun

Kia Ora!

I suppose I should update from an eventful couple of days.

On Saturday I went with Jenny and her classmates to The Square for a Chinese lunch where we stumbled upon a motorcycle show! They were all really excited because they had never seen that kind of stuff before. There were tons of motorcycles, music, and a stunt show!

After the stunt show, Jenny and her friends (my friends too :) ) treated me to lunch at Noodles & Dumplings, since this was my first time! I've eaten Chinese food before, but not in this manner. In China, it's common to get a bunch of dishes and share them in the middle of the table on a Lazy Susan and help yourself to whatever you like. It was very nice of them and it was really fun!
Who knew I would be learning so much about China when I'm in New Zealand!

Sunday was a very hot day. It was about 22°C (72°F) but there was little wind and the sun is really hot here. This is because the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica extends over New Zealand as well. It's really intense! Lots of sunscreen is needed because of the increased UV rays. But of course I needed to take advantage of this sunshine because the weather changes so quickly in Palmy and I'm often reminded how lucky I am to be away from the U.P's Snowpocalypse. Jenny had homework to do, so I spent the day at the Esplanade Gardens! 

There was a free concert in the park, I got some Hokey Pokey ice cream, and walked around the trails. I came across some more really cool trees and all around enjoyed the day in the sunshine. 

Orientation is this week so I will finally be getting back into school work after a TWO month vacation! Hopefully I'm not too rusty :)

NZ Words & Expressions
"We can just chuck those groceries in the boot (trunk)"

"It's rubbish day tomorrow so make sure you bring what you have into the garage"

"It was nice to meet you! I'm sure I'll be seeing you heaps"

"If you get lost, just ring me and I'll come pick you up"

"Today is a good day to go swimming, did you bring your togs? (swim suits)"


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Far out, mate!

Kia Ora! I have kind of a collage of a post today....

- Rugby is to New Zealand as Football is to America. Cricket is also very big. Right now, the Sevens are being held in Wellington. This is a series of rugby games in which the teams are made up of 7 players instead of the usual 15. The fans are really crazy at these games. They dress up in outrageous costumes in hopes to get featured on TV.

- NZ only has 8 TV channels. People can buy "Sky TV" which is like satellite. The news only comes on once a day at 6:00. Also, there's a station called Maori TV which has different shows that can teach you the language or give the news in Maori perspective. If you're curious:
I've been watching Kōrero Mai.

- Most people in New Zealand enjoy an afternoon tea

- I haven't had a drink here yet and I'm way over the legal age! The drinking age here is 18 and I will be turning 21 in about two weeks. But the 21st birthday is still significant here, as it's their "becoming an adult" age. I guess we're opposites in that topic
Tui is an NZ beer

- Here's some house pictures!
My bedroom

Maori art and cool wallpaper in the front room

A Maori man and pāua shells - these are large, edible sea snails that are considered a delicacy in NZ and the shells are often used for jewelry

- The downtown is centered around The Square. There are lots of shops, a public library, a mall, a pond, and random art.

NZ Words & Expressions:

- top up = to pay your bill

- take away = fast food, take out, to-go

- lolly = refers to candy in general

- I say "thank you" and NZ replies "that's okay" or "no worries"

- "far out!" 

- "hot as", "cheap as", "sweet as" - like when I said "mean as" but they use it on words for emphasis

- The letter 'Z' is pronounced 'Zid'

Whānau - Maori for family (pronounced "fah-no") and this is used in daily language whether people speak Maori or not


Monday, 10 February 2014

Wind Power

Kia Ora!

Today Jenny and I walked to The Warehouse, which is a big store that sells just about everything, kind of like Walmart or K-Mart. She needed to buy shampoo, and it was $8 ! I think I'll wait until my little bit runs out before I get some myself. There's no jaywalking in New Zealand, but cars are supposed to stop for all pedestrians if they are able. Otherwise, it's just a free for all. I got some cool shots of New Zealand trees!
Palm trees are not native to New Zealand, but many people plant them because they grow pretty good here and they look nice in people's yards

I'm obsessed with these ones! They're so cool

This is a Pohutukawa, the New Zealand Christmas Tree. Just before Christmas, these trees will blossom with bright crimson flowers that last through January. They look like this:

Later on, David took Jenny and me up to see the windmills. They were huge! One windmill powers 900 houses. This particular wind farm, called Te Apiti, has 55 of them scattered around. Windmills generate nearly 5% of the country's electricity, but they're becoming more popular. The biggest source of power here is hydroelectricity. 

Here you can see the speed limit signs! 30 km/hr

The weather can change in minute in NZ! It was sunny and warm in town, and once we got up to the windmills it was so cloudy and rainy! We still got a decent view, but didn't get to stay very long. And when we got back home it was nice and sunny again - so weird! Then for dinner we had a traditional lamb roast, Kumaru (a Maori sweet potatoe), corn on the cob, broccoli, and peas. Yum, veggies! We have water with almost every meal, often times flavored with lemon that grows right in their yard. Also, we always have dessert after dinner. I am okay with this. More Jelly Tip ice cream! :)

I'm going to open up a New Zealand bank account tomorrow, and I'm excited to see how it works over here since I'm a teller back home. I'll keep you posted!

Aroha, (Love)

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Pork Chop Hill

Hello, hello!
My host family is so nice. David is the father and he was in the New Zealand Navy for 23 years. Helen (or Rongonui) is the mother and she is of Maori descent. She speaks to her son, Rawiri, only in Maori and David speaks only in English so that he is bilingual. The Maori language was almost lost a few decades ago and the people here have done a really good job at reviving it. They opened a school here in Palmerston North that Rawiri goes to that is taught only in Maori. To go to this school, the student must have at least one parent that commits to speaking only Maori with their child, just like Helen is doing with Rawiri. I’m really excited to begin my Socializing in Maori class (except they call it a “paper” here) so that I can practice the language with them.
They have a very nice house and they have two cats named Pongo (Maori for “black”) and Tika (Maori for “tiger”). And guess what, I have a cat named Tiger too! There is also another exchange student from China living here with me. Her name is Jenny and she is studying Air Traffic Control.
Jenny and me at Anzac Park (or as the locals call it, Pork Chop Hill) which over looks the city of Palmerston North

I learned that New Zealand is known for their ice cream and I am very excited about this because I love ice cream. I tried some called “Jelly Tip” and it was delishhh-ous :)  It had strawberry jelly in it with little chocolate flecks and we put chocolate sauce (Hershey’s syrup) on it. YUM. Of course, this was after our dinner of Schnitzel, a breaded thin beef, corn on the cob, which is so in season right now it’s amazing, and a fresh salad with everything grown right here in Palmy. I also tried some really tasty chocolate cookies called Tim Tams.
I found this image of Tim Tams on Google. Also, I’m using New Zealand Google. It’s basically the same, but it’s and I feel cool using it :)

NZ Words & Expressions:
biscuit = cookie
mean as = cool, like “oh yeah, that’s mean as!”
I asked, “where should I put my plate?” and Helen said, “just chuck it in the dishwasher”.
Kia Ora = Maori for “welcome” or “hello”
flatting = to live in an apartment with friends
rubbish = garbage
bush = the woods, except we call it the bush at home too
bach = camp or vacation home

That’s all for now!

My First Blog Post!

Welp, here I am in New Zealand. I meant to start this blog before I left the US so I could capture the whole experience, but you know how it is with time… I can never quite keep track of it.
My first time traveling went very smoothly - no problems at all. And people in airports are very nice! It's really fun to see where everyone's going to or coming from and hear a little bit of their life story. Oh! Speaking of people being nice. I wanted to write a blog in America specifically to talk about nice people at home. I guess I’ll have to mention it here. The amount of support I received before going on this trip was overwhelming. Seriously, you guys. I have so much love for everyone. Cheesy, I know. But I am so lucky to have so many unreal friends, a loving family, wonderful neighbors, and great co-workers and professors. Thanks everyone, so much, for making this journey a whole lot easier. I’m surprised at how little I was actually nervous! This is a heck of a long trip for a little cooped up U.P. girl! The total travel time for this trip was 30 hours. It’s not as bad as it sounds though, and airports aren’t even scary. Also, sorry if my writing style is a little all over the place… I’m a math major – what do you expect? So bear with me, I’ll try to get better. Also in the future I’ll post pictures. More pictures, less words. There’s a bird hopping around the airport; everyone thinks it’s casual. Was that the proper use of a semi-colon? Holy cow, I’m in New Zealand. I can’t wait to see what this semester has to offer.
Wish me luck, America. Keep in touch!
p.s. I will not have a phone over here, so if you would like to get ahold of me you can e-mail me (, facebook me, or send me a letter! Feel free to ask me for my host family’s address :)
Ok, bye for real !