Last week Dr. Hackett alerted me to this photo and link:

It’s from a news article about the US desire to expand military facilities in New Zealand.

So, here is Hilary Clinton in a traditional Maori hongi–a physical welcome which involves pressing noses–representing a union between heads of state.

As I reflect on my time in New Zealand and compare what I learned about Maori culture and NZ parliamentary procedure  to US political procedure, I can’t help but think that a hongi would help humanize any dialogue. It just seems so civilized!


In another delightful ripple from our May trip, Ellie Spresser is exhibiting her photographs from the adventure at Java Monkey in Decatur this month–some wonderful images worth looking at. She shows a series from the sunrise walk in Whakarewarewa (let’s see, who can spell that? Kris? Meghan? I’ll buy you a coffee!) — compositions showing how rock and steam can be happy companions, (this may bae related to the item in the first paragraph–US navy bases and New Zealand. I don’t know which is rock and which is steam…). She also shows other beautiful shots, and they make a solid worthwhile show (which is hard to do!). Go into town and enjoy a cup of your favorite hot beverage and see Ellie’s show! She also displayed an excellent sheep image in a recent pin up show at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. I know for a fact that the original image is no longer available (it went to an overzealous art teacher you have all heard of…), but I think she may be available to satisfy you if you want one too…


Otago University (Dunedin)

In Dunedin–Dr. Hackett’s friend, Dr. Peter Norris headmaster of St. Margaret’s College (a residence hall at the University of Otago), hosted our group in their dining hall. The hall felt quite formal–built of dark room and stained glass, and tall ceilings and equipped with a “high” table at the front of the room where the professors and professional staff and their families sat. Students were entertained by the residents there and given some tours of the area. After dinner we were presented with lectures on images from Chris Brickell and Annabel Cooper of the gender studies department. The following day we were treated to a lively tour of campus by Sandra McAndrew and a presentation by  Professor Tom Brooking, who wrote the history of New Zealand text that we used for the class. Brooking based his lecture on 16 questions that we had prepared for him while studying his book which made for a lively lecture. The Oak tree pictured was planted in 1880. !

Albatross Hunt

The Monarch tour is a small boat that tours Otago harbour — we boarded about 40 minutes out of Dunedin. The Taiaroa Head feeds out into the sea and it is home to albatross chicks. We saw four chicks on land (they looked like white lumps), and multiple large wing-spanned birds on the high ocean waves (although Rachel, the captain, described the wind as whispering). We saw several (shy) blue penguins, fur seals and yes, several albatross.Very cool










Queenstown is a ski, recreational and adventure spot. The ski season is ramping up, but there isn’t snow. We’ve had (fortunately for the traveler) unseasonably warm temperatures, so there isn’t the load of visitors here that clearly the town is designed for. This was an R&R stop for us –activities included: laundry, checking out troublesome red itchy spots, visiting the dentist, zip-lines, hikes, gondolas, eating, side trip to Milford Sound (Nell), Lord of the Rings tour (where Melissa was offered a job because the guide thought her so knowledgeable), “shotover” jet boat rides, canyon swinging, an ice bar (which was -8 C)…and more (I did hear something about bungis and planes, but I can’t substantiate any claims to unsanctioned activities). Queenstown is set on a beautiful lake, against “the Remarkables”, a mountain range where each peak has its own super power. Our last student presentation on ecofeministm (The geological/environmental situation in New Zealand; The laws and policies that are in place in attempts to address concerns; Eco-feminist critique of those laws and policies). [more images of adventures to come as students add on–or visit individual fb pages]










Toilet = bathroom

rubbish = trash

serviette = napkin

napkin = diaper (very odd looks if you ask for a napkin)

“sweet as” = cool

no problems = cool

having you on = putting you on

flat white = delicious coffee that is addictive



shout = buy (as in “I’ll shout you a coffee”)

take away = take out

ring up = call

hokey pokey = ice cream (all ice cream, milk, yogurt is really good)

yas = you all

drinking = what everyone expects you to do because why wouldn’t you?

gum boots = rubber boots

spesh = special

same = me too

sorted out = organized

see how we go = see how it goes

also, they farm deer here. It’s odd to see deer acting like cows



Our guide is from Christchurch, and although we cancelled activities that we had originally planned there because of the earthquake, she thought we should see it–it was along our journey. We were there on a Sunday, and it was strangely quiet. People were coming from New Zealand to see it. People would walk up to the fences surrounding downtown and just lean in and look–the whole place felt a bit like a memorial. The Bridge of Remembrance is an icon erected in WWII, but now seems to serve a different purpose. All of the buildings are coded according to weather they are inhabitable or up for demolition. The spray painted markings reminded me exactly of the “x codes” on all the houses in New Orleans after Katrina. A church with all it’s windows fallen had a sign on it that read “broken but still beating”.