Yesterday we took the bus into the city, did a little shopping, then took another bus to the Auckland Domain, a large park which contains the Auckland Museum and the Wintergarden, among other things.
The Auckland Museum had a good section on the New Zealand Civil Wars from about 1840 to 1870 or so, presented from both the Maori and European viewpoints. Basically, the Europeans, as usual, came in and took or bought land and kept pushing the Maori off the best land, cleared the forests for farming, which took away the Maori way of life. There also were many Maori tribes—no one could speak for them all. They ended up largely dispossessed. In the 1970s there was a renewed movement to redress these grievances, and many areas have been returned to Maori control. Many are still under discussion. This problem is not settled. (Overall the museum was a bit of a disappointment. There was no attention to acoustics – and there were a lot of noisy school kids doing something. The museum also had an metallic feel that was a bit off-putting. The Maori-European history that I was able to pick up was interesting. The Maori may have been even worse Maori enemies than the Europeans. L)
The Wintergarden was a couple of glass buildings with many exotic and beautiful plants. (The Wintergarden did not (!) disappoint. Glorious displays that included some really crazy plants. Plants have more variety than animals, I swear. L)
Then we tried to find a place to eat—there didn’t seem to be anyplace near that area that was still open, and we were getting tired of walking, so we caught a bus and returned to the city center by a roundabout route. The bus runs a loop, and we could have gone directly back the way we came, but we decided to go around the rest of the loop to see more of the city.
Back in the city centre, we also had problems finding an open restaurant. I guess a lot of workers leave the city after work. So we finally ended up at a McDonald’s again. Then we caught a bus back to Takapuna where we were camped. Of course, once back in Takapuna, we found plenty of open restaurants. Oh well.
It rained a little yesterday, but mostly not when we were trying to walk. Then it rained last night after we were in the van. We finished packing and turned in.
This morning we ate most of the remaining food we had, finished packing up, and headed off to fuel up and turn in the campervan. End of our adventures in NZ. It is time to head back to the States. We have hit information and sensory overload. Thanks for joining us on our trip.