Our next stop was Wellington where we stopped to see a beautiful old church. Even though it looked fairly plain on the outside, it was spectacular inside! It looked like sort of a cathedral made of wood!
I have to say that the botanical gardens there were splendid! Such gorgeous colors and such a stark change from all the snow and ice in Utah!
Desperate to communicate with the outside world since the Internet on the boat is so expensive and extremely difficult to maneuver, this is the only place we could find free wifi!
A beautiful new museum showed us all about the national culture of the native Maori people who came from Taiwain 3000 years ago in boats like this:
….with handwoven sails so that they could be replaced if they were damaged:
So many fascinating exhibits!
And lastly, a visit to the War Memorial that memorializes the tragic battle of Gallapi,in World War I when 18,000 New Zealand soldiers were ordered into a trap and slaughtered! I couldn’t take pictures. Too gruesome. But every New Zealander knows about this battle and one day a year everyone carries a red poppy with them for the day since many of the soldiers were killed in a field of red poppies.
The next day was a Sunday. Last Sunday we had a chance to speakto our group briefly at a meeting on the ship. We had so much fun speaking to this group on sea days. Since most of our group are LDS, we traveled for about 90 minutes on three buses to an Mormon church service out in the beautiful countryside. The meeting was lovely. As always it was so nice to see the church in action in a different culture. Great talks and a delightful song by a beautiful little girl.
Nearby was a gorgeous Maori meeting house where we were treated to a Maori ceremony and a welcome from a terrific group of villagers who had spent the entire day before and since 6 a.m. that morning preparing a traditional Maori lunch for about 110 of us. The meeting included remarks in Maori from an Anglican Priest as well as a representative of our church who had a missionary journal from a Mormon missionary who had arrived there in 1888 and stayed until 1892. Fascinating! There are a lot of Mormons in New Zealand as a result of his and many other’s efforts, including Matthew Cowley.
Beautiful music and beautiful souls!
The meeting ended with a personal greeting to each of us as we went through the line and received a “nose rubbing” and a kiss on the cheek. Note the noses on the far right of the next picture:
It was a heart-warming experience! The “tin foil” dinners complete with delicious tender pork, chicken and beef, potatoes and bok choi were waiting for us as we entered their gathering place next door.
Nice salads, desserts and more great Maori music from warm and welcoming people made it a memorable day!