February 7, 2013 Auckland, New Zealand

February 7, 2013 Auckland, New Zealand

The sheep of New Zealand are more plentiful than the people. New Zealand has a population of 4.3 million people but they boast a sheep population of 45 million. In the 1850’s the first large-scale wool producing operations was established on the North Island. With the invention of refrigerated shipping in 1882, the first ship called the Dunedin sailed from New Zealand to England filled with meat. This was the beginning of a booming meat industry, which began to replace wool as the major export industry. Today, breeds of sheep have been developed to produce a variety of wool and meat types.

We took a bus to the Auckland War Memorial Museum today, which is a short bus ride from downtown. The museum is located on a hilltop, which was the site of great battles and includes nice views out over the city. This is called a war memorial museum but it is a very comprehensive museum with a much greater collection than just the war history of New Zealand. There is a large Maori antique collection, a section on natural history, volcanoes, oceans, a children’s museum, special exhibits, and so much more. We took a guided tour of the highlights of the museum and then explored on our own.

We then walked back to the ship through the Parnell area of town with antique shops, gift shops and many small cafes and restaurants. Auckland is a very well kept city that feels safe and fairly easy to navigate.  The city is full of young people, many of whom are Asian students sent here by families to study and learn English.  It is apparently closer to home and less expensive than studying in the USA.  Many other European young people are here as well.  You might think the average age of people in Auckland was 25 if you judged by the age of the people on the streets.  Some hotties!

We set sail this afternoon for Tauranga. Our friends Patrick and Stephen had disembarked a day earlier to continue their vacation on land and had come to the port to see us off. We miss their laughter and friendship already.

The entertainment on this night was a singer, songwriter and recording artist by the name of Patrick McMahon who is from Australia. He had more energy than anyone I know and bounced around the stage. He sang songs from Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and more.