I have been very excited for our Wellington trip for a while because it would provide a nice little break between exams. Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and I was looking forward to touring the Parliament building. I met Caroline and Meghan at Unilodge to be picked up by the super shuttle and as we were getting ready to leave I was cornered by Jessica. Jessica has been working on creating a video time capsule that she wants to release in 5 years and she has captured all of us leaving a message for our group for sometime in the future. This little powwow got very emotional and this was the last time I would see Jess before I was leaving. Jessica is one of the kindest, caring, funny and creative people I have ever met. Every time I am with her we have a great time and I am going to miss her so much. We left each other with a big hug and the elevator closing between us felt like we should be in a movie. Meghan was very nervous that we were going to miss the shuttle so she was waiting downstairs and it pulled up just as I was walking out. The flight to Wellington was absurd because once we got in the air the pilot made the announcement that we had reached our cruising altitude and that flight attendants should prepare for descent. We were outside catching a cab to our backpackers by 9:20. We were all very tired but we agreed that we should walk around the town a little and check it out on what is considered to be “Student Night.”
We woke up at 9am and by 10 we were on Cuba Street searching for a cute cafe for breakfast. After breakfast we headed over to iSite to get more feedback on the itinerary I had created days earlier. Our first stop of the day was the Parliament Building. It was very, very cold so we decided to take the bus. Catching the bus was easy, but getting off was a little more challenging than expected. We missed the stop to get off and realized just as we were passing “the beehive.” The Parliament building is known as “The Beehive” because of its beehive shape. The windy roads made the next stop seem like miles away, so we agreed we would just ride the bus back and get off at the correct stop. The buses in Wellington are on cable wires like the cable cars in San Francisco, and suddenly the hook that attaches the bus to the wire detached and it sounded like a bolder rolled off of the hill and onto the top of the bus. It took a long time for the bus driver to figure out the issue, let alone fix it, and by this time we had missed the 11am tour. When the bus was hooked back up we continued on our way and laughed to each other as more and more people evacuated the bus; we were the last ones sitting. The bus driver finally came to the back of the bus, where we were sitting, and asked us what happened. We apologized and he told us he would let us know when to get off next time but we would be at this stop for another 10 minutes. When we picked back up we were all so nervous about missing the stop that we overshot it and ended up getting off near where the bus had broken down about an hour earlier. We laughed about how much we messed up and that we would miss the 12 tour as well. The Parliament building was first entering our sight from afar at 11:50 and so we just grabbed a cup of coffee and warmed up. After two failed attempts, we finally made the 1pm tour! The tour was very interesting. We learned about the party system, how committees are formed and the process of presenting to committees. We even entered the Maori Affairs committee room which is one of the most decorative rooms, it was beautiful. The room was filled with carvings and paua shells, it really was spectacular. We also went below ground and learned about the reconstruction on the building to make it earthquake proof- I was amazing the building now has the ability to move an inch in any direction to absorb the shock of the quake. We got to enter the House of Representative Chambers and it was so cool to see this room that I had seen on the news and youtube videos when watching Parliament in action. In April 2013, the House voted 77 to 44 to legalize gay marriage in New Zealand and after I saw Maurice Williamson’s speech about legalizing same sex marriage, I knew I had to find out more about New Zealand politics. I enjoyed the tour around the Beehive, the Parliament Building and the Library very much and it is a must do in Wellington. Even if you do not have the chance to visit, a virtual tour is available online.
After the tour we made our way to Wellington’s Cable Car which would take us up to the “Scenic Lookout.” The Cable Car was very short and fun but the lookout was not too exciting. When we got to the top it started pouring, and we had little desire to walk through the Botanical Gardens in the rain.After lunch we went back to our Backpackers to study and relax because the weather was too bad to continue walking around.
The next morning we got up early and spent the day at the Te Papa Museum. Te Papa Tongarewa “the place of treasures of this land” is the National museum and art gallery of New Zealand. The museum houses the largest colossal squid and the skeleton of Phar Lap (1926-1932), a famous race horse.The museum has exhibits showing the history of women’s rights, New Zealand military involvement in wars around the world, Maori weapons, and so much more. The museum had 6 floors and the top floor was the art gallery. When we walked up the stairs we head the beautiful art of a pianist who lured us in to view the most unique piano I have ever seen. We stayed and listened to her play for a while and her music was heard throughout the entire exhibit.
After the museum we met up with Sim and Josh, our Arcadia friends who are studying in Wellington, on Cuba Street. We walked around for a little and then decided to get lunch to escape the cold. After lunch, they showed us to an adorable chocolate store that makes incredible Oreo Hot Chocolate. Josh and Sim had to return to studying so after we said our goodbyes we headed back to Cuba Street to do some shopping before we left for the airport.