I arrived in
the capital of New Zealand, in August.
I have been publishing a column for five years in Scoop
Media based in Wellington. Scoop is now the fourth highest trafficked
news web site in New Zealand, having surpassed older, larger news services.
Thanks to Alastair Thompson, publisher of Scoop, I am staying in a "batch,"
a seaside cottage in Pukerua
Bay outside of Wellington, overlooking the ocean. It was winter when
I arrived -- a welcome break from the heat of the US in summertime.
One of my favorite places in Wellington is the Te
Papa Museum, which right now has a wonderful exhibit of Constable's paintings.
To get around, we helped Alastair buy a used car on Trade
Me --- New Zealand's e-bay. It is cheaper to finance a friend buying
a car then to rent a one. The car drove a group of us for an all day drive north to
Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, and the center of commerce.
B&B's are popular in New Zealand. Thanks to Mary Evan's of Heron's Flight,
I knew to stay at Great
Ponsonby B&B, a terrific one in Auckland.
I went up to Mary's winery and cafe, Heron's
Flight, in Matakana above Auckland, and spent several days meeting and
talking with local leaders about sustainable development. If you are ever in this
area, a lunch at the cafe at Heron's Flight is a magical experience. If you are not
in the area, their superb wines can come to you.
While I was at Heron's Flight, I stayed at one of the most beautiful and restful
B&B's I have ever seen, Terra
One of the most knowledgeable (and charming) people that I met was Joe Polaischer
who teaches permaculture at his farm near Mary: Rainbow
Joe impressed upon me the importance of going to the local farmers markets that
Saturday. There were two markets for farmers and the quality of the food was simply
Village Farmers Market
With a few stops to see folks on the way back to Auckland, I then took a ferry
out to speak on Waiheke Island where I stayed at The
Artstay, the magnificent home of Claude and Gabriella Lewenz.
After a series of meetings in the Auckland area, I drove to Thames where colleagues
are working with the
Maori people. One of the themes heard again and again is the importance
of Maori culture to New Zealanders. A recurring theme in many conversations was the
importance of spiritual practice to transforming our world and our economy. That often
leads back to the impact of the Maori on New Zealand culture.
One of the most uniformly recommended web sites for information on the New Zealand
economy is the government's New
Zealand Treasury web site.