Category: Uncategorized

Olivia Hurst

Pre-New Zealand Whilst packing for my trip abroad, I listened to a variety of New Zealand musical artists. One thing I did not know is that the popular singer Lorde is from New Zealand which was pretty cool to find out. Also, some alternative bands that I’ve listened for a while I found out were from New Zealand as well. A new New Zealand artist that I happened upon, a band called Fat Freddy’s Drop, was quite enjoyable. They have a unique sound of reggae, soft rock, and R&B. It was interesting, they were very groovy! I’m really excited to explore some bars with live music while were in the city areas of New Zealand!   On the plane from Houston to Auckland, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a young man who was from New Zealand probably in his late twenties on his way back home. His name was Cy. He recommended to me some comedy movies to watch that he claimed to be “New Zealand pop culture classics.” The movies I watched on the treacherously long plane ride were What we do in the Shadows, and Boy, both by director Taika Waititi (who also was the director of a recent blockbuster Thor: Ragnarokif I’m not mistaken). Both movies were hilarious! I especially loved Whatwe do in the Shadows.Its filmed as if it’s a documentary and...

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Wyatt Carnes

Wyatt Carnes Auckland & Pahia Auckland is the economic heart of New Zealand. This economic dynamism has drawn both educated professional immigrants as well as working class immigrants. You can see the influence in the diversity of restaurants and languages along Queen Street and the surrounding streets headed towards the harbor. In terms of assimilation, it’s my perception that both the immigrants and locals have started to create a cosmopolitan culture that lies somewhere in between.   On our last day in Auckland before heading onto Hobbiton, I made a stop at Cafe Habibi, a local hookah bar off Queen Street. At first, I sat alone and watched the locals wander by along the street. The first thing that struck me was the diversity of street dress — modern Asian influences on silhouettes mixed with traditional Western styles to create a unique dress. Secondly, the cafe boasted a robust blend of cultures. For instance, the cafe was in the traditional arabic style and was worked by Chinese immigrants. The clientele was equally diverse.   I spent the evening having conversations with three locals — Maya, Livia, and Melissa who were all Auckland locals that had driven in from the suburbs. They were respectively a film grad student, TSA worker, and a retail clerk. They lived in mixed suburbs in terms of ethnicity, but none of them were plugged into...

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Taylor Drake

Taylor Drake Blog #2: So It Begins We’ve spent one week in New Zealand. On our first day in Auckland, I stopped by a record store named “Real Groovy Records.” It had this beautiful flashing neon sign out front, and I couldn’t resist. We went in and took a look around. I showed the boys how to use a record player, we listened to some ABBA, and planned to head out. As we were heading up the steps, I heard a song – “Human,” by Kimbra. I started to sing along (because that song is my JAM), and I noticed a girl working at the counter was also singing along. We made eye contact, started jamming together, and had a cool little moment. We stopped and chatted for a while about music, where we were from, etc. She told me she had a band, she was born in Eastern Europe and that her parents moved to NZ when she was a toddler, but she was planning on moving to London soon. This peaked my interest. From what I’d seen of New Zealand it was a wonderful place – why would anyone want to leave? She said it was because she didn’t have much of a chance to succeed here as an artist. The music that she made was neither mainstream enough nor “kiwiana” enough to gain any popularity. “Kiwiana.”...

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Abby Jacobson

Abby Jacobson Blog #1 Blog 2 One talking point that I find particularly interesting is Kiwi’s views on the environment and New Zealand’s reputation as being one of the “greenest” developed countries in the world. I am personally very interested in environmental concerns. I live about a three minute walk from the beach in Los Angeles, California, so I have witnessed firsthand the destruction and damage caused to the environment by human waste, pollution, and overcrowding of large cities. For this reason, I feel very strongly about investing significant time and resources towards protecting and preserving the earth. Before coming to New Zealand, I had heard about their reputation as a very environmentally-conscious developed country, and was excited to learn more about what exactly Kiwis do to prioritize the health of the environment.   It was really interesting to learn about traditional Maori culture and how they perceived the earth as their mother. While we were in Russell, our tour guide Daryl explained to our group how Maori’s initially had a very difficult time comprehending the idea of land ownership. They saw the earth the one who had gifted them everything; they couldn’t understand how one could possibly sell or own it. I believe these traditional values regarding the environment influence Kiwi’s values today, and help explain why they so highly regard protecting the environment. From my experience, it...

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Shawn Potwardowski

Shawn Potwardowski Journal Entry #2 Life, Death, and the Peculiar Afterlife of Culture Where does a culture come from? Sometimes it’s out of survival, sometimes it’s for art and expression’s sake. One thing is for sure though, and that is that cultures hit a peak, they die, and then they somehow lurk around like fog in a cemetery. New Zealand strikes up an especially interesting case of this serenade that is called the life cycle of culture. The Maori people, the indigenous group who first landed in New Zealand, practiced some of the most identifiable and unique traditions I’ve ever witnessed, from extreme violence in hand to hand combat, music and art. This stronghold of rich culture however seemed no match for the British who came to the island several hundred years later. After excruciating dilemmas for years, in the 1900’s, Maori culture had seemed to stoop to its lowest popularity and support level in history. After the British realized the true shame of ridding the country of Maori culture, steps were made to start its reintroduction back into the population. With Maori language, traditions and lifestyle being a large part of Kiwi schooling, as we saw at Mahurangi College, the culture seems to be receiving much needed attention and a revival, or so it seems in the superficial sense. I had the privilege of asking an individual in...

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Will Barham

Will Barham Journal Entry #1 / The beginning of a Journey: The Fellowship of the Ring I would have to say the beginning movie of this legendary trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, is my favorite. I believe the beginning of a story, the setup, build up, or what have you is one of the most important aspects. It dictates how the story will go and also has to prepare one’s audience for what is to come. This movie introduces to our main characters, Frodo, Sam, and Gandalf, throws us into this fantasy world, and introduces an already developing story that we can’t help but falling in love with right from the minute they leave the shire. It also ends with Frodo and Sam atop a mountain eyeing Mordor in the distance. This scene culminates the “beginning” of this trilogy by revealing the remaining journey ahead. I believe this movie relates to the journey we are about to embark on, particularly this current moment of it. We are at the very beginning. Packing up our bags, finalizing flight details, and preparing for the beginning of this once in a life time experience.  We are all a little scared and nervous of what is to come, just like Sam and Frodo, but yet we are exhilarated for a journey and experience we know nothing about. We will all meet up,...

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Peter Do

Peter Do New Zealand: A Media Empire As part of the awesome adventure I and 24 of my best friends are about to embark on, we had to do complete some of the most difficult assignments I have ever encountered … watch movies and listen to music! With all jokes aside, I decided to watch the 2 hour and 58 minute long movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) directed by Peter Jackson. When I began this movie, I was expecting a Harry Potter type feeling or or something similar to the TV series, The Shannara Chronicles. To my amazement, this film perfectly captures the essences of fairy tale and heroism in the perfect way. Very long story short, almost 3 hours to be exact, an unlikely character is tasked with carrying the “precious” ring to a traitorous mountain to be destroyed before everything he knows and loves is destroyed. Don’t think of a 6’2 muscular man who lifts weights when he’s passing the time, but think of a 4-foot hobbit, who gets stabbed multiple times. If you haven’t watched this movie and adore mythical beings with magic and special abilities, you are in for a treat. At any given moment, a dark creature will come looming out of the forest in hopes to find its next meal or the agents of the dark...

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Logan Derbes

Logan Derbes Lord of the Rings Trilogy At first, I was really skeptical about the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the series of films grew on me as I watched them for the first time this past week. Whenever I start a new movie or a series, I try to find something meaningful that runs along with the theme. I found what I liked best about the trilogy was the friendship between Frodo and Sam. It was something that I looked forward to and to see the friendship both grow and fall throughout.  In the very beginning, Frodo and Sam were lighthearted and felt the excitement of adventure that they were destined to go on. But as they realized the power of the ring of Sauron, Frodo began to push Sam away. The loyalty of their friendship is what really caught my attention; Sam never left Frodo’s side even when the ring began to take a toll on Frodo, to me this was the epitome of what a friend of truest form would do. He wanted to share the burden with Frodo, or at least help him stay true to himself while bearing the ring. What broke my heart was the scene during the Return of the King when Sam offered to help Frodo and take the ring to hold for a while as he could see that...

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