New Zealand: Hamilton Gardens – Maori Garden

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Here is the traditional entrance to the Te Parapara Garden in Hamilton Gardens, NZ. Notice the carved face sticking out his tongue. This is a gesture you would see in Maori dancing and is a method of intimidating invaders.

New Zealand: Hamilton Gardens – Tudor Garden at Hamilton Gardens, NZ

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In the 16th century the English aristocracy were fascinated by intricate geometric patterns. These Tudor Garden reflects this. There were also knot gardens and some were called fantasy gardens where fantasy plays were held.  Notice the carved heraldic beasts on poles: griffin, dragon, centaur, phoenix, unicorn, satyr and sea serpent. See if you can find “Bottom”  from Shakespeare’s play Midsummer Nights’ Dream.

New Zealand: Hamilton Gardens – New Zealand’s Silver Fern

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Since the 1880’s, the silver fern has been a symbol of New Zealand. It is the most abundant of all ferns in New Zealand. You could not have a botanical garden without the official symbol of New Zealand so here it is growing in Hamilton Garden. 

New Zealand: Hamilton Gardens – New Zealand’s Famous Writer

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Katherine Mansfield may not be a name you know, but everyone in New Zealand knows her. Her famous short story, “The Garden Party” is depicted in a garden in Hamilton Gardens. She is by the way, often considered one of the founders of modern literature.

New Zealand: Hamilton Gardens – Alice in Wonderland in New Zealand

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You never know when you might bump into Alice and Wonderland depictions as you travel around the world. This one was in the Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand. It is truly amazing that this story from centuries ago, has resonated so far and wide. 

New Zealand: Hamilton Gardens – Wooden Mural

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This depiction of real life and imagined life in Hamilton Gardens was an unpaid labor of love for carvers Derek Kerwood and Meghan Godfrey. For this unbelievably intricate carving, the wood came from a single camphor laurel tree which grew on the nearby Waikato river bank.

New Zealand: North Island – Memorial to Chief Tuhourangi

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At the Tanihanga, the Maori passing ceremony, the chief’s canoe would be stood up and semi-buried in the ground. This would be the gratitude and homage paid to the great man, warrior and chief. More designs and carvings (kowhaiwhai) would be added to the already decorated canoe to show tribal connections. In this Pouwairua they honor chief Tuhourangi who once occupied the surrounding lands.

New Zealand: North Island – Tree Top Walk in New Zealand

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New Zealand has lots of trees to walk around in, and on top of. If you climb up here you can get a bird’s eye view of the lush landscape. 

New Zealand: North Island – Vistas

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It almost seems like every turn you take in New Zealand you see another green and lush vista.

New Zealand: Rotorua – Cooking Corn in a Steam Ven

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Our guide threw some sweet corn on the cob into Parekohuru, their largest mineral pool. Mother Nature then took care of the cooking. In 8 minutes, lunch is ready. How smart those Maori people were, to find such a terrific place to live.