The Auckland area is home to 1/3 of New Zealand's population. In addition it is surrounded by some wonderful nature preserves that we were able to visit with terrific guides. We also had some lectures by experts in geology.

XYZ Neighborhood

Auckland's downtown business district is adjacent to the harbor. The Sky Tower contains a hotel, restaurants, and the SkyJump bungee-jumping concession. One afternoon as we waited for dinner we were able to see someone dive off!

The working part of the port has been moved to another location. This former warehouse area is now being redeveloped with condos, shops and other attractions.

Earth mother & Sky father

We were introduced to the Maori, the first settlers of New Zealand, at the Auckland War Memorial and Museum.

The Maori creation myth starts with Papatuanuku, the earth mother, and Ranginui, the sky father. Even though they had numerous children, they clasped each other so tightly that the children were imprisoned between them. It wasn't until one son forced them apart that light came into being and the world was created.

This and other mythical and genealogical stories are told in the traditional carvings.

The tattoos shown here are known as moko and include information about status and family origin.

Courting gannets

There is a Gannet breeding colony west of Auckland along the shore. Young unmated birds, generally hang out on the edge of the colony like teens at the mall looking to score with the opposite sex.

Apparently this pair has found true love. Gannets mate for life like many other birds.

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