New Zealand Visit 2019
This past July I had the pleasure of traveling for the second time in two years to New Zealand where a dear friend invited us to stay with him on the island of Rakino where he lives. The boat ride to Rakino, the only way in which to get there, is about a 45 minute ride and passes some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. An ocean scape of stunning beauty scattered with islands, the occasional Orka or smaller dolphin pod, fishing boats, yachts and rainbows. I learned that New Zealand was the last place that humans colonized and therefore is less impacted by our natural bent to grind the living planet into dust. However, on the two large islands, North Island and South Island, the evidence of modern humans is inescapable. The once native forests have been largely replaced with pine forests for lumber which are allowed to establish and grow, creating numerous ecosystems for many species which are then brutally dislocated when the artificial forest is razed for its lumber several years later. Alongside these perfectly spaced pine forests are lush, rolling valleys of sheep and cattle pasture where bucolic images of sheep and Black Angus lounge and feed all day. These creatures are where New Zealand gets its fame for some of the best meat in the world's meat industry, meat still safe from Mad Cow disease.
There were no cats or rats in New Zealand until humans arrived with these pests and which quickly laid waste to the flightless birds, especially the renowned Kiwi bird, where New Zealanders get their pet nick-name from. Unlike Australia, New Zealand has no dangerous bugs or animals. Unlike Australia, everything creeping or crawling or flying in New Zealand does not want to kill and eat you. The temperate weather offers a stable growing zone where pretty much any agricultural industry can thrive, and they do! New Zealand is likely the closest thing to paradise on Earth!
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