Kia ora

Linda Lou Burton posting about Wellington, New Zealand from Little Rock, Arkansas – Ha! It is raining in Little Rock this morning, a soft, gentle rain, no thunder, no downpour. Only 79 degrees, here in July! I take credit for such a gentle day, because I am mentally in Wellington today (where I had PLANNED to be before COVID-19 struck the world and shut down travel anywhere). Mentally, I’m taking note of differences, and similarities, between Little Rock and Wellington. I’ve already mentioned they are about the same in number of people, but with different seasons in effect, time to be out and about today differs by nearly five hours. Little Rock’s summer daylight will last 14 hours. Wellington’s winter sunrise happens just before 8 this morning; sunset occurs just after 5.

So, with not a minute to waste, I (would have) scheduled two tours in Wellington yesterday. A morning bus tour to get the highlights of the city up close. And an afternoon helicopter ride for a bird’s eye view of everything. That would mean that today I’m in the know about where I’d want to spend more time, and, a bonus, by listening to my guides, I’d have learned a very important word.

And that important word is Kia ora.

  Kia ora is generally pronounced KEE-au-ra but however it sounds the point is Hi! or G’day! Interchangeable as a salutation, or farewell, or even an expression of thanks, the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage website lists it as one of 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know. Yes, it is from the Māori language; the word “ora” as a noun means “life, health, vitality.” It’s an attitude; a way of life. It’s an inclusive, uplifting expression, kind of an “air hug,” a verbal smile.

Kia ora, a beautiful word. You’ll hear it everywhere, and you’ll see it printed on everything from jewelry to doormats. It’s the name of Air New Zealand’s inflight magazine; and the greeting they sent me when they confirmed my reservation. And, when they had to cancel it.

So I’m really in Little Rock today. But here’s what I would have done yesterday, if I could have.

Morning By Land

Hammonds Wellington Sightseeing Tours,

Just my style, friendly and down-to-earth tour guides for back and forth chats. A tour bus with focus on accessibility so I can get off and on with ease. Stops at places of great interest to me: New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings and Beehive. Old Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Wellington Botanic Gardens . Wellington Cable Car. Mount Victoria.

Afternoon By Air

Wellington Helicopters, GCH Aviation,

A daring do in a windy city, but what could be better that flying over downtown Wellington and the harbour from the luxury of an EC130 helicopter? Nine minutes and a birds-eye view of iconic buildings such as Te Papa, the Beehive and the Cake Tin. Magnificent!

A nap after that, a fabulous dinner, a good night’s sleep. And then a day of focus, first stop, the Capital City stuff, like – the Beehive. That’s my next post, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, wherever you are and whatever your weather today, go to these websites that surely are the pride of New Zealand, so rich in information you won’t know where to stop.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington

See y’all later, as we say in Little Rock. And from Wellington – Kia ora!