Dates of travel: 20.2.2016 – ??. ??. ????
After long discussions we decided that we go to New Zealand.
You will learn more about our trip here. Continuously, we will ascribe individual days and events.
Please note, that this huge page is a diary, it means it is a coherent narration devided in separate parts. If you would llike to see some pictures from our experiences, go to Travel Notes – New Zealand – Photogallery. Pictures are too big to be in the text. You can also search in the left part of Heavi homepage for a topic you are interested in and it´ll open a new page with that topic.
Now, let the journey begin!
Part 1: Journey there or flight and first impressions
Welcome to the first post we are writing from New Zealand.
We flew away at 20. 2. 2016 from Prague airport. In 1.5 hour we were in Frankfurt, where we have trespassed on a plane to Taipei. We had a fear because of medical scans. When passing through the security check every passenger must undergo a health assessment. Specifically, it seems that you have to stand in the glass cylinder and hold your hands above your head until airport employers say that’s enough. It is the device, in which they check your body temperature and if you are infected with dangerous bacteria or a virus. I was afraid of it because unfortunately a few days before departure I got throat infection and on departure I was still taking antibiotics. In short, I was not quite sure of my temperature. Everything went well in Frankfurt and we successfully boarded the next plane. We flew into Taipei for a long time, we boarded at 10:00 in the morning and we were in Taiwan the next day at 5:00 in the morning. We flew substantially to the future, so we need to subtract about 8 hours, which was comprised of the time difference, but anyway – the journey was tiring. When we arrived in Taipei, we were so tired that we quickly found a quiet zone, where we settled down and slept most of the day. The flight to Melbourne departured at half past eleven in the evening.
Airport in Taipei is amazing. There is everywhere a lot of nice staff who gave advise to passengers with a smile and support them when they need something. It is a huge change from the airport in Prague. We had to check in at the beggining of the journey and we met an enormous reluctance of young worker (eg. The question of Helenka: “I was ill and tease even antibiotics, can I take your dose of medication for my flight in hand luggage on the plane? “- answer of the worker:” Well, I do not know. I am not here to know it, you have to ask, as I’m not here from that, I know this. “) and acidic face had substantially all airport personnel. At this airport at Taipei there are also prepared showers for passengers that can be used for free, including all equipment like shampoo, towels, soap, hair-dryer, bathrobe etc. There is plenty of quiet zones, where there are chairs or couches and chairs with blankets and pillows ready for every passenger who passes here, regardless of the class they travel. In our quiet zone was also a vending machine with hot water and drinking cups and dark room with a projection screen with massage chairs (again, free to use for any passenger). It is also possible to use a free trip around the city, funded by the Taiwanese government for all passengers.
Thanks to comfort at the airport the day passed quickly and before midnight we boarded a plane flying to Melbourne. The flight lasted an incredibly long time again, till 14:00 the next day. This time, the time difference is less, only about 2 hours. We already counted off every hour spent in that airplane. We had a head ache from the frequent taking off and descent of turbulence and air in the aircraft. A special moment was when we were somewhere above Indonesia. Our plane “outrun” the speed of rotation of the Earth and from the absolute darkness of the night, we found ourselves, almost in a minute, in the light of day. Finally, our plane reached Melbourne, where was the inspection and after it we had a bit of time to relax. All passengers had to leave the plane with all the things and have to go through the airport, checked again a went to check in and board the ship. Australia has, like New Zealand strict bio control. We also had to undergo a medical scan, there was a random check of all luggage and sorted passengers werechecked also with a device that determines the presence of flammables, explosives and all hazardous elements. With this control, we have also successfully passed a re-boarded the same aircraft and the same site. The last part of the flight from Melbourne to Christchurch should last about three hours. I’ve already started to be a little afraid of how to go through immigration control in New Zealand because Viky had got a work visa, but I haven´t.
Difficulty in obtaining a Working Holiday visa and arrival to New Zealand
Young Czechs to 36 years old can receive a one-year visa to New Zealand, thanks to which they can legally work. Because Zealand is the one of the most expensive countries in the world, working holiday visas are the ideal combination of a visa to travel to the islands and on the way there earn. But it has two big hooks. 1. The number of these visas for Czech Republic is limited to 1200 persons per year. Since the quota opens once a year at a specific time and a visa requests electronically, a person must have great luck to successfully clicked and sent a request online. Many, many people from Czech Republic want to get these visas. Last year the quota was broken down in 10 minutes. You must practice the filling the form and know exactly what to fill. For most people, however, is preparing for filling quotas useless because – regardless of the computer’s performance and speed of your Internet connection – it very often goes down because of overloaded server of the New Zealand immigration office. The screen just turns white and it is not possible to continue. When the server again retorts, the quota has long been dismantled. And exactly such a situation arose in Helenka´s case. Hook of the Working Holiday visa no. 2 is that if someone visas get approved and within a year he or she does not enter the Zealand, he or she has a hard luck and will get no another opportunity. Yes, Viky´s application was approved and not mine. It was therefore the worst option. If we did not even get a visa, we asked for next year, but Viky would lost the opportunity to get to New Zealand, if we would not leave. Such a situation occurs in a lot of couples. It’s like a purpose. We decided to go anyway, Viky with WHS visas and me as a tourist and ask for the WHS Zealand visa again in March 2016.
When we were reading stories of other people we started to be afraid of a possible catastrophic scenario. That was that upon arrival at Zealand they will send us with the next plane back home. A lot of people had a problem at immigration control. Mostly they came with a tourist visa. Or one of the pair has WHS visas and the other goes to the tourist, as we came. The point is that officials are likely to have had some bad experiences with these cases (undeclared work with someone who does not have a work visa etc.), or just slept badly. Anyway, they have a right – based on an interview on arrival – to decide that somebody can´t enter the New Zealand. We did not have these problems, we proceeded as follows:
- I went to the immigration officer first, Viky walked up to me and after disembarking, we did not adhere to each other. If the clerk asked the question: who are you traveling with? I would have to admit that I’m going as a tourist with my husband who has a work visa, officials would probably start to wonder a lot.
- I, as a tourist, had a return ticket, which had been booked on a flight in less than two months. Note: in case of Air China you can change the date of departure several times as you want for a fee of CZK 500. It is only necessary that the departure must be max. till year of original departure. A lot of people are buying a ticket to Australia (the cheapest costs about 3500Kč) and let it fail. In this variant is necessary to have also a tourist visa to Australia, which is free of charge and needs to be addressed about one week in advance. I recommend the return ticket more, it is based on my own experience.
- I hadn´t in my baggage work items neither CVs or recommendation letters.
- It is good be well prepared for the interview and prepare as much as possible. It means I had current account statement from the bank confirmed with the current conversion rate CZK / NZD. Furthermore, it is very good to have printed the notification of booked hotel for the first days (a lot of hotels in New Zealand had the possibility of canceling reservation for free or ability to pay for accommodation directly at the hotel). It looks good when you have a notice there how you get there from the airport. For sure I had an itinerary of my “tourist trip”. It’s basically plan your trip, what places are you going to visit and what you will do there. It might be on the one page. At the official again makes a better impression that you are a tourist who had arrived on the other side of the world and knows what to do in New Zealand, where he or she will stay, what wants to see. The last thing I had is a card with a travel health insurance, which I got from my bank for a few bucks a month. These documents are not necessary, but I highly recommend to have them from my own experience.
The interview: When I was waiting for a free official with the completed arrival card, I listened to what are officials asking people. There was a common question, whether they are traveling alone or with someone. When was my turn and I came toward the window, I was ready to show all the documents. I felt that once the official asks me if I’m here alone, it will be bad. I came to him and thus was the first I apologized that I was not performed in the arrivals residence card, because I didn´t know if I must put there an address of the hotel, even though I’ll be there for just a week. The officer smiled and said yes, I got to give there hotel address. He asked me if I’m in that hotel only on the first night and I said no, I’d be there all week and I showed him reservation. Then I showed substantially all the papers I had with myself (he didn´t want to see them), he asked me if I like Czech Republic (Answer: Yes, this is my home, but I love traveling) and wished me with a smile nice vacation. So I spent there two minutes and I’m sure it went smoothly only thanks to the preparation that I gave it. Then I picked up the bag and walked to the next official, who asked me if I’m taking some outdoor equipment, and if so, what (I showed him a clean pair of shoes that I wore), and if I’m taking some food (dried food of non-animal origin are not prohibited but you have to admit it. So I honestly had listed chocolate, oatmeal powder, pasta). Then we took our luggage. Plenty of dogs looking for drugs and narcotics smelled us, and we’ve had the last ride all the baggage X-ray machine. We made a few steps, and when we saw the inscription: Welcome to New Zealand, all of us have fallen and we were immensely relieved. It was a great feeling.
We took the bus from the airport to get to our confirmed accommodation. Already on arrival to New Zealand you can feel that people here live quite differently than in Bohemia. The driver of the bus was genial lady in the prime of life, she had a radio on the bus and she was the whole way joyfully singing aloud. She asked all passengers who embarked how they are doing. She told us when we arrive to our bus stop. We were not there by ourselves, there were many other passengers. We just stared.
We had booked our accommodations from Bohemia and we found it on one of New Zealand’s server with shared accommodation. The owner of the house we had to live in knew only our Facebook nickname, through which we wrote and once we were speaking through Skype. He knew we were coming 22. 2. At the evening. He wanted us to send him at least some backup through an account yet of the Czech Republic, some to know that we are serious with accommodation. He gave us priority over other candidates he had. But we, because we are accustomed from Bohemia to fraud and deceitful people, we rejected to send him money in advance. The owner took it. At the airport in Taipei we checked FB and we received the message from him that he mistook the data and will not be at our arrival in Christchurch, so let come to the house and there will probably be our roommate Ankit. If he was not there, so let take the keys from the lockbox outside the house and choose a room. Ankit was at home, so everything went well. The second day Ankit went to work and we were left alone in the house. Nothing here is locked. Ankit left us in the doorway his house keys, where he had also the key to his new car, which is in the garage. Can you imagine that trust? Over the Internet you meet with someone from the other end of the post-communist world, with whom you only know the first name and the nickname on Facebook. That someone will refuse to send you backup service, which he or she wants from you. You had to open the door of your home and let him stay there and you have not even seen one, and you have not a grain of certainty that he or she wouldn´t steel your things and so on…
The best thing on traveling is that we can see how things are done elsewhere. It really opens your eyes and then you have the opportunity to compare, if that’s what you thinks is good, really good ….
Part no. 2: First week in another world or how it works here and what it feels like to experience a true earthquake
The first few days after the arrival a man is emerging from a time shift. In the Czech Republic is precisely 12 hours less than in New Zealand. We could say that we are from Bohemia in the future.
If we weren´t just sleeping, we were acquainted with new roommates. We live with the Indian boy Ankit (India accompanies us everywhere) and the French girl Amandine. Ankit works as a software engineer for the city council and Amandine is studying law and she is in New Zealand at her study stay. We understand with each other very well. With Ankit we often discuss the phenomena that we encountered while traveling in India. When we didn´t understand them he has always explained it for us.
We talked for example about the beggars in Mumbai. He told us that begging is officially banned in India, but especially in large cities there is something like Beggar mafia. Beggars basically belong to any boss, who surrender scrounged money and he is in exchange for letting them live, or give them some food. Ankit explained that this is a big problem for India, because the organized mafia often kidnaps children or even old people (or just anyone who can not physically defend themselves) from their families. Mafia maims them to earn more money and begged people then become part of the mafia. The Indian government fought with this cruel problem initially so that these practices were banned and began to harshly punish the culprits. However, this has proved largely ineffective and have not yet begun to make awareness among residents and tourists. For this reason, therefore, is recommended in India to not give any money to beggars, but even a food or drink.
Amandine likes The Lord of the Rings, as we do and loves nature. We have already planned trips to Elrond and Helm’s Deep. It’s strong and outgoing personality.
Honestly, we were a little worried with it, to have a roommate. With Viktor, we have lost the habit to live with other people with whom you share everything except the bedroom. But yet we are comfortable with it and we are glad that it is so.
New Brighton Pier
We also walk to the ocean. At the beach side is a newly established library, which is called New Brighton Pier. Anyone there may to borrow a magazine and sit in a comfortable chair, which is exactly at the glass walls overlooking the ocean. From the library, a long pier leads directly into the ocean. It can be as long as 200 meters. Seagulls are flying around. On the pier (and virtually everywhere in New Zealand) you can catch fish and crabs. You needn´t to have any fishing permit. You may not sell fish and you can´t catch fish for more than one hook or rod. On the pier there are information signs, what kinds of fish there can be caught and if they are good to eat. When we get out of this long walk back home, at one intersection there was a smiling lady waving on us out of the car and asked if we want somewhere to seduce.
Behind our little house I found a small park named Moa Reserve. The interesting thing about it is that there are a large flower beds where the people grow herbs, thyme, sage, mint, parsley, etc. And even rhubarb, onions and garlic, and for all the people who are just in need. There is not a fence or warning sign that it may not tear it. Now here I sit and wonder why at home, Czech Republic, does not work in that way. Czechs are also nice and hearty people, although we have bad habits like swearing, but basically we have a good heart. So what are we doing wrong? Maybe it’s the fact that amongst us is always someone who doesn´t want to “swim with the flow” and doing things the way he or she “feel” that’s good. So when all the neighbors in the Czech Republic agree to take care of the garden and each will take just what he or she needs, always emerge one of them that pick off everything and take it to own home. The others then have no power to correct what one destroyed and a beautiful idea dies. Here are rules that govern everyone without exception. I think that’s why things work differently here.
Choosing a new car
We also found that here is really necessary to have a car. In Christchurch there are no high-rise apartment or blocks so the population here live in small houses with garden. Therefore, Christchurch is a large city. Buses run here, but they are quite expensive – one way worth 3.5 NZD, which is the equivalent of almost CZK 60. A liter of petrol here costs compared to the 1.73 NZD, which is about 29 CZK. Cars that are not too expensive. So we looked at New Zealand advertising server trademe and found our favorite car. We called the owner and he within 15 minutes stopped directly in front of our house. We went with him to his workshop, where he showed us a car that is available and we literally fell in love with Toyota Estima, that has inside a double bed. We drove the car, checked it and the owner took us to the post office, where we made transfer of car ownership (it lasted 2 minutes). After we went to an ATM where we raised money and for a couple of minutes we already drove home with new car.
So Viky first drove the car on the left side, instead on right side, first drove a car with an automatic transmission instead of the manual, first drove the van about five meters long. And you know what? He did it brilliantly!
Yes, the last experience, which we want to share with you is that we firstly experienced the true unadulterated earthquake. The Christchurch earthquakes are relatively common, according to some sources, there are about 1,000 emotionally recognizable earthquakes per a year! Most of them are not serious. The earthquake, which we experienced tonight was reportedly 4.3 on the Richter scale and was 5-20 km deep (http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz).
How can such a person perceives the earthquake? The quake occurred about 4am in the morning, when we were asleep. All night was strong wind blowing, but at one point it sounded like a hurricane, then we awoke. Then we just felt in the dark as to all things, and we have in the bed were gossiping, and heard a strange loud sounds. Immediately we realized it was an earthquake, our hearts were pounding and we just hope anything begins to fall. But after about half a minute everything gone away and the other shakings had not occurred.
Part 3 – Get to know Christchurch surroundings and get to be employed
Port Hills and a job in Christchurch
Thanks, God, we are not ill anymore!!!
So, let´s live. We were on the trip at Port Hills at a weekend. It is a place 10 km far from Christchurch, where are high hills emerging from the ocean. There are a lot of sheep everywhere, sharp rocks were cutting the sky and clusters of grass were glanced in the sun. We started from the car park (there is also starting place of Christchurch Gondola) under the hills. We came to the top by feet. This path was approx. 5 km long and it leads abruptly to the top. Its name is Bridle Path. When European settlers began to settle down in the south island (around 1853) this path linked the new village Lyttelton with Christchurch city.
When we finally reached the top (after one and half hour), there was awesome view waiting for us. We could see Pacific Ocean, Lyttelton Bay, and ambient hills. Water has a perfect blue colour. We could see Christchurch city from one side and Lyttelton Harbour from the other. After some time of went for a walk to neighbouring peaks. There was a big rock massive called Rock Castle and rock outlook. Clouds came and the wind started to blow very strongly. It was like a hurricane up there. Because they were going to close the car park, where we left our car, at 6 pm, we had to hurry a little. We were on the top of the Port Hills long time and the twilight was slowly coming. The way down was very quick.
Work in Christchurch
As soon as we felt better, Viktor started to search for a job. He was seeking on the web, in servers with job offers like seek.co.nz and he was calling to the offers. He was seeking job opportunities such as carpentry or bricklaying. He could reach NZ residency with these positions. When there was phone number missing, he wrote an email. Nobody never answers him on the email. You see, even here is searching for a job so troublesome as in Czech republic. Some employers told him via phone that they don´t want him because he doesn´t have his own tools (it is strange, but every worker has to have his own tools). Or that he doesn´t have New Zealand experience. He started to work for employers agency for some temporary work at the building site for 19 NZD per hour. We had to buy some basic tools . He had to have a hammer, chisels, measuring tape, apron, steel cap boots and other. Without this tools, he couldn´t start to work. So, Viky got the first job. He got it the second day after agency calling. Viktor phoned also at another job offer from Simon. He is an owner of the smaller company which deals with repairing works. They had a meeting and Simon offered a job for Viky from next week. The salary is 23 NZD per hour. It is a manually difficult job, but better paid. I am very curious with my searching for a job. Everybody say that it is more difficult for a girl to find a job here.
Waimakariri River Trip
It is a Saturday and it means free day. We and our flatmate Amandine had a free day. Sun was shining and everything seems perfect. We decide to go for a trip to Waimakariri River (Maori abbreviation: Waimak). This river is approx. 10 km far from our home and according to google pictures looks absolutely amazing. As when you took perfect blue water and knit a blue-white Christmas cake from it. After, we wanted to visit national reservation Battle Lake Forest.
We passed several farms. We were out of the Christchurch city. There were snowy mountains ( Southern Alps) from the one side, in front of us were herds of sheep and cows. We parked our car in front of the bar and went for a walk to the river. We were seeking for the blue-white Christmas cake. Of course, we weren´t so naive to think that we will find exactly same countryside as was the google picture. When we were walking approx. 2 km, the jungle open itself as we reached the river´s bed.
Literally, we tongue-tied when we saw it. The river bed was made of gray-white pebbles. It could be 50 metres wide and we could walk across it. We passed a lot of „basins“ of different sizes with water so clean that we could even drink it if we were thirsty. We cannot stand it and so we took our clothes and jumped to the one of the basins. The water was icy and we could feel the cleanliness through our skins. Our basin was 3 metres deep and we could see every piece of sand in the bottom. There was an earthwork nearby every basin so anybody could see us. We had a perfect privacy and we could walk to the river bank. We have spent there all day. There wasn´t even a piece of polluted civilisation. We didn´t see any garbage, everywhere were just a high trees, clean water, and mountains of Artur´s Pass in the far view.
We spent much time at the river bank. She (oh yes, it was the miss river) was so wild and boisterous and pure and calm at the same time. There are a lot of salmons in Waimak river. Fishing is not forbidden here, but the is always a limit of pieces of salmons in the different places. At this site was a limit of 2 pieces. It is enough.
When we arrived home, it was 7 pm. It was worth to come to Zealand even for today. We missed Bottle Lake Forest, but we are going to go there as soon as possible.
Sunday mass and charming old lady with Czech ancestors
We accustomed to going every Sunday to local church of St. Mary. It is a bishop´s cathedral, so to be prompt, it is St. Mary Cathedral. Because we like to wake up late on Sundays, we visit mass at 10:30 in the morning. At the case of this mass is the choir singing.
Masses are in English of course and are multicultural. There are a lot of Indian, Chinese, Maori, European people,… At the beginning of this mass the priest was asking for distant places from where the visitors were. There were a couple of Panama or Canada and us from the Czech Republic. The church space is pretty different from our European churches. You can enter with several doors. Every door leads to vestibular, where visitors can take a mass programme and paper with songs. There is also cloakroom at the vestibule and a lot of noticeboards. There is also a big basket of food, which is blessed during the mass and after the mass they give it out to families in need. This basket is brought during the gifts fetching. There is always comfortable temperature in the church. It is an open space with mosaic windows without baroque garishness. The mass has the same order as in Europe with one exception – visitors are more involved into the mass. Somebody brings the gifts, somebody else reads, … People are changing their roles. There is a lot of ministrants, boys and girls, but there are like a decoration there. They usually hold candles or take care of fumigation. When is the Holly Intaking, everybody can drink from the chalice. After we accepted the body of Christ, we also came to miss, who was holding the chalice. She was wiping the place, where the man before us was drinking from. Before I was drinking one old man (85 approx.) and there was a piece of Christ´s body in the chalice. I saw when I was drinking from it too. It was a little disgusting. Viky went after me. From this time, we don´t want to drink from chalice anymore.
After the mass the priest stay in the vestibule of the church and is talking to everyone who wants to talk with him. There is coffee and tea available in the vestibule so people can chat.
When we were at the mass for the first time and was reading a noticeboard at the vestibule, an old charming lady came to chat with us. Her name is Sally. When we told her where are we from, her eyes started to shine and she told us her grandma was also from Czech republic. Her name was Elisabeth Polashek (common Czech name Alžběta Poláčková)
And she had sailed to New Zealand in the first boat of Czech migrants sometime in the nineteenth century when she was only 14. Sally told us, that this boat reached northern cape of the northern island (close to today’s Auckland city) and the emigrants met there a friendly Maori tribe. This tribe took them several kilometres opposite the river flow and showed them a fertile part of the country, where they could settle down. It was a beginning of Czech village Pohoi, where has the best cheese company its origin.
Sally told us she visited the Czech Republic and she fell in love with Prague.
Can you see how small the world is?
Bike trip to Bottle Lake Forest Reserve
Do you know I have a bike? I don´t think so…
To be movable we had to find some vehicle for me. It is very difficult to live here without own transportation. We went to The Commons after Sunday´s mass. It is nearby. There is a hut opened every Sunday afternoon, where can everybody borrow bike tools for free and repair a bike. Or to ask somebody for a help or for an advice. 🙂 It was for free or better to say for a voluntary donation. You can also buy there second-hand bike. We found there one and bought it for 50 NZD.
The next day I took the bike and rode to the reserve approx. ten kilometers distant. I rode almost all of the way along the river on the road with very low traffic. I also rode through wetlands. It was absolutely gorgeous there. There is right next to the main highway reserve without any fence, without any garbage and full of water birds. I saw there white ducks (for sure it were ducks) or a lovely couple of black swans. Black swan has much thinner necks than the white ones. When I reached Bottle Lake Reserve, it was about 1pm. Bottle Lake reserve is a huge complex of forests and meadows, the paths are accessible only for pedestrians, horses or mountain bikes. Nature is ruling there. There are also a few arbours in the forests.
As you can notice from the name, the reserve contain a lot of small lakes. When you ride through forests to the north direction, you will reach Spencer´s Park. Spencer´s Park is made mainly with wetlands. It is a place, where the Waimakariri River is infusing into the ocean. This huge countryside is exceptionally interesting because of birds, which live there. Wetlands are full of tourists paths with little wooden huts for nestling birds observing.
There are lots of blackberries in the woods. I picked up whole my drinking bottle. It was the only one vessel I had. Amandine was very happy because blackberries are her favourite fruit a she was making crepes for us. We really enjoyed crepes with berries.
Part 4. Next regular set of stories from antipodes or elongated weekend in Akaroa and my volunteering in Christchurch
For us, Easter is much nicer holiday than Christmas. People aren´t so two-faced as at the Christmas time, there is not such a madness in shopping centres and nature is waking to the new life. Easter is great spiritual holidays full of hope and joy which resonate with pastel colours of primrose and daisy´s blooms. Easter in New Zealand are celebrated in a similar way as in Europe are and despite this different. We were at solemn Palm Sunday´s mass-week before Easter. Celebration order is same. We went with a parade from cathedral park toward the altar, Christ´s Suffering had been read. There were, even more, multiculturality then masses before. Koreans, Indians, Maoris, Japanese, Kiwis and Panama couple, a Canadian tourist, someone from middle Africa and we from Czech, we all were celebrating. On Great Friday is a day off and it is forbidden to sell an alcohol this da. The maximum you can have a glass of wine or beer for your meal, but definitely any spirits. On Saturday, there is a huge celebration, on Sunday, there is a celebration and on Easter Monday, there is also a celebration. No guys with sticks beating women.
As said before, on Friday was a holiday, it means a day off here. At the morning, a friend from Amandine came and we spend a pleasant morning in pleasant company with good coffee. At the afternoon, we packed our backpack and went for a trip. From Christchurch to Akaroa you pass through 8 parks and reservations. It is 70 km far. The way leads across abrupt hills, directly across their peaks. We stopped at the Hill top and we enjoyed the gorgeous view of the countryside (photos are in Gallery). We couldn´t see any houses because they were hidden among the trees, all we could see were sheep herds.
We reached Akaroa in the late afternoon. Our only one Czech friend Pango was there and was playing at the pier. He was busking (playing for donation. Pango lives in his truck rebuilt as a house.) and so we joined him and was listening to him to playing. Imagine, you sit on the pier bench, in front of you is only sparkling sea and green hills and you are listening to the piano concert in the wonderful sunny day. And with the songs you want to. We decided we will spend this weekend with Pango and so we went to the supermarket to buy some food for next days.
While walking, a nice couple of travellers stopped us. Carla from Germany and Fajid from Australia. They offered us some food because they were leaving Zealand the next day. Even they were very young, they were really mature. Carla and Fajid were hitchhiking across New Zealand for 2 months, were sleeping under a tent or in hamaka in the countryside. We spend a great time with them, they were so inspiring. You could feel the love and the respect of people and life.
After we said goodbye to them, we found a perfect place in the woods and nearby brook, so we stayed there for the night.
When we woke up in the morning, we listened to bird´s singing. After morning hygiene, we came to the city centre. There were a lot of people, merchants, tourists and music. There were annual farm markets and auctions. There was a huge tent with smaller things (such as kitchen accessories, clothes, books, etc) at the football playground. It was a great opportunity for us because we planned to buy a pot and cups to our car (for camping in the countryside).We found there a pot for 20 cents and 3 new cups for 2 dollars, set of knives. The second part of the auction was outside. There were larger goods, place in lines and with numbers. There were sofas, fishing trouts, bikes, boats, … When the auction started, a jeep with open backside came. In the backside were two men with hammers and the auction started. When someone gave a higher price, the thing was his or hers. The jeep rode slowly to the next unit. We also tried to buy something and bargain, but we were unsuccessful. But it was a fun. We spent there almost all day.
Akaroa is a beautiful town in Akaroa´s Bay. It is a french town – the first inhabitants were French. Their offsprings live there till today and they keep their French culture alive. Children have to study French and French history at elementary school. Several French flags hang here. It is a famous tourist destination. It is bordered by hills and rocks. When you wait some time or buy a trip to open sea, you can see here Hector´s dolphin. It is rare dolphin specie, which live only in New Zealand´s waters.
Dolphins often come during the twilight to the pier. In rock´s holes have penguins their nests. There is a lot things to do in Akaroa. We made a tripp to lighthouse (still working) and to old cemetery in hills. The path towards the cemetery is full of wonderful view to sea and harbour. We recognized a lot of animal traps. I will explain it. New Zealand was isolated for a long, long time. There were no terestial mammals. They couldn´t get here. Only birds, fish, amphibiants and two species of bat.They didn´t have any native enemies here for until people came here. They couldn´t defent themselves. The first predators were brought to New Zealand by Polynesean Moa hunters (Polynesean Moa hunters were ancestors of todays Maori people. They brought a rats with them as a food). The calm birds were an easy prey for this animals. This is a reason why a lot of bird species died out. The Goverment has began a programme for birds protection in way of licvidation of non domestic predators . The worst of all are possums. It is a very bad cat-like creature, which kills the little baby birds in nests.
On Sunday´s afternoon we departured Akaroa towards Christchurch. We drove by by pass and took a round trip around Bank´s Peninsula. We had a stop in Pigeon Bay. It was a low tide, so we walked across the sea shore. We found several Paua shells. It is an original New Zealand shell specie, which mother of pearl in outside and inside surface as well. I found a sea weed, which lookd as a Nori sea weed, so I picked some peaces to home and ate. None of local sea weed shouldn´t be venomous. There were a lot of plain peas plant in the grass nearby. It looks like normal peas, but has a smaller grains. We picked a little, just for taste. Way along the sea shore was absolutelly unique. Stone road leading abruptly to the hill tops, rounding and turning and showing the beauty of nature from all angles. There were also a lot of walnut trees, so we also picked some as a snack.
Red Cross Volunteering
Because Viktor is already working, I decided I will spend my free time with volunteering . There is a Red Cross Shop nearby our house with volunteers wanted. So I came there on Tuesday to ask if they would want me and on Wednesday was my first volunteering day. My manager is Bronwyn, who works there as a shop assistant. We sell not only clothes but even furniture, home accessories, kitchen machines, camping equipment etc.
Whoever could bring there whatever he or she doesn´t need anymore. Staff then decide whether is the thing is such a good condition for sale. Money from this sale are divided among people who need them or are a source of finance for community projects. One of the main principles is that the Red Cross Shop isn´t any dump. Every good for sale must be in good condition, washed, undamaged. There is a lot of sorting work. We are also keeping the shop in tidy, cleanliness. We vacuum, wipe a dust, re-arrange.
A lot of people shop in Red Cross Shop. You can buy there almost everything for very low prices and you can support a good idea.
There works also Jill as a shop assistant. She and Bronwyn are native Kiwies, so I had a little difficulties to understand them. But they were every time very patient and they explained me everything and repeated several times when I needed that. There work several other volunteers: Lana from Belorussia, who lives in Christchurch with her daughter, student Peter, Christine, Megan and Marianne, who are already retired and volunteer in Red Cross because they want to be useful. I like it there a lot. Everybody are se respectful and friendly. Jill taught me how to work with the payment machine and with the register. I liked that a lot.
When a donor brings some donation, we place it to the staff room, sort it and price it.
Part 5: New Zealand English or New Zild world
We´ve been studying English since we were eleven years old. We´ve never had any problem with understanding of English during our foreign trips. Till we arrived in New Zealand.
New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth and under the reign of British Queen. That is why is its official language English (and Maori of course). New Zealand English is a mixture of Irish, Welsh, British and Australian English and Polynesian languages. Its accent is really exceptional. Kiwis are well aware of this fact and are really proud of their English accent. They call it as a New Zild.
How does it look like? When you hear New Zild for the first time, you can´t understand almost anything. It is like an inconsistent and fast river of speech, you can barely recognize a couple of words. Even native English speakers (especially British people) have a difficulties with New Zild understanding. You can imagine it in the case of Indians, Europeans and other nations J We were little frustrated (Amandine was a little frustrated too) because of the fact, that we can´t understand local inhabitants. So we searched the internet for some information how to understand New Zild. We found a great documentary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV_UmOvV1vs , which explains very easily everything. The documentary is in English and here is a brief resume of its contain.
History of New Zealand English
The first English speaking people came to New Zealand 230 years ago. According to scholar’s discoveries, the first inhabitants were from 22% Scotish, from 20% Irish, from 49% British. Because these people were very far from strict and prudent “queen´s” English, they almost immediately started to speak with more free English. In Aotearoa (New Zealand in The Maori language) have been living Maori people, prodigies of polinesian Moa hunters. Maori is basically very easy language, which doesn´t have difficult grammar. It is very interesting, that Maori language uses 5 syllables (a, e, i, o, u) and their combinations, but only 10 vowels (w, wh, k, r, p, t, m, n, ng, h). Words consisting of b, c or other vowels don´t exist in Maori.
Relaxed English of new inhabitants had been mixed with even more relaxed language of Maori people. Old language got the new coat.
Next stimulator was a gold fever in 60ies of 19th century. To New Zealand came a lot of variations of English from almost all corners of British Empire. People settled here, had a children, sent them to schools. The need of unification of English variations fasten the development of nowadays New Zild.
What is typical for New Zild?
Very typical (really, you can realize it during the first sentence youĺl hear in New Zealand) is changing of vowels. English word for agreement, “yes” is spoken as jes almost everywhere in the world, but Kiwies pronounce it as jiis. When you hear it for the first time, it sounds like “is”, figure of verb to be. You´ll get used. Funny situations come when Kiwies want to say “six”. They pronounce it as a “sex”.
I ń case of some words, Kiwies double phones or pronounce them as diphthongs. It sounds as if they pronounced them rather with nose then with mouth.
Some New Zealanders swing the hight of the voice in the end of the sentence so the indicative sentence sounds more like a question.
Pronounciation is really fast here. For example the fraze „How are you going?“ sounds like „Air gun?“.
Nowadays Status of New Zild
It is obvious from the documentary film, that some years ago New Zealand English with its typical accent was a language of lower middle class. But, because of dramatical change of inhabitants (according to researchers in New Zealand live more than 80 nationalities of the world) and every new settler bring own accent, New Zealand English became something indigenous and stopped to be typical only for uneducated people. Local people became proud to their unique accent.
These were the main thoughts of the documentary.
Now, we are in phase when we understand almost everything Kiwies say. We use to say instead of „You are welcome“as an aswer to „Thank you“ local cool phrase „No worries“ and instead of boring greeting „Hello“, when you meet someone, we use more cool „Chee bro“ (abbreviation of Cheers brother).
You must admit it is a fun to live here J
Part No. 6: Job for a girl
Worries and revenge for a job seeking
As we wrote before, Helenka got the work visa and so she started to seek for a job. But how to seek for a good job in Christchurch for a girl? Where to seek? How to prepare for an interview? What to expect? I will tell you my story where you can find out answer for all these questions.
Before we departure to New Zealand, I was working several years for a one very good Czech Bank, so I have a years of experience in administrative position in big corporate company. Plus, I have a great hobby, I am certified massage therapist. Because I love massaging I decided to try my luck and find a massage job. I upgraded my CV, found some massage saloons in Christchurch and started to call them and sent them my CVs and Cover letters. I´ve called to almost 15 saloons, but nor from one they didn´t bothered themselves even to answer me. So I printed my CV and decided to attract potential employer face to face. When I came to the first saloon, they told me that they really don´t want to hire any new masseur, in the second saloon they took my CV and told me they will call me in case they will need somebody and in the third saloon it was the same story. I refused to be a masseur here. I thought I could be a self-employed masseur, but I realized it is an insanity after a talk with another Christchurch masseur.
Hmmm, I have to search differently and in different places.
I started to search for a job in administrative. I was seeking in job advertising websites several hours a day and was answering to almost every position I found interesting. Without any result. They mostly even didn´t replied. No wonder. Christchurch is a post-earthquake city and is been rebuilding. Men can find here a job in building industry till the second day, but it is harder for women. I told to myself I must be doing something wrong. So I asked for a job in one world-known fast food company (which starts with letter M – you must know it) a started to work there.
I was the only foreigner in there (except of two Philippine girls and two Indians in the kitchen) and the manager left me the first day in front desk, right behind the register. It was really hard, because I didn´t understand what customers want (they didn´t provide me any training), I couldn´t manipulate with the register and my colleagues behaved like they were annoyed with my questions. It was better on the second day and then I became accustomed with how things any going. In the meantime, I wrote to five biggest personal agencies, that I would like to speak with some job specialist and improved my CV with him or her. Of course I chose such some agencies which were specializing to administrative positions.
There was the only one agency they answered my email. It was an Enterprise Agency. The personalist sent me a link to the online testing of MS Office skills and typing skills and I made it. Then, she invited me to a personal interview. The test was very easy. There were tasks like format maintenance, folders pasting, rewriting of invoices. I am sure every teenager would make it. I was successful from 98%.
After I came to the agency, I fulfilled several questionnaires and the contract. Then, Leanne came into the room and we started to chat. It was for sure the best job interview I´ve ever experienced.
You can imagine that stupid and irrelevant questions like: Where do you see yourself in ten years? Tell me your greatest virtue, tell me your greatest weakness. Or Why should I choose you instead of the guy whom I was interviewing before you? And so one…
Every time I hear these bullshits, I make my notion about the person who is asking these question. It shows that personalists choosing new employees to the position have very low sense of creativity and don´t do their job well. It is so easy and comfortable to download several clichés and repeat them during the interview. These people must have some complex of superiority or are completely dumb and need to hide it somehow.
And you know what? Leanne wasn´t asking me these questions. It was very honest and very concreate dialog about my skills and abilities, she was asking me very direct questions concerning of abilities I wrote to my CV. They were questions like: What exactly were you doing when you answered a phone call of angry client? What were you doing when you realized you made a mistake in report? Etc…
We were talking about our reason to go to the New Zealand. She was very interested when I was talking about my voluntary work for Red Cross Shop. Interview lasted maybe one hour and it was a pleasuring meeting. In the end Leanne brought her colleague, who was responsible for jobs for Environment Canterbury. Leanne introduced me to her and asked me if I would like to work in administration for Environment Canterbury.
It is a little difficult to explain what is it. It is a local government for Canterbury district we live in. There are 7 commissioners as a chairmen and chairwomen, who are elected by local people. This local council is responsible for air, water and earth in our district. They provide for example consents for taking a gravel from riverbeds, take care of quality of air in cities or bore drilling. They needed someone with office experience for Records Department (archive responsible for every document concerning of ECan). Every document need to be in digital archive, so it is a lot of work.
Of course I agreed immediately with a pleasure and prepared myself to Friday´s interview at ECan. I didn´t want to go to fast food any more. But… Nobody contacted me and Leanne just wrote me an email next week, that they´ve cancelled my position at ECan, so they don´t look for anyone. My world totally collapsed. Now I know it was silly, but I felt like they betrayed me, total end of my hopes. I continued to work for dirty fast food. I received a call from Leanne from Enterprise next Thursday. She invited me with uncovered joy they want me to see tomorrow at ECan, because they´ve changed their minds. I had an interview there (actually it wasn´t interview, my future manger just explained me work I´m supposed to do and asked me if I am prepared for that), they´ve showed me building and after half an hour I had a call from Enterprise agency confirming my interview was successful and I was chosen as a new staff member.
Now, I have my first week at ECan. I need to precise, because when I made mistake in number, all electronic file of important documents couldn´t be find. So cross finger for me to make it. It is not easy for me. There is a lot of words I don´t understand and without which I am not able to get the point what I must do. For example, I must sort of the documents concerning of some moorings. I have to know the size of moorings, what is need to do to approve someone´s property as a mooring etc. It is not good to don´t know how moorings look like. It is a fight, so I am fighting. Every day I come from my work, I am translating ECan´s webpages and learn term after term to know, what am I dealing with in my work. It is a fun for me.
It is work I love. I must say that Leanne is a real professional because she realized without silly clichés find out what I can do well and what will make me happy.
What is the conclusion and how to find a good job as a girl?
- Go for volunteering! It is a great occasion how to know people, practice English in everyday life, understand how does the city work. New Zealanders (and Christchurch people especially) value volunteers a lot. Many of great projects are in care of volunteers (Gap Fillers, Red Cross, Habitat,…). You will enjoy time in a volunteering group a lot. Here you can choose: http://www.volcan.org.nz/
You can go and chat with elderly people during having a cup of coffee, you can go for a walk in forest and control touristic tracks, you can remove pests or help to people in hospitals. It is only up to you and your interests.
There is another great benefit of volunteering – you will feel better spiritually. You will feel somebody needs you, you will be amongst people, you can have a talk to someone.
- Write an email to an agency concerning of seeking people to position you are qualified for. It is possible you´ll receive only one answer as I did, but if they invite you to the interview, you may win your job seeking fight.
- Install the Grammarly to your computer. It is for free and this program will check everything you’ll write in English (in you Cover letters, CVs etc.).
- Don´t lie it your CV. Don´t write there any experience you don´t have just because the particular job offer sounds good to you. It is not too bad to write time of your experience longer than it was. If you´ve been working as a receptionist in a hotel and have really good notion about this kind of job, I can´t see any problem to extend time of experience.
- Prepare as best as you can for an interview if they´ll invite you. Prepare couple of concrete examples of your task in previous position (which will be a source of knowledge for the future one). Think about how you´ve been solving tasks there. They can ask you why did you decide to leave to New Zealand (they are curious J) and why are you going to do here. Be honest.
- Communicate, don´t let the person to perform a monolog. Ask the question you want to know the answer (concerning of the company of course). Notice, that you are not going to be a slave or you are not begging for the work. You must decide if the company is good and you´ll be happy in there.
- And the most important thing in the end – always have a hope, believe in yourself and fight for it!!!