IT ALL MEANS THE SAME
Bonjour mon amour! Je pense a toi et j’espere que tout va bien. Je t’embrasse. Bonne journee.
‘Mon amour’, that’s French for “my little love” and the rest means, “I’m thinking of you, and hoping that everything is going well.” It has a similar version in Pilipino which for some, is a bit harder to translate into English because of its much deeper expression of feelings but means all the same for Filipino families whose immediate members are separated by long distances.
So why have some 45,000-odd Filipinos to-date dispersed to settle themselves in this new home called New Zealand? Why not the United States, Canada or Australia as hundreds of thousands of other kababayans (countrymen) have done already? And why Auckland, for that particular matter?
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
New Zealand is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, between latitude 34’S and 47’S and runs roughly north-south with mountain ranges down much of its length. There are two main islands, the North Island (where the population centres of Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington are situated) and the South Is-land (where Christchurch sits), with a third smaller one called Stewart Island beyond its tip.
The country’s position atop the grinding plates of the Pacific Ring of Fire has resulted in a unique landscape with an unrivalled variety of landforms. A couple of day’s drive by car or train will allow you to see everything from snow-topped mountain ranges to sandy beaches, lush rainforests, glaciers and fiords, and active volcanoes.
It is an uncrowded country consisting of a diverse multi-cultural population of just over 4-million people each with a rich ethnic history. The Maori, a Poly-nesian sea-faring people, were New Zealand’s first settlers, arriving about 1,000 years ago. Then, the Europeans discovered it in 1642 but not until 1769 was it claimed and then gradually colonized by Britain. By 1840, after some armed conflicts between these two cultures, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, es-tablishing the country as a nation which later on was popularized as ‘God’s Own Country’ by New Zealand’s longest-service prime minister, Richard John Seddon (1845-1906). It is has since become a phrase that has been used for more than 100-years by New Zealanders to describe their homeland.
ATTRACTIONS OF WELLINGTON
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand which has developed a deserved reputation as the arts and cultural centre of the country. From the extensive collection of history at Te Papa (The New Zealand National Museum) which is colloquially known as ‘our place’; to the waterside pleasures of Oriental Bay; to experiencing its historic cable car rides for amazing views and onto the houses of Parliament and the famous Beehive. Wellington bursts with life, entertainment, cuisine and exhilarating meeting places at every turn.
Watch The Video
It is also one of the most picturesque. You get the most dramatic view of the city when descending to land into its airport from the north. Inversely, flying up the harbour you get a picture of a city of bush, and hills with houses perched some-times seemingly impossibly – on them.
If you enjoy the arts this is the place to tour its numerous galleries or visit the film archive or national library. It is also the place where you can enjoy evening performances of the world-class New Zealand Symphony Orchestra or the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Many interesting and contemporary pieces of public sculpt-ures abound and to while your time away you can follow the Writers’ Walk along the waterfront.
Wellington has a vibrant café scene and some of the best restaurants in the country. You can also sample its nightlife precinct of Courtney Place and enjoy dinner on the harbor side. It’s a city that enjoys life, fine food and, very much so, good coffee.