March 11, 2015

Culture update!

Kia orana! ‘aere mai, ‘oro mai, tūrou mai!

(Hello! Welcome, welcome, welcome!)

This semester I’m taking a class about the language/culture of the Cook Islands Maori, which is slightly different than NZ Maori. To practice I’m going to start using phrases from Cook Islands Maori instead of NZ Maori on this blog for the duration of my stay.

I’ll start this update by going back in time a smidge to the last weekend in February to talk about the Lantern Festival! February 19, 2015 was Chinese New Year and to celebrate, the city of Auckland set up an elaborate scheme of lanterns in the trees/grounds of Albert Park, a park right next to Uni, the following weekend. Scattered throughout the park cultural stalls with hand-made items, calligraphy, and a karaoke stage were also set up. The whole street parallel to the park was blocked off and completely filled with food stalls. 

Thursday, February 26, the IFSA Butler group and I went out to a restaurant called Monoon Poon for an IFSA sponsored dinner as a pre-semester celebration. The food was SO. GOOD. Since we were a large group we got a sort of tasting menu and an assortment of small samplers, curries, naan, and stir-fried noodles/vegetables were brought to us. (I’m going to do a NZ food review at some point, because there’s so much amazing food here!). 

After dinner we walked as a group to the wharf to see the sunset and head up to the first night of the Lantern Festival. 

Auckland harbour.

IFSA group at sunset.
The first night the Lanterns were lit, but none of the stalls were open. 

So cute hehe. 
The next day the food stalls opened and we went back to get an ice-cream filled pineapple. It was soooo good.

Saturday I went back for dinner and got a bbq’d sleevefish. It was interesting looking served on a stick like a kebab, but was actually pretty good and very fresh. I also bought a steamed pork bun and a curry puff for later hehe.

Pork bun left, curry puff right, noms everywhere. 
Sunday we went back as a group to watch the end-of-festival fireworks which were launched from the top of the Skytower, Auckland’s needle shaped building. Compared to US fireworks these fireworks were very tame and didn’t last very long, but it was still cool to see fireworks shot off a building.

The second part of this culture update is from this past Saturday, March 7, when I went to see a BNP Paribas Davis Cup tennis match at the ASB tennis stadium right down the street from my flat! The match was NZ vs. China, Marcus Daniell/Artem Sitak vs. Zhe Li/Ze Zhang, and it actually got pretty intense towards the middle. When the crowd would cheer for NZ they wouldn't say the player's names but instead shout “go kiwi!” which I thought was pretty funny.

Kiwi's in white.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the whole match because there was a rain delay, but hopefully NZ won the round!

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