What follows are three slideshows from a two-week trip to New Zealand I made last month. Instead of explaining what the slideshows feature and where all these pretty pictures were taken, I am going to delve into a few notable aspects of human operations in New Zealand that puts Kiwi society on a more intelligent plane that most other modern societies which may find adopting and implementing the following ideas and practices advantageous. One intelligent thing that New Zealanders do relates to their currency (instead of dead heads of state, the cash bills depict plants and animals): they have discarded the smallest coin denomination (the American version of which would be the penny) from their monetary circulation so as to curb the quantity of loose change in their pockets or on their shelves. They simply round up or round down in the cost of purchases. (Incidentally, the American cent actually costs more than two cents to make, and the primary reason that it has not been removed from circulation is because zinc industry lobbyists profit from its existence and exert pressure on American government representatives to not legislate its abolition).
The second observation pertains to driving. New Zealand highways are very dangerous to drive on because of the curvaceous nature of the landscape the and successive variations in elevation (at least on the North Island). The danger level is amplified by a minimal factor of two if you are not accustomed to driving on the left side of the road and in a car that has the steering wheel on the right. The switched steering wheel affects one’s perception of the car’s dimension and position on the road (leading one to sometimes become off-centered and swerve a little too far to the left). Regular mental reminders to stay on the left are necessary in to order become conditioned to this and to avoid doing what I did at least three times while pulling out of a parking lot and instinctually driving on the right. In order to remind people that driving on New Zealand motorways is dangerous, the government has prudently installed road signs along the motorways to warn people to stay alert, pull over if you’re sleepy, that you’re entering a high crash zone, and so on. Also, in lieu of intersections with stop lights, New Zealand for the most part has roundabouts which obviate the need for stop lights and keep the traffic flowing. Separately, New Zealand society is much more safe, polite, and trustworthy than most others. This is demonstrated by the fact that you pump your gas before you pay for it at the gas stations. When I rented a car but had to arrange to pick it up after hours I was instructed to walk to the rental car office from the airport, find the car with my name on the dashboard, and that it would be unlocked and the key would be in the glove compartment. Those things would not fly in America because we are excessively distrusting of members of our own communities, live in fear (due in part to an vicious cycle perpetuated by an entertainment industry and government which advocates and exercises violence which is then used to justify measures to sustain a police state to ostensibly tackle the systemic problems created in part by the same criminal elements of our government who purport to resolve them. This process is known the Hegelian Dialectic, where an entity creates a problem then proposes a solution which is implemented serving to benefit the party that has created the problem in the first place), and are raised in environments conducive to being afraid of each other, the outdoors, and the dark.
The last noteworthy items pertain to the conservation of natural resources. For the most part, major cities in New Zealand (especially Auckland and Wellington) have not leveled the forest to make way for the city. There are woods and parks throughout the city, and the residential roads are bursting at the seams with trees and vegetation. This is especially noticeable from an elevated perspective, such as Auckland’s One Tree Hill, where a panorama of the city and its glorious preponderance of greenery can be appreciated. The respect for the trees in New Zealand transfers to public restrooms where all paper towel dispensers have been banished and replaced with hand dryers in effort to conserve paper. Tangentially, showers in New Zealand are built to be wholly enclosed so as to contain the steam from the hot water within shower unit, thus preventing the evaporated water from escaping into the greater bathroom and turning it into a sauna. In a future journal entry I’ll attempt to cover some of the beautiful aspects of New Zealand’s many ecosystems. The slideshow photographs were mainly taken in Coromandel Forest Park, the Northland, Mt. Cook, Saint Bathans, and Poor Knights Islands. Poor Knights Islands is a massive marine reserve northeast of Auckland and are the eroded remnants of a supervolcano. During the nudibranch mating season, numerous of these psychedelic sea slugs can be observed in the sub-tropical waters. Some of the nudibranchs I saw were clown, variable, gem, and tambja nudibranchs. The photographs in the slideshow below also feature bluebell tunicates, pillow and encrusting sponges, and jewel anemones.