By: Blonde Two
I have had a few trips to New Zealand now and have experimented with a number of different routes. If you fly straight here, the journey takes around twenty four hours and, these days, you have to stop somewhere at least once. I have flown through Los Angeles (lots of security), Singapore (beautiful airport with a garden), Hong Kong (strange underground train), Hawaii (smells nice), Sydney (nice harbour views), Perth (can’t remember much) and now China (pigs trotters). I am always torn between stopping for a couple of days in these exotic places and getting the journey over and done with.
When I had finished my degree (at the ripe old age of 39) I decided that I wouldn’t be able to have a gap year but could afford a gap month. I spent most of it with family in New Zealand but did stop in Singapore on the way out and Hawaii on the way back. The first time I travelled here when I was 18, was in the days when planes couldn’t make it all the way from LA and had to stop on a Pacific island. All a bit confusing for an 18 year old but I survived the trip (supposed to be 3 months and turned into 10).
My Grandparents emigrated here from the West Midlands when they were both in their 80s. Grandad had lost his sight by then, making the move an even braver one. They packed up all of their furniture and unpacked it here including Nan’s grand piano which now has pride of place at my cousin’s house.
Norm and my Aunty did the emigration thing a long time before that when I was just a babe. The family’s journey took four flights as planes had to stop in New York in those days on the way to Los Angeles. Norm came over first to start work and Aunty and two cousins followed on. My cousins left the UK healthy and arrived with chicken pox – you can imagine what that journey must have been like.
Norm has a friend who first came to New Zealand on an overland hitch-hiking expedition. Her tales of the journey are worth hearing – a true adventurous spirit. I met another lady today who arrived from England after sailing all the way over with her husband. She has been here long enough now to buy a piece of land, move a house onto it (they do that a lot here), renovate it and raise a family.
My current record holder for journey time to New Zealand is an amazing 90 year old lady who came with her parents in the 1920s on a boat journey which took 7 weeks. Can you imagine that, leaving your family behind in London and going somewhere that was 7 whole weeks away?
I take my hat off to all those who have made that pioneering trip over here to the other side of the world and made New Zealand their home. The whole thing says a lot about Kiwi determination and stickability. When I fly back, I shall endeavour not to be fed up at my relatively short 30 hour journey.