Tuesday, December 13, 2016


We've been out of the country for 11 days. R & I couldn't have taken this trip if it weren't for Nana watching H the whole time. She was able to take him to Thanksgiving to be with his cousins, Aunties and Uncles. We love her and a big thank you!

We headed to New Zealand with my siblings to visit my parents who are there serving an LDS mission. Most of you might know the "rules" that missionaries aren't allowed visitors, and this is true for the 18-26yr old missionaries serving. When you are older you are able to go on another mission as a "senior missionary" with your spouse. The senior missionaries are allowed visitors with approval from their Mission President. We got the approval and off we went!

My entire life I've heard stories of the Polynesian people, particularly the Maori people as my Grandfather served as a 19 yr. old missionary in New Zealand. He later returned throughout his life 25 times to New Zealand and many times to the other Islands of Polynesia. He served in various callings in our church and would go to these lands to help establish buildings, run the temple, and help the people create better lives.

I couldn't be more thrilled to finally see the land of New Zealand. We travelled all across the North Island.

Whaitemata Harbour (Auckland Harbour)
This is the main access by sea to Auckland, New Zealand

Real Fruit Ice Cream
We are trying to convince my dad to bring this back to the states. You would die of deliciousness. 

The movie set where they filmed The Hobbit movies.

Can anybody tell me what is so unique about this tree above Bilbo Baggin's house?  


Cambridge, NZ
The cute town known as, "The Town of Tree's and Champions". If you are here I recommend Queen Vic Chippy Fish & Chips for lunch or dinner.

Speed Boat
in Taupo, NZ
This was a family favorite as this little boat has two engines equalling  700 horsepower. We road around on the river weaving in and out of trees and branches and doing 360's. We had a great time laughing and getting wet.

Aritiatia Dam 
in Taupo, NZ
The rapids of the Aritiatia Dam is where they filmed the scene in the Hobbit where they are escaping the castle of the elves in empty barrels.

Huka Falls
in Taupo, NZ

Glow worm caves
These caves have been here since the 1800's. They are taken care of by the descendants of the Maori explorer who discovered them. Our tour guide was a 6th generation granddaughter. Fun fact: if you marry into their family you can have your wedding underground in these caves! Unfortunately, photos are not allowed here.

Bungee Jumping at 'Taupo Bungy'
R & I have had this on our 'Couple Bucket List', how thrilling it was to check it off!

Mount Maunganui & the beach
in Tauranga, NZ

LDS Temple
in Hamilton, NZ 

 Ric and I are doing a "Hongi"

Marae -  A sacred meeting house within the Maori culture. To enter you have to be invited and called in by a Maori Elder. We were invited by one of Grandfather's old friends Brother Tata. An incredibly humbling experience being in here.

Agradome Sheep Show
in Rotorua, NZ

Raglan, NZ
They boys surfed in the Tasman Sea. Not great waves the day we were there, but they each managed to catch a wave or two. I also highly recommend eating at Raglan Fish they catch the fish right outside, as this is on the wharf, then you are able to watch them filet the fish and bring it over to the kitchen to fry. It was so fun! I often ate the Snapper fish.

Bridal Veil Falls
in Raglan, NZ

It was great to meet so many of my Grandpa Rudd's friends. We were hosted for dinners and visits. I just gave big hugs to many who's names and stories I have heard. Some locals took us out Ocean Fishing & if you are able to do so, take advantage of the opportunity!

My parent's mission over in Hamilton, NZ is to run Camp Tuhikaramea (previously known as Hamon's Bush). It is 42 acres of land that they tend to. They have planted over 2,000 trees there that are strictly native to New Zealand. They have a nursery of over 10,000 trees they are growing. The seeds are harvested from the trees already planted on the land. They also have 10 cabins and 20 campsites. The camp can hold over 400 people. My parents host youth camps, family reunions and gatherings here. People rent out the pavilions or amphitheaters for weddings and receptions. 

And many travelers who have come from the South Island of New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and surrounding islands to visit the LDS Temple in Hamilton will stay at Camp Tuhikaramea. My parents are extremely busy to say the least! They were so kind to host us for these 11 days. 

This was my "kiwi friend" that I met on the plane ride over, Claire. She had just finished up 4 weeks of traveling in Australia and Mexico. She was so nice. She follows my blog so I told her to keep watch for her picture!

I am not a professional photographer or videographer, but still all the photos I've seen on the internet or through publications did not do this land justice. The land of New Zealand was incredibly breathtaking, over and over.

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