“Because safety is our priority”

So many companies, nowadays, play this anthem… And I know something about it !
Though, when entering an aircraft, how many of us do really pay attention to the safety leaflet or to the crew explanations ?
The airplane companies know it and Air New Zealand has come with a very innovative concept : a film where the plane is an island and passengers awesome women, taking into derision the usual clichés. Some thought is was sexist, it cracked up laughing !!!

Let’s watch this 4-minute video together, you’ll tell me what you think about it – Let’s turn the sound loud and take off.

 

D227. April 14. Where are the People of New Zealand ?

With only 4.4 million inhabitants for the size of the UK, and one-third of it in Auckland, no need to say that New Zealand feels a bit empty.
Though, we’ve met on our way two interesting fellows, their portraits follow.

Alex NZ There are two and a half million tourist every year coming to NZ, most of them from Australia, China, the US, Japan and the UK. Alex was coming from France.

Stef NZSteph has been seen in several national parks – They cover more than 30 000 km2.

 

D224. Apr 11. Frisbee in the woods, a Queenstown feature !

if I tell you : “botanic garden”. What did you think of ? That ?

frizbee 1Flowers, roses ? Beautiful autumn colors? Yes, for the colors you are right.
But this garden was special. People do not come here to write love poems inspired from Ronsard, they come here for the below iron baskets.

frizbee 2Strange trees, aren’t they ?

frizbee 3 This is a Frisbee Golf. Targets are tree-mounted chain baskets, that have been disseminated all over Queenstown Gardens.

frizbee 4For each target, a launching area and an indication on where is the next basket, as i is often hidden behind bushes or trees. A great way to walk everywhere in the park with your babe stroller or your grandma without being bored at any time.

frizbee 5You just need to Bring Your Own flying disc !

frizbee 6There is even a Professional Disc Golf Association ! I had no idea this sport could even exist ! Apparently, it may have been invented in the early 1900s by a Canadian. Modern disc golf started in the early 1960s, in the US.

capture 7 The game is now played in more than 40 countries worldwide, primarily in the United States, Canada, Central and Western Europe, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

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Our reward today, after kayak, parasailing and frisbee ? A good hot chocolate at patagonia, a famous local institution…

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D224. Apr 11. The day ended in the sky

The day started on the sea, paddling our kayak a on quiet lake… but ended quite differently !

parachute 1When we ended our tour on the lake, the kayaks owner, Ben, told Alex we could get a special fare, shall we be interested in parasailing (parachute ascensionnel). Alex was tempted but didn’t want to go on his own. I felt guilty to say no… So I said yes… Though adding : “OK, but let’s do it right now, before I start thinking about it”.

parachute 2 Thirty minutes later, I had a harness around my hips, ready to take off…

parachute 3 I don’t remember much of the take off, as I was only focussed on my respiration. Indeed, 12 minutes of apnea seemed unreasonable, so I had to do my best.

parachute 4 Then I thought : “those twelve minutes are gonna be so long. What can I do ? May be I can count twelve times to sixty ?”. Finally, I’d rather ask Alex: “Can you tell me about your trip to Svalbard (Spitzberg) ? I’d like to know every detail”.

parachute 5 As this trip took place ten years ago, he understood that something was going wrong with me and tried to distract me fro my fear as much as he could. So, finally, I was able to turn my neck to see what was going on around…

parachute 6
Left. Breathe. Right. Breathe. Down. Oh fuck. Up. Ufff.

parachute 7I had carried  my GoPro but as my hands were glued to the harness I didn’t take any picture. Meanwhile, Alex, ecstatic, was filming…

Isn’t it amazing ? THe lake, the mountains, a light wind, even breathing seemed to be better here that anywhere else on earth.

I’m glad that Alex was able to record this precious moment…

paysage 4

paysage 3

paysage 2

paysage 1Isn’t it more beautiful from the sky ?

parachute 8When we landed on the boat i was relieved, but a bit disappointed that I hadn’t been able to relax sooner.

pieds 1Yes… I look a little bit… tense… don’t I ?

pieds  2 I guess it was one of those moments where I had just looked at my feet…

pieds 3Oh, nice, the shadow of our parachute…

fil 1But you know how long was the cable ?

fil 2250 meters long !!!

parachute 20At the end of trip though, I was super happy we did it, thanking Alex that he convinced me. Probably THE highlight of our New Zealand experience. And, frankly, I think I’ll do it again !

 

D224. Apr 11. The day started with a kayak…

kayak2

Queenstown is THE spot where you can practice extreme sports: it is famous for bungy jumping, it is also a moutain-biking mecca, you can try jetboating, white-water rafting and sledging, sky diving, tramping, climbing, canyoning, rafting…

kayak3

But, with this cinematic background of mountains and lakes, Alex and I rather decided to follow this little duck and we went kayaking.

 

kayak1

People came here for gold, in the second half of the 19th century. Though, by 1900 the gold had petered out and the population  was a mere 190 !!! It wasn’t until the 1950s that Queenstown became a popular holiday destination… For people like us… kayaking…

kayak6  kayak4

In the background, though, we could hear crazy girls shouting in the sky, under a yellow parachute…

kayak5

Green meadows meat tastes better

moutons

Around four million kiwis populate New Zealand. But far more impressive, New Zealand feeds 38 million sheep and 5 million beef cattle, most of them grass fed. With such passion for pastoral farming and  so many well fed animals, no doubt that New Zealand meat tastes so good !

vaches

And indeed, we tasted it and we loved it ! Everywhere we had meat, from a steak au poivre to an eye filet, it was tender, tasty, and perfectly cooked. Have a look :

steak au poivre

Am I making you hungry ? I hope so.
Another interesting feature about meat in New Zealand is that meat is sexy, whereas in Europe meat is rather bloody disgusting and butchers even a bit frightening.
For example, lately, a popular beer brand launched a communication campaign axed around a meat hunt, with advertising posters showing the meat in trays.

monteith

The firm has developed an augmented reality mobile app via BBDO, designed to create conversation around beer, cider and food matching. The app gives the opportunity to “hunt” duck, venison, lamb and beef, everywhere from your local bar to their office, with the chance to win what you hunt. Funny, isn’t it ?

Other example. A meat company, “Green Meadows Beef”, has chosen “farmed with passion, delivered with pride” as a tagline. You couldn’t imagine such communication in Europe. And even their advertising film is entertaining :

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/77467141″>A CUT ABOVE</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/frontroomcreativeagency”>Frontroom</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I guess than being a butcher in New Zealand is quite nice… And from a consumer perspective, a local meat with a local red wine is a must !

D223. Apr 10. Let’s see a Haka in Queenstown !

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Of course, with the growing popularity of rugby, everyone has heard about Haka, this ritual performed by the All Blacks before starting a match. But it has also been adopted by other national teams representing organizations such as the Armed Services and the Police.

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The haka is a physical challenge and a statement of intent that puts the opposition on notice that the contest to come is a serious one in which the participants will give their best. Today, we attended a show made up for tourists, with only five people on stage, but this was already amazingly strong, impressive, and scary somehow.

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Despite the inroads of the Western world and foreign influence, Maori culture has undergone a renaissance and retains a vibrancy that ensures not just its survival but its continuing evolution and growth.

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One of the most important factors in the revival of Maori culture has been the energetic approach taken to the teaching and use of the Maori language, an official language in the country, together with English and NZ sign language….