Story of some Brits living in New Zealand for the Southern Hemisphere Winter in 2004
(Recent Entries Here)

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Falling Rocks

An interesting thing to learn about the kiwi culture is their capacity for understatement.

In the UK, if you go for a tourist walk the timings given in the guidebook always seem to allow for enough time to walk backwards the whole way and spend an hour for lunch. Guidebook time on Kiwi walks seem to assume you will sprint most of the way, eating as you go.

Learning this cultural attitude for understatement seems quite important. I told a Kiwi friend about the difference between a 'Falling Rocks' roadsign in the UK and in NZ. In the UK, the sign is akin to a superstition. One day in a hundred years a pebble might come tumbling down. In NZ it seems more typical for a stack of rocks in the road to lend credibility to their 'Falling Rocks' signs. My Kiwi friend asked me why you'd put a 'Falling Rocks' sign somewhere that rarely had falling rocks. Hmmm, understatement meets nanny state perhaps.

On the rocks front though, I guess things are quite different here in general as this place is geologically much more dynamic than the UK. The mountains gain height during earthquakes and even Mount Cook lost 20m off the top a few years ago.

Eruption of Mount Ruapehu, 1995 (an area now known as Mordor)

In Wellington's Te Papa museum is an excellent exhibiton where you can find out a bit about NZ geology and loads of other stuff. Great day out there!


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