We made it safely to New Zealand after almost 40 hours of flights and layovers! In addition to our daily lectures, a scavenger hunt and a birthday party, we’ve had an amazing first week. Our travels have taken us to four farms, the local open air market, the Christchurch Botanical Garden and the Christchurch Museum. We wound our way through the hills of the Banks Peninsula to the French settlement of Akaroa where we hiked, shopped and tasted some of the best fish and chips in New Zealand. The ride was our first in the hills and I’m not sure if it was the scenery or the winding mountain roads, but one student asked “Is there such a thing as too scenic?” On our way to Akaroa we stopped in the tiny town of Little River to meet Chief, a New Zealand National Champion sheep dog. We were treated to an incredible demonstration of how the different types of dogs work sheep on the flatlands and in the hills. Last night, it was off to the native wildlife preserve where we saw real kiwis and touched an EEL! We learned about the preservation of native birds like the kiwi and the devastating impact of introduced non-native species. We finished the week with a visit to a Maori cultural heritage village where we were greeted by a Maori chief with a voice that could tell a lifetime of stories! The women in our group learned a poi dance and the men were invited to participate in a Haka- a dance that has many cultural meanings for the Maori. Americans are probably most familiar with the Hakas performed by the All Blacks – New Zealand’s national Rugby team – before every match. The evening finished with some traditional song and dance and a traditional Maori dinner. As the Maori taught us last night – week one was Ka Pai!