Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Wellington and ANZAC Day

On Thursday, April 23, 2015 we met our Sister missionaries, Sister Fanguna from New Zealand and Sister Afu from California and took them out to dinner before we started Study Buddy Group.  They came back to the ward and were going to help but ended up getting called to a different appointment. 

Reed and I go to our ward building at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday evenings and hold a Study Buddy Group.  We help the kids in our ward with reading and math practice and any homework that they bring.  Some of the kids even help each other and that is one of our goals.  Getting the ward members to help our students be more prepared and successful in school.

Reed is helping Masina with a Maori research paper.

On Saturday April 25, 2015 we walked to the bus station by our flat and took the bus to downtown Auckland at 6:50 a.m.  We arrived at the Britomart Train Station to take the Kiwi Trail Train to Wellington, New Zealand.  Today is ANZAC Day which is when Australian and New Zealand troops were part of an attack on Gallipoli in Turkey on April 25, 1915 during World War 1.  It is a national holiday and the Area Office is closed on Monday as well so we decided to take a little vacation.

The train left Auckland at 7:45 a.m. and we rode all day with Elder and Sister Wilkins.  The train was quite nice.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we were able to see a lot of beautiful scenery.  We packed a lunch even though there was a food car on the train.

 These are our seats on the train.  We had a table between us which was nice.
Reed and I kept going to the open air car on the train.  It was nice to move around and get fresh air.  Reed liked it because it was so much better for pictures.

 Just some of the beautiful country side here in New Zealand.  It has been quite rainy the last couple of weeks and you can see how green it is.
 This was on one of the buildings we went by.  It is the 100th anniversary of when the troops invaded Gallipoli and there were different signs recognizing that all along the way.
 This grave yard is right next to the train tracks.  When we drive to Hamilton to go to the Temple we always drive past it and usually don't have the camera.
 It is fall here. The leaves are changing and the nights are getting much cooler.
 The Hamilton train station.  Reed hopped off for a minute and took a picture of Nada through the glass.
 Sir Edmond Hillary is from this town.  They had just finished an ANZAC Day parade as we went by.

 Picture of the train while going around a bend.
 The Toetoe grass is very beautiful right now.  It is all along the road, train tracks and by the rivers.

The little white dots all over the hills are sheep.  We passed a lot of flocks today.

The mountains are just so beautiful and green.  The farther South we go the hills change from hills to mountains.

We thought this flock of sheep was a little unusual because they were in a circle.

 The train went over a couple of deep ravines.  The rivers were not too full but you could see paths from high water times.
 This is one of the taller mountains.  They had just received some fresh snow this week.  It does not snow up North in Auckland.
 This is a deer farm.  They raise domesticated deer here and quite a few restaurants have it on their menus.
The train station in Wellington.  We arrived at 6:35 p.m.  It was really fun to ride a train again.  Nada remembers riding them when she was a youth every year to California.  This was the longest train ride she had been on since she was 16.  Brought back lots of memories.  After 11 hours we were glad to get off and walk 10 minutes to the Ibis Hotel where we will stay for the next three nights!

Sunday, April 26, 2015.
Reed and I got up, caught a bus and went to church.  It was about a 25 minute bus ride and we arrived a half early because we were not sure where it was.  When we walked in we saw Elder and Sister Fata from Samoa. He is the Area Seventy for Samoa and we had met them both a couple of times when we served in Samoa. This was their ward when they lived here in New Zealand and he was the Bishop twice of that ward.  It was nice to visit with them.  We enjoyed the meetings and visiting with the ward members.  We took the bus back, went to the hotel to change because it was rainy and cold and went walking around the harbour and town to get our bearings for the rest of our stay.

 We were not sure where the bus would stop so we got off as soon as we came through the bus tunnel and knew we were on the street the internet said the church was on.  We had to walk about three blocks so we enjoyed this little suburb of Wellington called Hataitai.
 This house on the right is actually an apartment complex.  Very different
 Nada standing in front of the chapel on Moxham street in Hataitai.
 A department store window in downtown Wellington.  They had these signs in different places all over New Zealand because of the 100th Anniversary of ANZAC Day.
 On the wharf they had some interesting decorations.

They had a couple of ships in the harbour because of the ANZAC Holiday.

 Above are some replicas of the British Crown Jewels.  To the left is a cool building right by the hotel Ibis where we stayed.  I think it was an Art Academy.
 This pillar is art laying there on the sidewalk by the government buildings.
 This is the New Zealand Supreme Court building. Very different design.
 The building on the right is called the Beehive or Executive Wing. It is where the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers offices are.  The building has the elevator shafts going up the middle.
 Reed standing in front of a memorial for World War I and II Veterans.  There were quite a few wreaths there because of the holiday.
 The building on the right is the Parliament building.  It is where they hold their meetings.  The Beehive is just offices.

 Saint Paul's National Cathedral.  They had an art show going on inside some of them paintings by veterans.  The choir below was preparing for a concert Sunday evening.  For such a small choir they were putting out quite a bit of sound with the great acoustics.

 Later Sunday evening we went down to the wharf for dinner.  It was a nice evening.
Reed really likes taking different scenery and decoration shots.  We passed this light art sculpture on the way back to the hotel.  A very nice day.

On Monday, April 27, 2015 we got up, ate breakfast at Subway and walked to the Te Papa Museum.  It poured rain outside all day so this was a great day to do the museum.  We were there for six hours.  We saw most every exhibit but some very quickly.  The neatest exhibit and most popular was the Gallipoli display.  The statues were huge and it told the story of when the New Zealand and Australian troops landed in Turkey on the Peninsula of Gallipoli and over 90 percent of the New Zealand troops were either killed or injured.  Very sad.  That is why they celebrate ANZAC day, (Australia New Zealand Army Core)  on April 25th to celebrate this battle of World War I. 

 They had these bigger than life statues all through the exhibit and told their true stories.  It was very interesting.
 This soldier was a doctor.

 A nurse serving on a hospital ship who had just received a letter that her brother had been killed. 
 You can see Nada standing by the statue so you can tell how very large they were.  They were very well done.  They were created by the Weta Cave people who did all the costumes, monsters, etc., for the Lord of The Rings Movie.
 They had a very large Maori Exhibit with Tiki's, weapons, Waka's (long boats), mats, cloaks and such.
 They had a couple of Wharenui, Maori meeting houses.  They have carvings all around the outside and on all the posts on the inside.
 Air New Zealand had a huge exhibit celebrating their 75 years of  business.  They had different types of planes, seats, uniforms, dishes they used for first class passengers, and a simulator.
 Some beautiful stain glass windows.
 We went out on one of the decks that overlooked Wellington and the harbour.
 To the right is a Maori, Waka.
 Some weaving from the Cook Islands.
 Interesting art.
 Entrance to the Te Papa Museum.
 The rain finally stopped and we walked to the wharf and had dinner at The Crab Shack. 
Another beautiful evening and walk home.

On Tuesday April 28, 2015 we got up, packed and checked out.  We caught a bus to Miramar and went to Weta Cave.  This is the production studio where they made all the props, costumes, weapons, gore and faces for all The Lord of the Rings movies.  They created Pandora and the tree for Avatar, did King Kong and many other movies.  They gave us a tour but would not let us take pictures.  It was very interesting.
 Nada with Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.  My Precious!
These were some of the Hobbit feet they used.  They would let us take pictures in the gift shop but not the actual working areas.

 Reed next to the really bad guy in Lord of the Rings.  They said it took them like 11 hours a day to get him all made up in this full body costume and there was only 6 minutes worth in the film Crazy!
Some of the weapons used in the movies.

 The trolls were in the front yard of the building.  You can see how huge they are.

After the cave we went to the Parliament buildings and went on a tour.  They made us check our camera so no pictures.  The government was in session and we sat and listened to them debate for about an hour.  They would interrupt each other and jeer.  It was interesting.
 We took a taxi to the airport and waited around for a couple of hours to board.  They had some different characters from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies so we took pictures.

We arrived home just after nine p.m.  We had a great time and are very glad we took this little break to see Wellington, The Capital of New Zealand.  Great memories.  This really is a very beautiful country with a lot of history and places to visit. 
We hope you enjoyed our visit to Wellington.  We are grateful for these little breaks so we can tour and see the many different things in this beautiful country.  We are grateful to be serving here in New Zealand.  We love both of the missions we are doing right now.  We get to meet many interesting people and see the Lord's work moving forward in many different ways.  The Gospel is true. you.  Until next time know we love and miss being with all of you.  Much love, Elder and Sister Spencer (aka) Reed and Nada


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