Tuesday, 15 March 2016

On Saturday, February 6, 2016, we got up and cleaned.  We were supposed to meet one of our YSA to take engagement pictures for them but it was pouring rain all morning.  The rain finally stopped and Leai called and asked if we could meet them at Cornwall Park and still do pictures.  We needed to pick up a couple of things so we went to the Warehouse on Pah Road that is out by Cornwall Park about 1/2 an hour away from our flat.  As we were pulling out of the parking lot a man backed into us.  I was so worried that we would be in trouble and we would not be able to drive the car especially since Sally was coming in two days. 
Luckily no one was injured and we could still drive the car.  The man did have insurance and gave us all his information.

We then headed to Cornwall Park and took a couple of pictures to check out the light and where we wanted to take pictures of Leai and Epoki.

Reed kept having me stand in different places trying to work out the light and where we thought would be good places for pictures.
Epoki and Leai.  Leai was the first YSA we met when we attended the Tongan Ward when we first arrived in New Zealand.  We have stayed connected with her and she asked if we would please take their engagement pictures.  We gave it our best shot and thought some of them turned our really good.

Leai and Epoki were very happy with the pictures and have printed their wedding announcements.  They are getting married in June.  Very nice young people.

Sunday, February 7, 2016 we drove to the airport at 7:00 a.m. to meet our good friends Brad and Linda Waddoups.  They are coming through New Zealand for a few days and then heading to Australia where Brad served his mission.  We were so excited to see them.

We drove with them to downtown Auckland to let them check into their hotel.  Then we parked their car and took them with us to Takapuna.  Reed took them to see the Area Office where we work and down to Takapuna Beach.  I went home and got dinner put together in the crockpot.
After a light lunch we headed to Cornwall Park where there are so many beautiful trees.
Brad, Linda and Nada at One Tree Hill with Auckland and Rangatoto Island behind us.  We took them to church with us.
After church we headed back to our flat and had a nice dinner and visit.  Reed fixed Pavlova for dessert.  It is an Australian/New Zealand dessert and it was yummy!

We talked them into meeting us Monday night in Rotorua to go to the Mauri Experience.  We took them to Mount Victoria to watch the sunset and the lights come on downtown across the bay. We took them to their hotel.  What a wonderful day.

Monday, February 8, 2016.  Sally, Bryce and Jane arrived today.  Reed and I packed a suitcase and went over to the office to work for a couple of hours.  We headed to the airport at 12:40 to meet Sally's plane.  We had clear roads but their plane came in earlier than we thought and they went right through customs so we missed them.  I was so disappointed.  I wanted to watch them come through the doors but they were waiting for us to come through the doors.  Oh My, it was so fun to see them.  I couldn't believe they were here.  Sally ran to me as I hurried through the doors and gave me a giant hug.  Then Jane yelled "Grandma" and came running for a hug.  Reed had dropped me off so he came hurrying through a few minutes later.  What a wonderful reunion.  Sally and Bryce were very good sports about us not being right there when they arrived.

We got their luggage all loaded and headed to Rotorua.  We have tickets for the Te Puia Mauri Experience at 6:00 p.m. and it is a three hour drive.  We want to get there with a little time to spare.

First stop on the way was for some ice cream with fruit.  YUMMY!

We arrived in Rotorua about 5:00 p.m.  We checked into the Brylin Motel, unpacked, got ready and headed over to Te Puia for the evening.

 Maori carving as you enter into the grounds.
We let Jane pick out a gift from Grandma and Grandpa.  This sheep is what she wanted.  She loved it the whole time she was here and made sure it was in her backpack when she left.
These carved poles represent the 12 Heavens in Maori spiritual tradition.  Each pole is carved with a different God that rules in that level.

Brad and Linda met us for the evening performance.  They had a good day at Cathedral Cove.  Today the weather was beautiful.  It was fun to be here all together.
Waiting for the Maori Warrior to come out and offer the leaf of peace to allow us to enter the Marae.  The guy in the orange shirt was chosen as our chief for the night.
Jane was very enthralled watching the warriors perform with their weapons, the way they move their bodies and the faces they pull.
The warrior chosen to come and decide if we are peaceful and to offer the leaf to our chief.
The Mauri Family come out to welcome us into their Marae.  The warriors perform with their weapons and they sing to welcome us in.

Jane, Sally, Linda and Nada all went up on stage to learn the Poi Dance.  Jane wanted to be up front and center with Sally right behind her.  Linda and I went to the back.  Jane was so cute!
Bryce, Reed and Brad all went up to perform the Haka.  Reed is behind the man in orange.
Sally, Jane, Bryce, Nada and Reed having the delicious meal.  It really is a nice Hangi dinner.  You definitely do not go away hungry.  We sat with a nice couple from France on holiday and he took this picture for us.

After dinner we went out to see the mud pools and the geysers.  The smell of sulphur is pretty strong and the wind blows the steam towards us.  We all got a little wet.

The big geyser went off to its highest about 8:30 p.m.  They said it reaches about 40 meters in height but we could not tell when the highest one went off.  For the half hour we watched it just kept going off continually.  Sometimes higher than others.  The white on the ground all around the geysers is silica from something in the water.  This area has steam geysers going off all over.

Tuesday morning we got up and headed to Hobbiton for a 9:15 appointment.  It did a light misty rain for part of the time but we only put up the umbrellas for a few minutes.  Brad and Linda followed us there.  I cannot believe it.  We had some very cute pictures and now I cannot find any of them.  Somehow they were deleted.

We then said goodbye to the Waddoups and we headed to the Coromandel Peninsula to hike Cathedral Cove.  Jane was a great hiker and we all had fun in the water.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  We stopped in Tairua and bought fish and chips.  We ate them in the park so Jane could play for a few minutes.  Again, we cannot find the pictures.  It makes me so sad.

Wednesday, February 10th we got up and had a good breakfast then walked to the bus station and took the bus to downtown Auckland.  We went shopping at the All Blacks store.  We knew Bryce would love it and they bought some souvenirs for the boys here.  Jane kept posing for grandpa.

Jane was having fun dancing around and climbing into the window.

We headed to the Sky City Tower to go up to the 53rd floor to eat at the Orbitz Restaurant.  We stopped at the observation deck first.

We explored then took the other elevator to the top floor in the 60's then back to lunch at Orbitz Restaurant.  Beautiful views and great food.

After lunch we walked to the wharf where Reed, Sally and Bryce went sailing for 2 and a half hours on an Americas Cup Boat.  Jane and Nada are waiving goodbye.  We took the ferry over to Devonport and back and then went to the lolly shop and bought whatever treats Jane chose.
This was a working sailboat.  Reed and Bryce are taking their turn raising the sail here.
Sally and Bryce taking their turn turning the sail as they are out in the harbour.
 Reed took a turn steering the boat.
Reed and Sally helping with the sail.  They said it was very fun but work. They enjoyed every minute.  Jane and I had a lot of fun together but she was glad when her Mom and Dad returned.
We took the bus back to Takapuna where we live and Jane wanted to go swimming in our pool.  Of course, Reed was more than happy to take her.  They had a great time.  It was a wonderful day.  We have been blessed with great weather while they have been here.

I am going to finish this blog here.  I have so many pictures and I still have more days to report on so I will continue our time with Sally, Bryce and Jane in the next blog.  We have had a great week that began with Brad and Linda and continued with our wonderful family.  We are so blessed.

Until next time, love Elder and Sister Spencer (aka Reed and Nada)


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