A Saturday in Auckland

What does GHS do on a sunny Saturday in Auckland? As it turns out, it’s was a busy day filled with a variety of activities.

The day begins with classes. I know, it’s Saturday, so why are we in class? One of the advantages of GHS is our ability to be flexible and change up our schedule to allow us to take advantage of the many opportunities along the way. So…we spent Wednesday on Rangitoto Island and moved classes to Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon brings an optional trip to Mission Beach. It felt a bit surreal to be on a beach in New Zealand in March, swimming, sunbathing, watching the tide go out and enjoying beach food in the local cafes. Mission Beach felt both like any beach in North America with sun, sand and happy beachgoers, but also unlike home as we watched the tidal flats appear and felt the warm salt water. Views across the ocean to Rangitoto reminded us of our hike, and the sailboats, kayaks and ferries recalled many of the activities we have enjoyed this term.

Others stayed back and went shopping, enjoyed a special lunch in town or worked on their essays and assignments. A free afternoon was just what we needed.

The evening brought an opportunity for some to attend the John Mayer concert at Sparks Arena. What a great choice that turned out to be. The concert opened with a hymn of remembrance for the victims of the terror attack last Friday which was followed by the performance of a “haka” by a Maori group dressed in traditional attire.

For those of you unfamiliar with a haka, it’s done as a mark of respect or challenge and has become a symbol in the last few days of unity of New Zealanders in support of the victims. There are many different haka, the most common being the one made famous by the All Blacks rugby team. A special haka has been written and performed throughout the country this week. It was an honour for us to experience this tradition in such a large setting at such a significant moment.

The concert that followed was wonderful. We were so glad we went.