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August 5, 2013 | by  | in Features Homepage | [ssba]


When asked to write a piece on travelling for this year’s Te Ao Mārama, I was hard-pressed as to what exactly I could write about. I don’t consider myself an avid traveller, nor do I think I have the greatest knowledge and expertise for putting words down on paper, and then there is the fact of trying to make it relatable to Māori! So… where to start, or rather how do I start?

As a child I had a huge world-atlas book, showcasing each nation’s flag, sites of interest, pictures, facts, and statistics. Of all things in my childhood, this book was/is probably one of my fondest memories. It would be safe to say that this one item ignited my passion for travelling.

In terms of travelling, I have been fortunate enough to do a fair amount for someone of only 22 years of age. Let’s just say by the age of 5, I had been to Disneyland twice; by the age of 10, I had seen almost all of the South Island there is to see in one whole summer; and by the age of 15, Euro Disney another two times. My love for travel comes directly from my parents. With both parents being servicemen/women with Ngāti Tūmatauenga (NZ Army), they themselves were doing a lot of travelling domestically, and my father was often deployed overseas. It became common for my father to be posted overseas for periods of time ranging from as little as one month, to perhaps eight to ten at any one time. Upon his return, we would often take a holiday together as a whānau. Sometimes, this meant heading to Nan’s in Rotorua for a week, hunting in the Ureweras, or, before the times of Grabaseat, driving all the way from Tāmaki to Ōtautahi to see my mum’s side of the whānau.

My parents saw the opportunity and were financially in a position to travel with two children often enough that we got to see a fair bit of the world at a young age (and at a cheaper price).

As a young adult, I am grateful to have travelled so much at a very young age. It not only gave me a greater perspective of the world, but has also kept me grounded in terms of the lives we live here in New Zealand and opened my eyes to different, amazing cultures.

I recently returned from a holiday to the USA. I have been there twice before, but this time I was going to see as much, do as much, and eat as much as possible. Starting in Hawaiʻi, then heading to Washington D.C., New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and then finally San Francisco.  A whirlwind four weeks’ worth of travels, including sites such as Waikiki, the White House, Ground Zero, a Beyoncé concert, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Although the trip was amazing, the point of the whole adventure was to visit my mum, who lives and works in Washington D.C. at the New Zealand Embassy. It had been approximately two years since I had last seen her.

Travelling for me is more than going on a holiday with whānau, taking a road trip with friends, or boarding a plane to get from A to B. Travelling has to have a point, the ‘why’ more than the ‘how’. I mean, we don’t pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to go swimming in Hawaiʻi, when there are perfectly amazing beaches right on our doorstep here in Aotearoa.

For someone like myself, travelling is essential to living. I cannot live a life surrounded by the same things FOREVER; I think this is the reason I study Design also. Having to explore, see, document the new and different is pretty much essential to the life I live. I love different cultures, their food, ceremonies, dress, everything that encompasses who ‘they’ are and how they identify ‘themselves’ to the rest of the world is something I find interesting.

Are we not always yearning for a getaway? When we have had a stressful day, even the minor act of ‘taking a walk’ is an escape within itself. A brief escape from our reality to clear the head and the senses. Travelling is in us, somewhere deep down inside all of us. All of our ancestors, no matter where we all come from, have no doubt (via boat/plane/car/foot/horse/waka) made the choice to travel for the purpose of exploration and betterment of life!

We travel to live life, to explore, to see the unseen, and to ultimately find our purpose and place within the complexities of life itself.

If there are any pearls of wisdom I hope to leave you with, they would be that life is one big journey. So make the most of it, and in the famous words of the Ray Charles, “Hit the road Jack, and don’t yah come back!”


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