AUCKLAND, NZ. I am making my way towards the water through the intricate crowded lanes crossing High Street. People seem hurried; it’s rush hour. A few suited-up professionals eating sushi out of a recyclable container, the wind managing to blow away a napkin, sending it flying off in the distance and onto the busy streets. This is Auckland, no fear; the gentleman stood up, and rushed towards it, catching the runaway like a predator, and with the same speed, tossing it away in a nearby recycling bin. I am impressed; time and time again, I have noticed the same commitment to preservation, Auckland shining, spotless, protected. Only yesterday on my ferry ride, I was denied boarding, after naively carrying some snacks in a plastic bag. “This is a conservation island, no open bags.” I love their dedication to preserve, and I love how passionate everyone seems to be about the nature around. Auckland is brick and mortar, only but a garden for the beautiful domains reigning all throughout.
Whenever you talk to any locals, they mention nature, which almost acts like a powerful element gluing them together. In Auckland, nature takes on godly characteristics, being the force that inspires togetherness and forges a spirit of connection. In 2014, the Department of Conservation itself stated how “New Zealand’s natural heritage shapes the country’s cultural identity and … New Zealanders identify strongly with conservation lands and waters.” What becomes interesting is that in New Zealand nature seems to take on a certain cultural dimension, our duty to protect it being integrated with its history, modern desirability and consumption of landscape, as well as more recently, tourism.
When travelers board a plane to visit New Zealand, they expect clean, stunning and accessible scenery. This is almost the unwritten promise of the nation: come to the edge of the end of the world, and the nature will surprise, breathtaking sceneries that will take you away into an animation of the senses. Travelers cling onto this promise, and locals promote it, feeding it like a romantic ideal. I don’t imagine any traveler boarding a plane to Auckland without their hiking or activewear gear packed neatly, maybe specifically purchased for the trip. This is one of the destinations where you will need it. How could you even have the audacity to land without it? In the precise moment you taxi down the runway, you’ll spot it; the vast greenery around, striking trees growing their intricate roots towards the skies.
Auckland is spread out, unashamed. (…)
The sea, the sky, the ranges, are passive, but they make an eloquent shout.1
It is only fitting that Auckland was born out of a love story. A love story kept alive by generations, written on the quiescent ashes of the volcanic fields. The city’s beauty will continue to inspire many in their search for their own story, while climbing the nearby domains on a quiet, afternoon hike; the charm of the scenery like a soothing energy that invigorates, memories that will forever be imprinted on the footsteps that transverse the uneven terrains.
© Cover Photo by Pablo Garbarino | Flickr @ elbroka
© 1. Gee, Maurice. Going West. pg 33. | New Zealand Department of Conservation