Monday, September 7, 2009


Well, I almost made it!

When time ran out, I was about 17 Followers behind the third place team. Not too bad. I had hoped to make it further of course, but fourth overall is still pretty good.

Congratulations to Lindy, Nicquel, and Craig & Linda who are all waiting to hear who gets to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

I had actually started my own travel blog weeks before I heard about the competition, then promptly abandoned it to focus on this blog. I'm still travelling, and keen to keep sharing insight and information. If anyone wants to stay in touch, visit my personal blog at called exploretainment from everywhere. I can be reached at

Finally, not one to squander any opportunity...

I'm in New Zealand and I need work! I am keen to work in the tourism industry, have my visa, will go anywhere and can start immediately. If anyone knows of an opportunity please let me know.

Thanks again to everyone for your support - looking forward to the next adventure...

Best wishes,


Hello everyone:

I have one hour to make the top three - it is very close.

If you're wondering what this is all about, I'm competiting for the chance to travel around NZ for three months as a travel blogger. I have less than one hour to make the final three (by attracting the most blog followers) and I NEED YOUR SUPPORT!

Please click FOLLOW underneath my picture and support my application. This is now urgent.

More information is available at

Cheers everyone!
Cat :)

Just Over Two Hours - ALMOST IN THIRD!

Hello friends:

We have just over two hours to get me into the top three. As it stands, 39 more followers would put me in a tie for third place.

I'm sure these last few hours will be important for us all - I'm almost there and need your help to make it!

Please encourage, cajole, pleasantly harass everyone you know to become a Follower.

This will be close - I know we can do it!

Best wishes,

The Final Evening

Hello everyone:

It's the final evening of the competition here in NZ and I'm in fourth place.

I'm confident that I can pull through - I just need a bit more support in the final hours.

The first place competitor has just reached 400, and I would like to do the same.

If everyone reading this blog can get one more person to join, that would be wonderful. Can't give up now!

Here's hoping the final hours will be fruitful.

Thanks for all your support!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Format THIS

I seem to be having formatting 'woes' currently. I'd like to think it's because of all the people trying to access my blog and clicking "FOLLOW" at the same time.

As soon as I can access my posts again without error messages, I'll fix things.

And thanks for all the support so far! I need to reach at least 300 in the next 18 hours to have a real chance at this.

I can make it with your continued support. I think I'll do a great job, and am excited to post fun and interesting information about NZ for you to enjoy. (Visiting Anton and the whale collection was incredible; I hope there will be more experiences like that.)

Not long to go now; I appreciate every effort you're making to help me realize (realise) this dream job!

Best wishes,

The Other Te Papa

I’m not sure a visit to Wellington would be complete without spending time at the National Museum, Te Papa. The collection is astounding. So far I’ve spent several days there and I haven’t seen everything. And of course visiting the same exhibits again yields new discoveries. I’d like to tell you about a specific collection.

Imagine you’re walking along a beach in New Zealand. You come across a beached whale. You call the Department of Conservation. The Department of Conservation calls Anton.

Anton is Te Papa’s marine mammals collection manager. He knows more about whales than anyone I’ve met. When you visit the marine mammals collection at Te Papa, near the giant squid, you’re looking at Anton’s work. What’s amazing is that the number of whale specimens on display does not give you a sense of the collection’s size. (The collection maintained by Te Papa is one of the largest in the world.) Away from the actual museum there’s another building where most of the collection is kept, along with countless other specimens in rows and rows of jars.

Lately Anton’s been working on unraveling the mysteries of the Spade-toothed whale. This video shows you how excited he is about his work, and the excitement is infectious!

Meeting Anton made me think about all of the effort that goes into museum displays. We see the end product, mostly oblivious to the work taken to create something worth looking at. And the research we see in displays is only part of what Anton does. Learning about whales gives us a greater understanding of life in the oceans, and ultimately our impact on the natural environment.

Next time you visit a museum, spare a quick thought for those dedicated and passionate enough to provide us with this fascinating, critical information.

The skull Anton is measuring is a Gray's beaked whale (Mesoplodon grayi) and the vertebra I'm holding is from an Arnoux's beaked whale (Berardius arnuxii). I know I have a photo of Anton twice, but the photo at the top is a nice one of the skull, and in this one you can see heaps of cool stuff behind him. Science rules, I know.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


We're almost at the end of time to gather blog followers. If you're reading this, I hope you've signed on as a follower, and thanks. If not, do it! Now! I've been enjoying working on this blog, and am keen to continue exploring New Zealand and sharing what I discover.

At the moment it looks as if my chance of making the final three will be in a push to make the third spot. I'd like to get 300 followers, and am half way there. This is where you come in.

If you've been enjoying my posts and are excited to see more, I need your help. Ask a friend to follow. Ask two friends. Someone at work, a neighbour, that person you've been wanting to talk to but couldn't think of what to say...

If every one of you is able to get one more person signed on, I think we'll do it.


Cheers everyone.

What Building Is This?

On my way home from working at Archives NZ (see post below) I walked along a street called The Terrace. I saw this building from The Terrace everyday for six weeks, but I don't know what it is. Can anyone help? Email me at if you can help figure this out.

Wellington Botanic Garden

I sometimes make less of an effort to sightsee in the city I’m living in. I find myself saying, “I can do that next weekend.” Is anyone else guilty of this? No more, I say.

After about three months of living in Wellington, I finally wandered into the Wellington Botanic Garden. Even though my most recent Canadian home had mild winters, I’m still delighted when greenery can blossom in winter. Fresh clean air! Birdsongs! The ability to stay outside for more than ten minutes! How wonderful.

The garden has been around for more than 100 years and is so much fun to stroll through. Whether you’re a begonia fan or just looking for a beautiful walk, I guarantee spending time here will make you feel good. I decided to film part of my audition video here; naturally, the day I came back it was overcast. (But still beautiful!) I also stumbled across the Peace Garden and learned that Wellington has been an officially nuclear-weapon-free zone since the early 1980’s.

I’ll bet when you take a moment to relax, you don’t visualise congested 5pm traffic, airports, or birthday parties for five-year-olds. I’m guessing you picture something more soothing and peaceful. Next time you need a break, I suggest the Wellington Botanic Garden.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Improvised Fun

There is a place called The Fringe Bar on Cuba Street in Wellington. It's a great place for comedy. I've been checking out the Wellington Improvisation Troupe's Wednesday night improv shows. Funny stuff! If you're a local, there are workshops you can take to learn how to develop your spontaneous enthusiasm. :)

The second annual NZ Improv Festival will be happening October
7th to 10th in Wellington. There will be improvisers from all over NZ, as well as a group from Melbourne. Should be hilarious, if the regular WIT shows are anything to go by! Info is available on the WIT website. I'm guessing it will sell out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Capital Architecture

A quick Google Image search for “Wellington Harbour“ will show you how pretty the waterfront is. It’s a natural amphitheatre. Quite compact and flat, the city centre is easily explored on foot. This gives way to hills dotted with houses. The tricky thing about the terrain is that the forces that created it are also capable of destroying it.

Wellington is very much in earthquake territory. A major fault line runs through the city, with active parallel faults close by. Minor quakes happen regularly, but many locals I’ve spoken with joke that “the big one” is overdue.

This has meant rethinking how buildings are designed, and in some cases, earthquake-proofing existing structures. Parliament House is a great example of this. A New Zealander pioneered the technology that has essentially earthquake-proofed buildings up to about 7 or 7.5 on the Richter scale. (Info from They have a fantastic video that explains the technology.)

A short distance from Parliament is Old St. Paul’s cathedral. It was built in the mid 1800’s in 19th century Gothic Revival style. At present, the building is not earthquake-proof. I’m not sure how it would be done, but this place is worth protecting. Native timber, rich stained glass…it’s not hard to understand why this is an extremely popular place for weddings and other functions.

And I think the Government Buildings Historic Reserve is worth a look. It’s the largest wooden building in the southern hemisphere. That’s right. Wooden. Made to look like stone. It’s quite impressive. You can visit part of it; the rest is used as the Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington. The statue is of former Prime Minister Peter Fraser.

Finally for today, I think it's neat that given the right time of day, even the motorway can help make the skyline look impressive...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Archives NZ

I spent about six weeks working at New Zealand’s national archives building in July / August 2009.

It was fascinating. The majority of their collection is stored on massive shelving units that each weigh about the same as a bus. Thanks to physics, much easier to move.

Photo taken with permission from Archives NZ

My time was spent retrieving items from the stacks and lots of digitizing. Some records are restricted; others are available for public viewing. I retrieved requests for a plane crash investigation from the 1920’s, coroner’s reports, wills, land development plans, etc.

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the start of WWII, and there are many WWII records at Archives NZ. One soldier’s diary describes his capture, imprisonment, and life as a POW in Italy in the early 1940’s. Another diary described a POW’s run-in at gun point with Mussolini. I also read how some POWs felt when they received their Canadian Red Cross care packages. Bars of soap! Chocolate! Real socks! The soldier wrote that the men would never, ever be able to find words to express how much joy the little care packages gave them, how they lived for these moments and that at times it was getting these small tokens that gave them enough hope to survive a few days more.

Individuals frequently look for war records of family members. As requests come in the files are scanned and put online for public viewing. It was difficult not to feel moved by the piles and piles of envelopes, knowing so many have the word ‘DECEASED’ generically stamped across the front page. One file had these words: "discharged due to wounds received in action. Location of wound: left leg. (Blown off)" Just like that. Blown off. In parentheses.

Perhaps most moving of all are the "Fit for Service" forms. One side of the paper might read "Farmer from Otago" and on the other side "Killed in Action, Gallipoli, June 10 1915."

Working at Archives NZ has given me a much greater appreciation of the written word.

Something I learned: UNESCO has created a program called the Memory of the World. Countries submit records believed to be significant to the recorded history of the human race. Everything from the Canadian Hudson’s Bay Company Archival Records to the Wizard of Oz to the earliest known record of the Phoenician alphabet (“generally believed to be the ancestor of almost all modern alphabets” says Wikipedia) has been registered. As of August 2009 New Zealand has two records on the list – the Treaty of Waitangi and the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition. Both of these documents are housed at Archives NZ and are available for the public to view, free of charge.

I think that's pretty cool.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Adventure Begins

Hello / Bonjour / Kia Ora everyone! I'm Cat from Canada. I'm in New Zealand on a working holiday, and am excited to explore the length of this country. While searching for tourism jobs, I came across the Entirely Kiwi opportunity to be a travel blogger for three months.

This blog means I'm one step closer to being that lucky person. So let's get into it; hopefully this will be the same blog you'll follow once the winner is announced.

If you haven't seen my audition video on YouTube, have a look!