We arrived this morning to a beautiful, sunny day in Auckland, New Zealand. Behind me in this photograph you can see several of the 47 volcanoes that fill the water around the port. They look like tiny islands rising out of the sea. New Zealand sits on the meeting of two tectonic plates and is home to multiple earthquakes and volcanoes, though the last volcanic eruption was 600 years ago.
Below is an example of a 75 year old kauri tree which is really just a baby. These trees live to 1600 years of age and are the source of the sticky resin that traps insects and then hardens to make amber. This sample is in Eden Garden, a small garden filled with a vast variety of plants. They are extremely slow growing and were widely cut by the Maori when they first came to New Zealand about 800 years ago. At that point they did not realize how long it took them to reach the enormous size they finally reach. They are carefully protected now.
After lunch at Eden Garden, we visited the War Memorial Museum which was built by two architect brothers returning from World War I. In the museum we saw beautiful example of Maori canoes, meeting houses, storage huts, tools, and carvings. The ship was to leave at 4:15 PM so we had to pass on the more modern exhibits. Auckland definitely fits in the category of places that need to be revisited.