Picton, New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, means land of the long white cloud. This photo, taken from the ship as we traveled down Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton, demonstrates the reason for the name. A perpetual white cloud covers the alpine ridge that runs the length of New Zealand.

Picton, the tiny port where we docked, lies in the Marlborough District, New Zealand’s wine-growing area. We visited Allan Scott Winery, where we had a tasting as well as an explanation of the process for making both plain and sparkling wine.

Before the tasting, we visited the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, an aviation museum started by Sir Peter Jackson, the director and producer of the Lord of the Rings movies. Every item is authentic. There are over 25 air planes from the World War I era, most in flying condition. The first planes we saw show the learning curve they went through to figure out how to position guns to protect the plane without damaging themselves. It seems obvious once the problem was solved, but it was not obvious in the beginning. There are examples of uniforms from both sides. They have the remains of the Red Baron’s plane. There are even examples of needlework done by wounded warriors as they filled the time for their recovery. The sentiments confirm their thoughts of home, “Thinking of you,” “For my Dear Father.” This place definitely deserves more time.

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