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Mar 31, 2009


I'm back from a wonderful trip. Do you want to hear about it? Do you know anything about New Zealand? I'll give you some of the most important details. It is situated in Oceania which is in the Pacific Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere. It's population is about four million, so, it is not very populated. It is about one hundred and four square miles in size, spread out over two main islands, North and South, and a few smaller islands. English is the main language, though there is a second, native language of Maori, from the people of the same name. The Maoris arrived from Polynesia about a thousand years ago. They were hunter gatherers who lived off of the land and sea. In 1642 the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman sighted* the land, then in 1769 Captain James Cook, the English explorer, landed. Many Europeans came soon afterwards to hunt whales and seals, others to farm and develop towns. Of course, there were conflicts and wars between the Europeans and the Maori over land. In 1840 the British crown gained control of the country, but still there are disputes over who really owns 'Aotearoa' which is the Maori name for the country. The Kiwis, or natives, are extremely proud of their country, especially of its natural beauty: the Snowy Alps, sunny beaches, massive fiords, volcanoes, lakes, forests, and quiet rolling hills.

Grammar notes.

 Related vocabulary: population/ populated, language, hunters, explorer, conflicts, natives, crown, to gain, to know something about..., to sight.

Exs: I don't know anything about mechanics, but my brother does.

Do you know anything about the subjunctive? It's really not too difficult in English.

The sailor sighted an island that had never been seen before. * Though 'to sight' is related to the verb 'to see' it is used in terms of search and discovery.


I wish that I had had more time to discover the amazing land of New Zealand. In total, I only had about one week there, from arriving to leaving. I did, however, make the most of it. I whizzed around at 100 miles per hour, trying to see as much as possible. "You travel really well, Anna!" said my brother, observing me after I had been there for a couple of days. I had not experienced any jetlag, and I was determined that I wouldn't. I didn't want anything to spoil my treat! I spent two days in Christchurch, where my brother lives. What a beautiful city! It is like a spotless park. The Kiwis take pride in keeping their country clean, and they recycle just about everything. Then I flew South to Queenstown. I stayed at a Youth Hostel right on the lake which had 'The Remarkables', a line of mountains, to the side. I toured Fiordland which you can see a little of in my photo. Then, on my last day there, I treated myself to a helicopter ride over part of the Alps. Wow! Can anyone say spectacular? What views! We flew over dense forests that I have seen before in some of  the Lord of the Rings. The whole experience was like being in a story book. My last few days were spent with my brother. We went sight seeing* to wineries, beeches, and even a thermal spa. I was sad to say goodbye to my brother, but after being in New Zealand, I fully understand why he has lived there for the past eleven years.

 Grammar notes.

Useful vocabulary: to sight see, to make the most of ..., to whizz around, spotless, to take pride, to treat oneself/ a treat.

** With the expression 'to sight see', the word 'see' only changes slightly with a change of tense. We never say "I sight saw" for the past. And it sounds awkward to use 'seen', as in "Have you ever sight seen?" It is best to use the past of the verb 'to go:

We went sight seeing all over the place.

Have you ever been sight seeing?

We will need to sight see some more before we leave this city.

 The Pluperfect:

Exs:They hadn't had enough time to study, but they took the test anyway.

He had lived in the South for twenty years, but he got married and has lived in the North for the past year.