New Zealand: Short Vignettes about the New Zealand

One of the first things we noticed about New Zealand was the fresh air. We breathed in deeply and felt exhilarated. It smelled so good, and we were still in Auckland. On the Auckland Explorer Bus tour, we decided to visit the Parnell Rose Gardens. We could smell the roses as we stepped off the bus. While smokers, and the rare black smoke vehicle, can change the air quality for the worse, we were overjoyed to be able to experience clean air for most of our trip to New Zealand.

New Zealand Money

New Zealand’s money has a slick texture that is kind of stiff. It’s clear that it’s made from something other than what the U.S. uses. I asked the women at the bank where we exchanged money, and she said that New Zealand currency is made from polyurethane. If it gets wet, you just have to wipe it off; there’s no damage to the money at all.

Eating out in the Afternoon

Finding a place to eat gets tricky around 3:30 in the afternoon when many cafes stop serving and some restaurants haven’t opened for dinner. Usually it just takes a little more walking, settling for a higher-priced meal, or ducking into a dairy (convenience store) for a hot pie.

Tiritiri Matangi’s Jumping Spider

When we sat down to eat at the Tiritiri Matangi Wildlife Sanctuary, I opened my bag and pulled out what we had packed. I put my arms on the table and noticed a spider running along the top. It ran back and forth along the edge, sometimes disappearing to the underside.

The birds tweeted and sang. Some flew close to our table. “You better stay close spider.” He turned to face me. “Those birds may try to eat you.” He hid under the table. He came back up and we talked. I pulled my backpack from the ground and began to put things away.

The spider must have thought I was okay for a human because he crouched down, wiggled his butt and sprang onto my backpack. I screeched and fell back. Then I brushed him off the pack. He fell to the ground and walked away. I felt a little bad. After all, we were just becoming friends, but I couldn’t overcome my fear to make this friendship work.

The Fern Trees of Tiritiri Matangi

The tree ferns on Tiritiri Matangi grow up like trees. They are hollow on the inside, so when they get to tall, they die because they aren’t able to provide water to the upper reaches to stay alive. This height is more or less uniform among the plants. There must be a reason why they don’t just stop growing before they reach that height. (If you purchase my book “Polly Penguin Wants to Fly” from Amazon or from this website, I will give $1 of the proceeds to Tiritiri Matangi Island for their work with New Zealand’s native species including Little Blue Penguins.)

Wellington Cable Cars

You can take a cable car in Wellington from the downtown area up the hill to the botanic garden and a stop for Zealandia. However, this form of travel isn’t limited to public transportation. Some homes have their own cable cars, and it’s the only way they can get supplies to their homes.

Rotorua’s Atmosphere

Going from the wind and storm of Wellington, Rotorua was warm and full of birdsong. People warned us about the smell of sulfur in the air, but it came and went without any rhyme or reason. Is sulfur in the air healthy? Does it smell fresher than other pollutants? I’m not sure, but it definitely was interesting. Rotorua did have its own storms. I told Jenya that New Zealand doesn’t have many thunderstorms, and 20 minutes later, the lightning and thunder rained down on us in our hot tub.


New Zealand: Photos from Whakarewarewa in Rotorua

Whakarewarewa, the Living Maori Village, is a great place to find geothermal activity and Maori culture. We enjoyed the hangi pie, cooked using the natural geothermal activity, and the presentation of Maori dances, songs, and the haka. There are several places to walk and observe the geothermal features of the area. Here are some photos from our trip there.

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Tips for Becoming a Super Saver

In her book “Rich Enough? A Laid-back Guide for Every Kiwi,” Mary Holm, “New Zealand’s Most Trusted Money Expert,” gives several suggestions for becoming a super saver. By following this advice, you should be able to save more than you think you can in a shorter time span.

Super Saver Rules

The first rule is to set yourself a goal. If you play point and click games, or old-school video games, you know that racking up points is good, but having a destination is better. You can do the same thing in your savings. Have a goal, so that you can motivate yourself to get to the next level. Just be sure it’s a SMART goal.

Know what you’re saving for. What is it that you want to achieve through savings? Find a pictorial representation and put it where you can see it. Use that as your motivation.

Start small. Even if you’re just putting away $10 a month at the beginning, you’re doing something for your future. As soon as you have enough to open an interest-bearing account, get your money in there. Choose an account that will penalize you for withdrawing funds.

Use a mental trick. Holm suggests imagining your job paid you 5 percent less. Where would you cut back? Make those cuts and put that 5 percent into your savings.

Pay off a loan? Find a cheaper company for services like Internet, cable, or electricity? Paid less taxes? Got a tax refund? Take half the savings that you realize and put it into your long-term account. Do the same thing if you get a raise; put half of it in savings before you adjust your lifestyle to the increase in funds.

Any one-off payments can be put into your savings account as well. If you get an inheritance, you can use some of the money, but put most of it towards your goal. Follow these suggestions, and you’re on your way to becoming a super saver.

Use Dean Graziosi’s ‘Millionaire Success Habits’ to Make Success Habitual

Yes, I broke down and ordered Dean Graziosi’s “Millionaire Success Habits.” If you’re not familiar with Graziosi, he has made his money in real estate, motivational speaking, and is working on what he and Tony Robbins call “The Knowledge Industry Business,” and he wants to share everything he’s learned with you.

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The Most Important Thing to Know when Investing in Funds? Fees.

One of the pieces of financial advice that “New Zealand’s Most Trusted Money Expert” Mary Holm gives in her book “Rich Enough? A Laid-Back Guide for Every Kiwi” (affiliate link) is to look at the fees when investing in funds of any type. Holm cites a plethora of data to support this claim.

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