Today is Sunday, January 10th, and the past few days have been jam-packed with activities! Here’s a recap of the week.
On Wednesday, we visited the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which focused on New Zealand’s involvement in wars and the cultural aspects of the country. For example, there was a celebration of 75 years of New Zealand Air, life-sized model airplanes from the World War II, and many displays of Māori (indigenous) history and culture. Up next, was the ASB Classic International Tennis tournament, where we spectated professional women’s tennis. Big names like Sloane Stephens from the U.S. and Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark competed in the 6-day tournament. With this event, we witnessed the differences that sport holds for men versus women. In the case of tennis specifically, men play longer in five sets whereas women play only the best of three sets. As a result, men players are more recognized in news media where only a few women are well known.
Turning to Thursday, the group headed to the West Coast of the North Island for a one-night stay in Raglan. This coastal town is a huge hot spot for surfing and other water sports. While visiting this town, we met up with Holly Thorpe, a professor from the University of Waikato, and discussed sport tourism in New Zealand. After reading an article by Thorpe about sport tourism and hearing her lecture, the group went on a sport ethnography excursion detailing our personal interpretation of Raglan sport tourism. Sport tourism is defined as an experience of a physical activity tied to an experience of a place. For example, it would be considered sport tourism to travel to Raglan to hit the surf for the day. After this short assignment the group gathered and discussed our thoughts and observations illustrating our understanding of Raglan culture in sport.
On a rainy Friday, we made our way to the Avantidrome, a world-class cycling facility. We learned how to cycle on fixed-gear bicycles on the 250-meter velodrome track and had a tour of the facility as well. We even got to see some pro and Olympic cyclists in action. It was a blast! That night, we headed back to Auckland to watch the Skycity Breakers take on the Adelaide 36ers. The game that took place provided a good opportunity to compare and contrast the differences in basketball in New Zealand versus the United States. For example, they played a lot of music during play and the audience helped as a distraction of the other team.
Yesterday was a free day that was used for discovery and exploration. We all ended up at Waiheke Island, which is a about a 30 minute ferry ride off the coast of Auckland, to enjoy the sun, white beaches, and crystal clear blue water. The beach was nice and relaxing and also a cool break from the city life. Although the day was full of fun and shopping, some came back more kissed by the sun than others.
After a hike up Mount Eden where we overlooked the city with a pictruesque view, we made our way to Eden Park, home of the Blackcaps to watch some cricket. The energy was high in the stadium and it was hard to not be excited about the sport as well. The Blackcaps won over Sri Lanka which was exciting to be apart of. Our next stop is in Wellington and we hope to see you there!
Mā te wā! Until next time!