It wasn’t mentioned in our last blog but we also hiked to Mt. Eden and went to a New Zealand Blackcaps vs Sri Lanka cricket game. The Blackcaps pulled out a win with a huge roar from the stadium! The length of the game was only two and half hours and some locals said it was one of the shortest cricket games they’ve ever seen. What a day!
We then departed from Auckland by plane on Monday to arrive in sunny Wellington for what would be a four-night stay. Once we checked into our hostel, we gathered for a group mile hike to the summit of Mount Victoria. The views over Wellington’s harbor were stunning as you look 360 degrees around. We gazed as the sun beautifully sat over the surrounding mountains and behind the Wellington landscape. This would be the perfect setting for a great week.
On Tuesday, we started this windy day learning more about the sport of rugby. Our first stop was a tour of the New Zealand Rugby House. It is here where we learned all about the history of New Zealand’s rugby team, the All Blacks and their historic success. We even got to hold the 2015 Rugby World Cup! This tour showed how much New Zealand values rugby as a central part of their country and takes pride in it on a world-scale. That afternoon, we attended a Wellington Hurricanes practice, one of New Zealand’s professional rugby teams. Some of these players also played on the All Blacks winning squad at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Seeing these players up close made us realize how intense and terrifying it would be to get tackled by one of them on the field. With those experiences we talked about the psychology behind high contact sports on the pleasure associated with the brutality of the game. We compared this to American football and how it is similar in the fact that in wanting to be the best, dominance over an opponent is sought out which provides the satisfaction individuals are searching for.
Wednesday was our first chance to live some sports-action with netball at the Wellington Netball Centre! Netball is a cross between handball and basketball, and the most women’s sport in New Zealand. To score, there is a basket on both ends of the court, but with no backboard. There are only 7 players for each team on the court at all times. There is no dribbling or walking with the ball, and each player has court restrictions. This means they are not allowed to utilize the full court like basketball. After a brief explanation of how to play netball, we divided into teams and hit the court! It was a ton of fun and we didn’t want it to end. We had two lectures that afternoon, one about basketball in New Zealand and the other about general sports in New Zealand. They were two very informative lectures that provided insight on New Zealand athletics and how they can continue to be successful in the future. Our reading focused on the game of netball and the space provided for transgender athletes. Our discussion was heavily focused on the treatment of these individuals by others like the gay community who are very transphobic, which is interesting given the status of homosexuals in society right now. This mocks an oppressor versus oppressed mentality in sport, as trans individuals do not get what they want even though homosexuals are.
OLÉ, OLÉ, OLÉ, OLÉ. It was football day on Thursday. Our event that day was attending the Olé Football Academy to bare witness to one of the only two football (soccer) academies in New Zealand. This academy focuses on the holistic person making well-educated people who are good at soccer. After visiting the Olé Football Academy, we had the rest of the day to ourselves. Half of us went paintballing and the other ventured around Wellington to the beach, and rode the Wellington Cable Car to the botanical gardens.
It’s now Friday and we’re off to Picton for grocery shopping then to Lockmara Lodge for three nights. Spirits are high as we ride the ferry for our next adventure!