Raking the woods. Yes.

Volunteering in New Zealand - Rebecca Shinners:

Raking the woods. Yes.

We just got back from Bushy Park! It’s a nature preserve with a million dollar “predator fence” that keeps out rats, stoats, and all other enemies of the beloved kiwi bird. Our first day of work we did trail maintenance (literally, raking the trails, as well as cutting branches), and then slept on the floor of the barn loft. Good times. I even got Steve and Raph to throw the frisbee around with me.

The next day was the annual fundraising festival. Since the gates were open to let in the thousands of guests, our group was assigned to gate guarding duty for most of the day. Steve and I hung out at the foot passenger gate most of the day, tallying where everyone was from (”Wanghanui? No? Where are you from?) It felt strange to be asking hundreds of Kiwi people where they were from, when we were obviously the foreigners. I tried to work on my Kiwi accent though. And mostly failed.

Raph brought us food, beer, and pageant girls, and Toby finally came to give us a little break to enjoy the festivities. Rocking good time. moon bounce, tons of food, lots of vendors, bucking bronco, even native American performers.

I even liked just sitting by the gate though, it was cool to talk to the actual New Zealanders, and talk about life for the real people, instead of what is presented to tourists.

That night, the guys stole the frisbee and went off without me while I made dinner. We had an awesome meal outside watching the sunset and later had some champagne in celebration.

The next day (today? keeping track of time is very strange here) we were on clean up duty, then went through the bush to clear more trails. Raph managed to slice his leg open with a machete-type thing and we packed up early to get him to the hospital. On the way home from Bushy we stopped by a fresh strawberry stand (yay!) and the beach.

After not showering for three days, it feels good to be back in Lower Hutt. Although I miss the swings and trampoline at the park. Day off tomorrow – we might head to the botanical gardens in Wellington.

www.volunteer.org.nz