Meeting MoaNovember 21, 2017 in New Zealand
Our flight aboard Air New Zealand was pleasant enough, with friendly staff (offering Hugo tablets for his headache without him even asking) and a strange safety video featuring Cuba Gooding Junior and Katie Holmes (if New Zealand is so great why do they need Americans to narrate?!). Once we had touched down, we threw away all our illegal peppers, cucumber (sadly not eaten due to our hummus being confiscated at security in Sydney - posh travellers, we are) and orange skins before joining separate passport queues. Hugo skipped on through with his kiwi passport whilst I waited to be asked a couple of questions. I thought my life had been made when we saw a sign for 'Dog Squad and Border Patrol', however we didn't spot a film crew. We were met by Margaret, Hugo’s godfather’s sister, who drove us to her home where we would meet Moa, our campervan. The Moa is a large, extinct bird that once roamed NZ, but we are hoping that our Moa doesn't die out on us!
We took two days to shop for and kit out Moa. After measuring her up, we purchased some storage boxes, bedding, utensils, and fluffy towels. We called in to 'Pak n save’ to stock up on some food essentials and bevvies. As if the first shock of finding out that Heinz is called Watties over here wasn't enough, we then got to the tills to find out that both of us needed ID to purchase alcohol. Damn. Mine was back at the house. Doug, Margaret’s husband, helped us out fitting the LED lighting. Fortunately for us, he was an electrical engineer, and he kindly knocked us up some wires and switches so that we could have super fancy kitchen and bedroom lights. Hugo was in his element, discussing all things technical with Doug and figuring out the solar panels and fixtures for the sink and water containers. Meanwhile, I gave her a wipe down and smartened her up.
On the second day of shopping we had to pull over as one of the sliding doors had opened whilst driving down the road! Mischievous Moa. We took a considerable time trying to find the right sized bed sheets, needing a single duvet cover but a king single sheet set (we had looked the day before but gave up!) . We fitted the spice rack to the side of the fridge cabinet and added some hooks. The van came with a new chemical toilet, and Hugo commented on the hilarity of having to read a manual about using a toilet at the age of 25. We might have been slightly ambitious buying a canvas and wall hanging, as once we had stuffed all our stuff into the limited storage under the beds, there wasn't much room left for us, let alone an art gallery. Hugo made a second attempt to buy the booze we wanted, only to be thwarted again by the unreasonable requirement for an NZ driving license or passport only! Back at Doug and Margaret's, we treated Moa to a wash and scrubbed her solar panels to soak up maximum sunlight. The night before leaving, we found out there is a manual choke to get Moa warmed up in the morning, she really is an old gal (22 years, almost as old as us). We shared an enjoyable evening meal of our first NZ lamb, and thought about the adventures ahead.
After fixing a leaking pipe in the morning, we fired her up and bid farewell and thanks to Doug (who very sweetly gave us one of the fine wooden bowls he had made as a parting gift!). Her maiden voyage was 20 minutes down the road in to the centre of Christchurch.Read more