Stories about New Zealand and Costa Rica by Piper

I wrote this when I was in Costa Rica last year.IMG_4525

Hi my name is Piper. I go around the world with my family.  My dad runs a boarding school called T G S. It is a good school. Finn and Charlotte are my  siblings. Charlotte is 12 I’m 7 Finn is 10. We are too young to go to TGS. We are homeschooled.

IMG_4522We went to New Zealand at the beginning of the year.  You can walk anywhere there.  We lived in a city called Auckland.  We went to Hobbiton.  We got to see all of their houses and drink Ginger Beer. It was so good.

We went on a road trip for three weeks in New Zealand.  We were in a IMG_5017Jucy Lucy campervan.  I rode in the front seat and I slept on the floor in the kitchen. We saw Mount Doom from the Lord of the Rings (you should watch it, it’s a great movie).  We went to make knives but I was too young to make knives so I went horseback riding with mom. But I couldn’t run on the horse.  Mom’s horse was named Finn and my horse was named Prince.  The person who took us on the ride, her horse was named Jade.  

IMG_5649My favorite campground had a petting zoo.  There were hamsters and rabbits and the peacocks weren’t in a cage.  They wandered around the campsite and at night they would make a lot of noise and I couldn’t sleep.  

Now we are in Costa Rica. It is very buggy here and I don’t like that. I got eaten alive by sand fleas.  Especially on my arm. We went on a four week trip.  We went to a place called Punta Mona.  We got there by a boat.  There were no cars whatsoever. There were people living there. They were Hippies.  They grow their own food to live.  

I met this really nice lady at Punta Mona.  Her name was Christina. She wasn’t a Hippie.  I helped her alot.   I helped her clean the floors of the houses. I also helped her clean the kitchen. She was very nice to me.  She helped me with my bug bites. She put her cream on me.  It helped my bug bites to not be itchy.

IMG_6935At Punta Mona we we made chocolate and I was so excited about it. The first step was roasting the cocoa beans. Next we peeled them  and ground them. We mixed the cocoa with ingredients then we rolled them into balls. I just wanted to eat some chocolate.  But mom said no, you have to come to the ceremony.  It is a thing that they used to do and these ladies made all these chocolates a long time ago.  It would take them five days to make chocolate for IMG_6855the whole village.  We did the same ceremony they did.  First they would take the trays of cocoa and pass it around to everybody.  Then you had to hold it in your hand and we had to look at it and  think about this chocolate.  How long it took you to make it. I said to my chocolate, “Sorry but I’m going to eat you in one second.” And then I put a bite into my mouth. I thought in my head “this is crappy.”  I swallowed it and I went to my mom and I said to her, “This is the worst chocolate I’ve ever had mom.” And I gave it to her.  It felt like I tossed my cookies in my mind. It was horrible. It was the worst chocolate I ever had.

A Traditional Welcome from the Maori Community

Way back in the beginning of September, the kids and I were invited to take part (along with Jamie and the Think Global students) in a traditional welcome from the local Maori Community.  This was a special welcome, much more intimate than a typical tourist would be exposed to.  The kids and I came early to New Zealand so we could take part in this very special weekend planned and hosted by students and adults at the Orakei Marae.  I’m so glad we were able to attend this event.  It was the perfect way to introduce us to the Maori people and their traditions.  Below I’ve included the Think Global School video that Lindsey Clark filmed during the weekend.  Please watch it because it is so informative.  In the video you’ll hear Fiona’s voice walking us through the introduction to the welcoming ceremony and explaining the meaning of each step.

You may see a video called “A Postcard Home from the Bay of Plenty.” Go to the top left hand corner where it says playlist and scroll down to the 5th video, “A Maori welcome to Aotearoa.”

We wait to be welcomed outside of the Maori Meeting House or Wharenui.


Forehead to forehead, nose to nose, breathe.


Carvings on the Marae.


A perfect Haka face.


Preparing to plant trees on the Orakei Domain.


Our host Tehira was awesome.  While the students planted the trees, he gave us a brief history of the land we were standing on.  He and his family peacefully protested for 500 days to get their land back in the 1970’s.

From the link, The Loss of the Orakeai Block:

In January 1977, some of the hapu, calling themselves the Orakei Maori Action Committee, took direct action to stop the subdivision. They occupied Bastion Point for 506 days, refusing to leave their ancestral lands. The protests caused a split within the tribal ranks as this was the first time their protests had broken the law – by trespassing on Crown land.

On 25 May 1978, the Government sent in a massive force of police and army to evict them. Two hundred and twenty-two protesters were arrested and their temporary meeting house, buildings, and gardens were demolished. The Bastion Point occupation became one of the most famous protest actions in New Zealand history.



Jerry teaches us a traditional Maori Haka.


A traditional Hangi meal is being uncovered.  First, a hole is dug in the ground.  Three to four metal crates are filled with various meats, pumpkins and potatoes.  They are wrapped in burlap and covered with hot rocks.  They cook under ground for a couple of hours and then are uncovered.




Sunrise at the Orakai Marae.




Preparing to go out into a double-hulled waka in Mission Bay.