It's a Balloon World After All - New Zealand

Tēnā koutou, Kei te pēhea koe?

Hello everyone, This week I am heading south and taking a look at my first country situated completely in the southern hemisphere, yes it is New Zealand. 

When I think of New Zealand one of the first things I think of is Sheep, New Zealand has a population of about 4.5 million humans and about 27 million sheep so I could not resist making some sheep for my picture. The green swirl is called a koru (Māori for loop), it is a spiral shape based on the appearance of a new unfurling silver fern. It is an important symbol in Māori art, carving and tattooing, where it symbolises new life, growth, strength and peace. 

Talking of ferns I felt had to make a fern, New Zealand is well known for its silver fern, It can be seen all across the country on flags, products and on the New Zealand coat of arms, It is also used at the symbol of many Sports teams in New Zealand including The All Blacks (Rugby), The Tall Blacks (Basketball), The All Whites (Football), and The White Ferns (Women's Cricket)

New Zealand has some amazing flora and fauna, I was going to make a Kiwi or a Kakapo but in the end I opted to represent the whale population. Almost half the world’s whale and dolphin species are found in New Zealand waters and the whales tale (Muri Paraoa) features as a Māori Symbol. The Whale is the most important animal in the life of the Māori, it indicates the support often shown by whales to people in distress and is a symbol of protection. But also of speed, strength and sensitivity.

I think many non New Zealanders will be wondering what the yellow Bee is doing there, well when researching the country this little character kept popping up, it is the face of a Buzzy Bee and it a very popular toy in New Zealand, I had never heard of it before but it does look cute. 

The person I chose to represent New Zealand is of course one of the Māori people. This young Māori man has the traditional Tā moko on his face and body, these are the traditional markings and are different to the tattoos we all know as these marks are carved into the skin with special tools. These markings are worn by both men and women and there are some pretty amazing and intricate designs.

I hope you are enjoying this virtual trip around the world. until next week, Haere Ra