Dennis Goodboy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 July, 2011, 12:00am


Hi pup fans!

I'm currently in Tianjin . I'll tell you all about that another week, but I just have to say that polo is my new favourite activity. I wonder if I can persuade one of the riding centres in Hong Kong to host a canine polo tournament ...

As I prepared my camera for the trip, I was looking through photos of holidays I've been on this year. I realised I hadn't written about my first trip of 2011: New Zealand. So, while I'm waiting for my pony to get saddled up, here's a little time travel, back to February.

The deputy editor and her friend were heading to Auckland to work on a show at the Fringe Festival. This was a two-week event featuring every sort of theatre imaginable, performed by groups from around the world. Karly and Katy were working on a show about Shakespeare's wife - and luckily it took up only five days of our trip, so we got to see a bit of the fantastic country.

New Zealand, or Aotearoa, as it's called in the native language of the Maori, is unlike anywhere else I've ever been. It has lots of unique plants and creatures - birds like the kiwi and kakapo can only be found in New Zealand. It's amazing to think how little some of the wildlife has changed over thousands of years.

I was lucky enough to see a kiwi bird at Auckland Zoo. They're very shy and nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and move around at night. Although the display was dark, I spotted one hiding in the bushes! While I was there, I also hung out with some non-native species - the giraffes and seals were fun, but I moved quickly from the lions and rhinos!

We took a trip down from Auckland to Rotorua. This town is famous for its bubbling mud pools and geysers - springs that erupt from the ground. The city smells like rotten eggs because of all the sulphur in the ground!

One third of the city's population is Maori, so it is an excellent place to learn about the aboriginal people and their culture. We ate a hangi meal - food steamed in an underground oven - and watched a performance of traditional games and dances. I wanted to join the haka (the war ritual we see the All Blacks perform when they come to Hong Kong for the Rugby Sevens), but the guys said I was too small! New Zealand was too big to explore fully in nine days. I'm going back one day, and I will do that haka ...