This piece of Kiwi (New Zealand ) art is a symbol called a " koru" (Maori word for loop). It is based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolizes new life, growth, strength and peace. It is an integral symbol in Maori art, carving, and tattoos.
Silver fern and "koru" sprouts. Maori hunters and warriors used the silver underside of the fern to find their way home. When bent over, the fronds would catch the moonlight and illuminate a path through the forest. The silver fern has come to embody the spirit of New Zealand . This distinctly New Zealand symbol is considered a badge of honor by the people, products and services of the country that carry it. It has been the symbol of New Zealand's national rugby team since the 1880's and is now proudly worn by all their top athletes and prominently carried by many of their top companies.
With school out we had a little more free time. We went to Auckland Botanical Gardens.
We were told it was beautiful this time of year and we were not disappointed!
It's beginning to look a lot like Spring!!
This magnolia flower was about the size of two of Elder Perron's hands!
And the Garden smelled so sweet!
Beautiful red flowers
This is my favorite picture. He just looks so handsome here!
I also like all the different varieties of cactus plants.
Love love love New Zealand in the Spring time!
With school out for approximately 3 weeks we took advantage of a Thursday and Friday and went sight seeing. This Thursday we drove to Matamata which is about 2 hours from Auckland in beautiful farmland. All the farms and little hills look like golf courses. This is the re ants of the Hobbiton village movie set from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I'm not really a fan of these movies but so many people from the States asked me if I was going to go see it and so I thought I can't be this close and not go see it!
Do you recognize this beautiful land from the movie?
And doesn't it look like the greens on a golf course in the background ?
The hill, sheep, and sign. Typical countryside.
Elder Perron with Elder Denkers and Jorgansen. These mighty missionaries are Zone Leaders and are baptizing up a storm. We have been privileged to sit in on the discussions of three young ladies that have gotten baptized. Another one is getting baptized next weekend. Elder Denkers got transferred this week. We are sad to see him go but we know we will probably run into him somewhere. Elder Jorgansen gave up a basketball scholarship to come on his mission. They are AWESOME! They call us their favorite Grand Perron's. How sweet is that?! :-)
Mt Roskill YSA Activity and Institute night. Elder Perron front and center. :-).
Sister Perron is taking the picture
We got to visit the enchanting village of Hobbiton...the movie set where the movie Hobbit was filmed. Absolutely beautiful country!
"Middle Earth" where the hobbit holes are hiding!
Elder Perron and I outside a Hobbit house
Mt Roskill Stake YSA party. Mt. Albert Ward was being moved from this stake into another stake and they were having a good bye party for them.
This was a game called "peel the onion". It was fun to watch!
About 25 pizzas might be enough maybe? I saw a joke the other day. It was an owner of an all you can eat restaurant and he was saying to the waitress, "what do you mean the Samoans ate all the food?! We just opened!" ;-) It was actually one of our Samoan students that had posted it on Facebook.
Sister Kohe has been a YSA advisor. They will be doing something different now and we are going to miss them so much! They have really been active in getting the YSA program running good in their Stake.
The University has been on break so Elder Perron and I took advantage of this time to see and do a few fun things in beautiful Auckland. This day we went to the top of Mt. Eden, and we shopped at a local store and bought some Polynesian Samoan and Tongan lava lava clothes, and had a picnic at a beautiful beach. I took this picture of the sun setting and Elder Perron walking along the beach.
Our picnic spot right above the beach
Top of Mt Eden. A beautiful 360 degree view of the country. Mt. Eden is a scoria cone and also the name of the surrounding suburb. It is a dormant. Volcano whose summit is the highest natural point in Auckland at 643 feet above sea level.
Unbelievable how deep this cone is. Brinley said it looks fun to roll down.
However you are not allowed to step any closer than we are.
This is a very very deep hole in the ground!
Mt. Eden provides good views in all directions over the city.
See the bridge way in the background. That's the Famous Auckland Bridge we cross over every day to go to the Institute. People come far and wide to bungee jump off the bridge AND they can bungee Juno from the Skytower also. The Institute is only blocks away from the Skytower in the background.
Our next door neighbors, Elder and Sister Reynolds are going home next week. I arranged for a dinner at the top of the Skytower for a few of us missionaries to say goodbye to them. Left to right is: Elder and Sister Reynolds, Elder and Sister Broberg, Elder and Sister Wallace, and Elder and Sister Perron. We are going to miss the Reynolds sooo much! We had a lovely evening. It was raining and cloudy before we went to the tower. It cleared up when we arrived and was a beautiful evening with good views all around. The restaurant rotates (so slowly you don't feel it) 360 degrees so that you have seen all of Auckland. The city lights and the view was absolutely breath taking!
Good food, good company, and good night!
This has been a nice break from our usual busy weeks. We were also able to go to the Temple in Hamilton. We also managed to attend 2 evenings of Institute. Elder Perron spent three mornings working on the training program and finished it up. It's been a great week!
We love you all. We love participating in The Lord's work. The Gospel is true.
Elder and Sister Perron