I'm back in San Francisco after a fantastic couple of weeks exploring New Zealand (Aotearoa in Maori). We spent all our time on the South Island - as there were so many things we wanted to do there, and so we could visit with Lobo and his family in their new home in Nelson. (Check out Lobo's New Zealand blog for updates on their experiences in NZ).
Overall, we found the "kiwis" (New Zealanders) to be incredibly friendly, welcoming and helpful folks... very informal, passionate about their beautiful country, honest and playful. The South Island is incredibly diverse in terms of landscapes and eco-systems - and much of it is protected as parklands and wilderness.