New Zealand Week 4: Final Week

My week began in Auckland. After catching the overnight bus (spoiler: did not enjoy), I arrived bright and early in Auckland. I managed to make it to the museum before I started pissing down with rain, and was safely inside to watch the President of South Korea (unexpectedly) arrive for a ceremony at the memorial. It was only upon leaving the museum (after another research interview) that I got caught in the downpour. Which meant I met my friend in a very wet state. It was great to catch up with her before she flew back to Canada, and before I flew back to Wellington. After a whirlwind 10 hours in Auckland, I hoped on my plane to head back to Welly, just in time to miss the storm rolling into Auckland.

Tuesday was a weird day. Searching through archive websites put me in a thoroughly disillusioned mood. I ended up giving up and deciding to go for a walk to clear my head, which ended up with jumping on the cable car and heading up out of the city for a bit. I’ve loved the Wellington botanic gardens since I first visited, and spending an hour wandering amongst the trees and being buffeted by the wind was actually exactly what I needed.

On Wednesday I powered through my to do list quickly, to leave some time in the afternoon for another long walk. Going in little adventures is making me much happier, and it’s nice to see more of Wellington before I leave. On Wednesday I walked to the archives to register for a reader card, then headed along the quay. I decided it would be a good idea to hike up Mt Victoria, so that’s where I went. I always forget how much I really enjoy hiking, despite not being the fittest. It was amazing to spend a few hours away from everything just walking through the forest. I even found a filming location from LotR!

My plan for Thursday had been to visit the Alexander Turnbull Library, but after a frustrating few hours trying to wrangle their system, I realised a) There wasn’t anything I desperately needed to see, and b) even if I’d wanted to see it their website wasn’t working so I couldn’t have requested it anyway. So instead, I went to parliament. They offer free tours of the parliament buildings, and I love having a nosey inside grand old buildings. My tour group was quite annoying, but the guide was great and I learned a lot. The fact I’ve been telling everyone is that New Zealand doesn’t have an Upper House/Senate. The more you know.

I spent most of Friday at Archives NZ. It was definitely my most positive experience of archival research so far. The staff were friendly and helpful, the space was large and not too claustrophobic-feeling, and their website actually works! I took A LOT of photographs of documents, so I’ll have a lot to read through when I get back to Aus, but it was a successful day. When I finished at the archives, I went for another wander through the city, including visiting Old and New St Paul’s Cathedral. It was a beautiful afternoon (sunny but not too warm), and I just loved walking through beautiful Welly.

So that was my week. It wasn’t without its low points, but I actually feel pretty positive coming out of it. It can be really hard to just let yourself take a break, particularly when you’re on a specific research trip. It’s really hard not to feel that post-grad/researcher guilt. But putting away my laptop and notes, and just taking some time to get out and clear my head really helped. Not only did it keep my mental health relatively ok, it also gave my brain the thinking space it needed.

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