A Maori welcome in Auckland airport:
I have heard so much about the famous Kiwi hospitality. Apparently the Maori language has loads of words offering welcome of one sort of another. You would’ve thought that this would have boded very well for me, but…
I had a little hiccup with the notoriously strict New Zealand biosecurity in the airport.
This is an island a loooong way away from a lot of other places, and, understandably, the Kiwis have no desire for their beautiful native plants and animals to be threatened by non native species or diseases from non native species of plant or animal. I did know this. And I did read the security card thing. But to be fair it was very early in the morning when I started filling it out on the plane…
In my defence, I think it’s something of a miracle I managed to get my act together enough to travel anywhere without serious injury (especially given my recent encounter with a window). So, all in all, I totally forgot that I had packaged up little packets saying “A tiny taste of England” as gifts to give to all my hosts in various places, and that each one included a little pot of Sheffield honey, which turns out to be a serious biohazard here. So I didn’t declare these, in spite of a gazillion warnings that the minimum fine for undeclared stuff was NZ$400 😳 They have turned out to be the most expensive pots of honey known to humankind! I had to unpackage them all and hand over the honey. (My uncle reckons the security staff probably enjoyed spreading it on their mid morning toast!)
To be fair, the security staff were about as laid back and nice about this as you probably can be, when confronted with such a doofus. I wouldn’t say they were apologetic, but they nodded with sympathy as I described how I just didn’t think, and regretfully informed me it would be an expensive mistake.
Eventually I emerged from my tribulations, to be greeted by a merry little crowd of my fabulous kiwi relatives, who’d all come to greet me. I couldn’t be upset for long in such company.
But, as I joked to my rellies, there is a part of me that wants to say “Hospitality?? You people call this hospitality??? It seems like it’s all take take take to me! I mean, so far you’ve taken a day off me (what happened to the 25th September?? I’ll never get that day back), you’ve taken my lovingly assembled pots of honey, you’ve taken $NZ400 and now, I am reliably informed, you’re going to take another hour when the clocks go forward tomorrow?!!!!”
Thing is, I ranted like this in the car on the way home from the airport, and everyone fell about laughing. Now that’s what I call hospitality! (I’ve travelled a long way to find people who’ll laugh at my jokes!!😂)
Here are my lovely kiwi relatives, who took me for a walk to blow away the cobwebs and fed me NZ Hokey Pokey ice cream (don’t mind if I do), and have generally made me feel totally at home already: