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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Kia Ora, Welcoming New Zealand & Fiji for 2012

While most of us were sleeping snoring away at 4 am on Sunday morning, likely resting up for a day of watching NFL, doing errands or preparing for the World Series Game 4, a lot of the world, at least the non-North American Western World, was gathered together for a huge moment in sports.

Every 4 years, the Rugby World Cup is held, more often than not in a British descended country. Although many North Americans may not know much about the sport of Rugby (present author excluded … I’m a big fan!), for many countries it is their number one sport of choice.

The world revolves around the prep school “civilized” sport of Rugby Union. The movie “Invictus” with Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman portrayed the incredible, unlikely victory of a newly formed South Africa over the mighty New Zealand All Blacks team back in 1995. This was one of the most unifying moments in South African history and a focal point for the country in its efforts to unite racial divide. It’s an incredible sports moment and something that is certainly a true life moving story – (you can learn about that moment and South Africa’s incredible history on our South Africa Community Service program).

This past month however, the World Cup was held in the magical land of New Zealand… an adventurer’s paradise and a destination that 360° Student Travel is proud to announce we will be going to this summer. Our program will be an incredible and complete experience of the whole country that takes in the best sights and activities. From the most adrenaline pumping white water rafting trip ever, to one of the best treks in the world; from Zorbing to a glacier experience like no other – this is an incredible adventure.

Rafting the Kaituna River ... 13 Major Drops and a 22 Foot Drop Over Tutea Falls

 

Glacier Mountaineering the Franz Josef Glacier

This summer will be an awesome time to visit as the country will be riding a high; the Kiwis, had not won the World Cup since 1987 despite being among the favourite teams at almost every tournament. Last week they met their arch rivals, the Wallabies (Australia’s National team) and handily beat them 20-6. In the other semi, France overcame Wales 9-8 and the stage was set for Sunday’s final game … a rematch of the 1987 game.

The All Blacks (named for their trendy and cool black Jersey’s) scraped by and after 80 minutes of play managed an 8 to 7 victory. For a Nation of 4 million people who live and breathe rugby, this was the success of a lifetime. All in all, the spectacle was incredible and the world was awed by the show put on by the team from one of the most magical of travel destinations anywhere in the world.

Hopefully you managed to catch a game or two; if not we hope you manage to at least have seen the All Blacks perform the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance. The dance is effectively a challenge to an opposing “team.” It is something that has been performed for centuries and it is amazing to see on the sports stage.

Our groups will learn the Haka firsthand this coming summer from an indigenous Kiwi and be able to show it off when we experience a traditional Maori village experience. Check out the Haka from the Final above or see what the Wall Street Journal had to say about it last week.

You can check out our New Zealand Program (and its extension in Fiji) on our website which has just been updated!

The Westcoast Blogger