The Study Abroad Newsletter

Taku Haerengak ki te tai Tokerau

Hiʻilei Kamau
University of Waikato, New Zealand

My name is Hiʻilei Kamau and I am majoring in Aquaculture with a minor in Marine Science. I recently studied abroad at the University of Waikato in New Zealand for one year.

During my stay in New Zealand, I met many people from Hawaiʻi and during one of my breaks, I went on a road trip with some of them. As a resident of Hilo, it’s very easy to go to the beach. However, while studying in New Zealand, the closest beach to the University was about an hour away which was called Raglan. Therefore, this road trip was probably one of the best road trips I had in New Zealand because I got to do some things everyone from Hawaiʻi loves to do … chase waterfalls, go to the beach and collect shells.

Hiʻilei standing below a waterfall

Some of the places I visited were Hunua Falls, Ninety Mile Beach, Te Paki Sand Dunes and Flagstaff Hill. One of the places that I also got to visit was Cape Rēinga which is also known as Te Rerenga Wairua or in other words “the leaping place of spirits.” Cape Rēinga is the northernmost tip of the North Island and is known to be the place where spirits of the dead depart. At Cape Rēinga, I was also able to see the Tasman Sea meet with the Pacific Ocean and this was represented by two waters clashing into each other.

Another cool experience I encountered was collecting a type of shellfish, also known as pipis, at Ninety Mile Beach. It was a fun experience because I could walk barefoot in the sand, feel the shellfish under my feet and pick them up with my hands. My friends and I were fortunate enough to spend a night with one of our friends from the halls who live in a bach (beach house). We spent the night cooking pipis, listening to the waves crash on the shore and enjoying each other’s company.

The hospitality of our friend and her whānau (family) made me feel relaxed and right at home.