UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore.

UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore!

UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore.

UD Abroad Blog

Go Explore.

New Zealand: Three Days on the Whanganui River

Submitted by Eric Pedernera on the 2020 winter session program in New Zealand sponsored by the Department of  Communication…

It feels so long ago now, but looking back on the process we went through to become prepared for this program, I’m glad that when we got around to discussing our itinerary I wasn’t convinced by my anxiousness to back out of the program. Specifically, I remember vividly sitting in the meeting listening to the review of what would be our program and my stomach dropping. One point on the program that especially worried me was when I first heard there was going to be a three-day-long trip on the Whanganui River. Thankfully, however, as I became more and more accustomed to New Zealand and gained more confidence in myself, I actually started to look forward to our days on the river. What I didn’t expect to happen was that by the end of the three days, I did not want to leave! My experiences on the river and the Marae were some of the most fulfilling and engaging times during my program. From the first day where we traveled a short way down the Whanganui and learned about the iwi and whanau that currently live on the river and the history of the Maori that lived there in the past and ending up in the small town of Jerusalem. On the second day, we were given the privilege to not only engage in Maori culture, but to participate in their practices by welcoming our fellow Delaware students from KAAP into the Marae. Being able to say that I really engaged with a foreign culture so rich in history and tradition like the Maori is a really special privilege that I can never repay to the kind whanau of the Whanganui and Jerusalem. By the third day, we were excited to get on the river for real, and after five short hours of singing, talking, and sharing, we reached the end of our journey and said our good-byes. I don’t believe in regrets really, but I know for sure that if I had succumbed to anxiety and nerves, I would have regretted missing this and New Zealand for the rest of my life.