Our second week in Auckland focused on our school events and we enjoyed spending time with the students of Somerville, Silverdale and Bailey Road schools. It is always a pleasure to share our knowledge of sharks with children and the students at each of those schools were welcoming, attentive and interactive. We also enjoyed our final adult event in New Zealand; an evening lecture with Seafanz Underwater Photographic Society and the Botany Bottom Scratchers dive club. We really enjoy our dive club events and this one was no exception as the divers shared their local diving hot spots and knowledge. We have an ever-growing list of dive sites to explore in the future.



By the time we left Auckland for Melbourne we had completed 78 shark conservation events and could not quite believe we had come this far. Where did the time go? It was only one year ago that Friends for Sharks was a figment of our imagination and here we are making it a reality, having been on the road since January 2015 and having presented to thousands of people around the world.

Before I came to New Zealand I had been told by many people that New Zealand is the same as England but with more space, fewer people and a warmer climate. If you take a surface look at New Zealand you could say that it is ‘the same’ as England because the main language is English, Kiwis drives on the left side of the road. However, that is where he similarities end and we have found the New Zealand culture to be diverse, unique and very different from England. Granted there is more space, fewer people and a warmer climate but there is so much more to New Zealand than that.

The landscape is stunning and contains the very best of every type of beauty I can imagine, from snow-capped mountains to sub-tropical beaches and wet rainforest. The trees, bird life and mammals are very different to those found in the UK and there are many endemic species found nowhere else in the world. The Maori culture and that of other Pacific Island nations is fascinating, closely connected to Mother Earth and a crucial part of New Zealand’s heritage and future. There are also jandals, steak and cheese pies, divine Whittakers chocolate (sorry Cadbury but really it’s that good…), a passionate rugby culture, Kiwi-isms, cultural aspects from an array of Asian countries and a population of enthusiastic, welcoming and relaxed people I have yet to find in any other country. To say New Zealand is similar to England is a little like saying England is similar to Italy or vice versa, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

We completed a long two hour residency interview during our last week in Auckland and are delighted to have been granted a New Zealand work visa. We are both looking forward to returning to New Zealand in December and making this wonderful country our home.

As we begin the next part of our journey, in Melbourne, we would both like to take a moment to thank everyone in New Zealand who has helped us throughout our time there. You have provided us with food, shelter, support, words of encouragement and friendship that made this massive undertaking possible. Without each of you this would not have been possible. Thank you!