It has taken longer to write this than I would have liked but I felt some time needed to pass. I visited the city of Christchurch just days before the terrible violence that occurred there. I was nowhere near where that happened, I was not in the country when it happened, my life and person were never threatened. So why bring it up in an unrelated article?
The City of Christchurch hosted me for 3 nights as I made my around a small portion of a very beautiful country. The only thing I was more impressed with than the natural beauty of the land was the kindness of its people. On one tour I took the guide made it a point to show us around town briefly to show the damage that had been done by a pair of recent earthquakes. Earthquakes are a part of life in New Zealand but Christchurch was one of the areas hit particularly hard in the past ten years and the city still feels the lingering effects from those natural disasters. The terror of last month by one deranged individual shook locals to their core wondering why yet another traumatic event had to happen in their beloved city, and to the neighbors and friends they share that city with.
New Zealand's tourism industry is a big part of their economy and you will be hard pressed to find a more hospitable place anywhere in the entire world. Everyone who lists and it greeted with a warm "Kia Ora!" is helping that great nation. Despite tragedy, and despite natural disaster, the people of New Zealand will welcome you with a customary grace that will leave you humbled and grateful that you took the time to do so.
I look forward to visiting again at my first opportunity.