I recently had the pleasure of reading this book about New Zealand, a place that has been in my sights for a long time to visit. When I saw that his book was available, I read this excerpt and just had to read it.
Like most of us, I had a preconceived idea of New Zealand. When asked to summarize the country in a few simple words I’m sure many of us would mention Australia, as if the two were still linked by their joint history of misguided colonization…Oh, and sheep. New Zealand has lots of sheep. I think we all have a sneaking suspicion that the Kiwis eat lamb for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then perhaps go and sit in a field full of sheep to watch the sun set. If they’re not too busy playing rugby, of course.”
Dan’s book, Ka Mate, grabs you instantly and keeps you reading. He paints a vivid picture of his surroundings, and his descriptions make you feel like you’re right there with him during his whole trip. I knew about the abundance of sheep in New Zealand, something my Aussie friends love to talk about to poke fun at their Kiwi mates, but I had no idea that rugby had such a huge following and was such a big part of New Zealand culture. While Dan definitely seems to enjoy getting into the spirit during his trips, I enjoyed that he brought out the cultural aspects, including some of the controversies involved.
Ka Mate has a great blend of humor, interesting adventurous pursuits, and cultural insights, including sharing some of the Maori insights about some of the cultural misappropriations that have occurred in the past and, rather unfortunately, continue to exist. One would hope that today’s indigenous people would enjoy more respect, but it would seem that the Maori, like so many others, still have a long road ahead of them.
This book isn’t a travel guide or “What I did during my summer vacation in the South Pacific,” but more of a fun travel memoir. Dan invites you to tag along beside him to enjoy all that is New Zealand.
For information on where to get a hold of Ka Mate, either in print or as a digital book, check out Dan’s blog. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend.