The Wairarapa branch of the international organisation, Friendship Force, hosted a group of 10 international visitors from Brussels, Australia, Canada and the USA recently.
The visitors were part of a larger contingent of 30 people initially hosted in the north of New Zealand in three different areas, who travelled to the lower North Island to continue their journey. Friendship Force in Kapiti and Wellington also hosted visitors.
The Friendship Force promotes global connections and friendships through home-hosted travel. It is non-political, non-religious and not-for-profit.
The Wairarapa branch is strong and vibrant and enjoys social events and activities in Wairarapa and travelling to other Friendship Force groups in NZ and overseas.
The theme for this journey was ‘farming and scenic’ and took advantage of the region’s amazing vistas and varied farming options, June Roseingrave, Friendship Force Wairarapa president, said.
The programme for the four-day visit was full.
“It included Mara Manu Gardens and the Fell Museum in Featherston, the Organic Dairy Farm in Carterton and Castlepoint Beach and Castlepoint Station, where we were very lucky to be blessed with a sunny day free from the wind.”
The Woolshed Museum and Queen Elizabeth Park in Masterton were also on the itinerary and the Wee Red Barn.
Unfortunately, the Mount Holdsworth walk was cancelled due to poor weather and instead became a ‘free day’.
“We ended with a farewell barbeque that included a Melbourne Cup celebration,” Roseingrave said.
“The following day, the global group and members from the Wairarapa branch met for breakfast at the Ten O’clock Cookie Company Cafe and we farewelled them at the train station as they travelled to Wellington to meet up with the remainder of the group.”
Once in Wellington, the visitors had a walking tour of the city prior to a ferry crossing the next day to start a tour of the South Island.
“For me, to make connections with our visitors was a bonus as I learned of different ways of life, foods and even the language we use for everyday phrases,” Roseingrave said.
“Friendships are formed and communication continues as they travel home and ‘get back to normal’.”
For more information about Friendship Force visit www.friendshipforce.org.nz/