This morning, after the Hobbit-themed safety message, we sat in the Air New Zealand plane looking out the window as it taxied down the runway, and lifted off. The uniquely Cantabrian landscape of patchworked green plans filled with crops and sheep and dairy cows, the fields edged with dark green windbreaks, spread out below us, the large braided Waimakariri river wound its way through from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, and the mountains rose steeply in the west. After a night in Christchurch, it was good to see that this hasn’t changed.
Thirty-five minutes later, we flew into a very different landscape, over the hills of Wellington and the blue harbour. We drove home through pohutukawa-lined avenues, the trees in full, crimson bloom, a dramatic, happy, welcome home.