The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program - a pioneering collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, A&M-Kingsville and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand from July 5th, 2012, through July 22nd, 2012, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand.

Dr. Christine Reiser-Robbins, Anthropology Program, Texas A&M-Kingsville, is directing a Service Learning Project, a special component of the PSP. The PSP will facilitate interaction between middle and high school students from Bishop School District, Texas, and Logan Park High School, Dunedin, Otago, through the application of Internet-enabled technologies.

You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Joy of Being Stranded

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Our flight from the United States landed in Auckland on time. Then things slowed down. We missed our flight to Dunedin because of the time spent waiting in line at immigration and customs, and of course there was not another flight to take until the next day.  Dr. Goswami and Dr. Reiser-Robbins were able to make arrangements pretty quickly and efficiently.  We went to a great cottage style hotel near the airport with amazing hospitality and service. We took some cabs into Auckland and spent the rest of the day there. We visited the Auckland War Memorial Museum which was fantastic. Beautiful architecture, lots of Maori and natural history collections. We walked towards the water and Dr. Goswami bought us all kebabs from a small restaurant in the Auckland University district. They were delicious. We continued on towards the water and passed an old cemetery from the 1800s. The old headstones and monuments were beautiful. The bridge we crossed went right over part of it with the graves still visible underneath. As we walked through the downtown area I was impressed with the cleanliness of the city and the amount of public restrooms with were also very clean and well maintained. We broke up into separate groups about this point. Mark, Lissy, Adrianna, and I (Katharine) wanted to see the water and walked that way. We found it after a few blocks and saw the old Ferry Building which is big, beautiful, and now a museum. We did not have time to go in but we were able to hop a ferry and cross the channel to Davenport. Our goal was to climb to the top of Mt. Victoria, a small inactive volcano, but we never found it. We did however walk along a great beach with black volcano rocks all along it. The houses and sail boats reminded me of a small sea side village. As it got colder, winder, and darker we decided to stop and ask for directions. We went into the Masonic Hotel & Tavern and asked one of the men working there where the volcano was. He laughed at us and said there was not really anything there so we decided to take a break and go back to catch the ferry back to the mainland. While waiting for the ferry Dr. Rieser-Robbins caught up with us. She apparently had better directions then us and found her way up to the top of Mt. Victoria. We rode the ferry back together and met up with everyone at Harrah’s Sky City, a broadcasting and communications facility and the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. We grabbed something to eat and went back to the hotel and went right to sleep about 9pm. We got a great night’s sleep and Kelsey, Dr. Goswami, and I (Katharine) went for an early morning walk about 7am. It was frosty and cold but fun. We packed up and ate breakfast together at the hotel and headed to the air port to finally finish our journey to Dunedin. Even though it was not in the plan and it set us back a day we adapted, had several adventures, lots of laughs, and made some great memories. We were all happy to have been stranded in Auckland!

-Katharine K.


  1. I am glad you all made the most of the unplanned adventure. Could you post your next posts in a different color? The yellow is really hard to read. Thanks.

  2. Katharine, this reminds me of our layover in London. Tell me Caleb is doing his cool video of this trip? If so, I must take a trip to view it. Have fun Hoggies!!

  3. It was a lot like that and yes Caleb is doing his documentary and I'm sure it will be great, I'll make sure that you get to see it somehow :) thanks for reading our posts!

  4. Great to hear that you all are having a wonderful experience! I really enjoyed reading the blog. You are so blessed to have such an amazing opportunity. The pictures are very nice, and we have shared them with other students through our Facebook!

    Debbie Quinones