Kate & Nathan's New Zealand Adventures

Kate and Nathan in Auckland.

Kate Hudson attended Monteverde Friends School in Monteverde, Costa Rica for the first half of her senior year and then was back at Carolina Friends School in Durham, NC to finish her high school requirements.  She graduated from CFS in June 2003.  She decided to defer her first year at Eugene Lange College in New York City.  Instead, Kate and her best friend Nathan Toben, went to New Zealand for 8 months to work in the "WWOOF" program.  When not working on organic farms, they backpacked around the north and south islands.

Kate and Nathan arrived in Auckland on September 29th.  After exploring the city for several days they moved north and worked on several "wwoof" farms.  They got to do all sorts of neat things on the farms including building rock walls, milking 150 cows one day, and working in organic gardens.  After a few weeks they decided to take a break and go to the Bay of Islands region.  They took a boat out to Urupukapuka Island where they camped for 5 days.  Upon returning to Auckland, Nathan bought several plastic buckets of different sizes and a pair of drum sticks.  For the next 3 weeks Nathan would go to a busy intersection downtown and drum each day for several hours for tips.  The New Zealanders evidently had never seen anyone doing this because he became an "instant hit".  He had to get a bigger hat to pass for all the money they were giving him!  Kate made and sold jewelry.  As of November 25th, they are back on the road working on "wwoof" farms once again.  They will be working their way down to the beach town of Napier, the Art Deco capital of the world.  Their families have rented them a cottage there for the 2 weeks around Christmas.  In early January, their great friend and former CFS classmate, Leland Reilich, who is a freshman at Antioch College, will be joining them for 3 months of working on "wwoof" farms and touring the Islands.  Kate and Nathan will be flying up to Fiji to meet his Dad at the end of January where they will be staying at Jean-Michael Cousteau's resort for a week.  After that, it's back to Auckland to meet up with Leland and off to new adventures.

December 2, 2003 Update:
They've bought a car!  Kate and Nathan were camping near the town of Thames on the way to their next "wwoof" farm when they came across a 1976 Triumph TC2500 sedan that they could get for NZ$500.  The checked with the mechanic that had taken care of the car for some time and decided after talking with him that it would be a good car for them.  Instead of staying in Thames, they drove 2 1/2 hours to Taupo and camped there.  The car runs fine and gets great gas mileage. Now that they are so mobile, they have decided to camp in National Parks until December 19th when they move into the cottage in Napier.

December 9, 2003 Update:
They decided to forgo the National Parks and go instead to Wellington.  They are camping at Shelly Bay just outside of town.  They, and the car, are doing fine.  Nathan drums in Wellington each day and is getting famous there also.  They will be staying in Wellington until the 19th when they go to the cottage in Napier.  After Napier they are going back to Auckland and stay there till Leland arrives in early January.

December 21, 2003 Update:
Kate and Nathan are in Napier for Christmas.  They really like the bach (pronounced batch) that their parents rented for them.  They bought a Christmas tree and are making decorations for it.  While shopping in town today, Nathan ran into Annie and Tom Caulkins.  Annie was a teacher in the Lower School at CFS when Kate and Nathan were there.  They each knew that the others were in New Zealand but didn't know where, so it was quite a surprise when they saw each other on the street.  Kate says it's strange that it's Christmas time with the weather being so warm - it's late spring, early summer there.  They will start exploring the town and country-side tomorrow.  Just before leaving Wellington, Nathan was invited to drum (for NZ$500!) at a big music festival to be held there in January.

January 7, 2004 Update:   (New pictures added)
Kate and Nathan had a very nice Christmas in Napier.  For Christmas dinner Kate made red snapper with tomatoes, potatoes, and red wine, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with apples, stuffing, rolls and a rum trifle for desert - all the things her Mom would have made for her at home.
Nathan and Kate are back in Auckland now and Leland will be arriving tonight.  The three of them will stay in Auckland for a couple of days and then they will be heading to Tongariro National Park - location of Mount Doom - to camp until January 17th.  Nathan will be drumming at the Oriental Bay Mardi Gras, which is part of the Summer City Festival in Wellington, on the 18th.

January 16, 2004 Update:   (This is part of an email I got from Kate)
This is just a short email to let you know that we're in Wellington now and all is well...
i'm REALLY REALLY sore right now from all the hiking we did on our camping trip in the national forest...we did the Tongariro Crossing, you should be able to look that up somewhere...but i think it was one of the hardest physical things i've ever done...and now i'm terribly exhausted...I WANT A REAL BED!!  We'll be camping at shelly bay tonight and maybe the next night too...then leland's off to the south island and me and nathan are going back to do more camping (HELP!!! haha) and then to Fiji (i CAN NOT wait!!)... We saw some really great stuff while we were camping...every day was a completely different climate and land-wise...we got up REALLY high and could see so much...it was really amazing...just real hard (did i say that already?). Hopefully after a bit more hiking and stuff my body will get more used to it and it won't be such a struggle. I'm not saying it was all bad at all!!!!!!!!!!! I loved it and am so glad we did it!

(This is part of an email that Leland sent to his mom)
Oh Tongariro crossing was incredible. i'll tell you about it on the phone because our journey was wild, fog and spooky landscape, mordor from lord of the rings. We camped at the emerald lakes, if you see a picture of them, didn't even know we were below a huge volcano because we couldn't see more than ten feet. I went for a cold dip and then ran naked up to where sulfur was streaming out of the ground and stood in the steam. very surreal and cool.

For more info and pictures about the 11 mile Tongariro Crossing, you can visit this website I found:  http://www.icdc.com/~neubauer/tong.htm

January 23, 2004 Update:   (This is part of an email from Nathan that his Dad forwarded to me.  It was dated Jan. 19th)
Hello over there! just yesterday I finished the SummerCity Festival on Oriental Bay in Wellington having inherited $270 NZ from the attracted public and granted $300 full NZ dollars as hiring from the wellington council. Pretty cool stuff aye!? Oh, you guys should have been there. THe scene was: me drumming like a manic with raised sticks on buckets, 1 baby dancing little twisty jumps, 2 "teenie" looking blonde girls dancing like teens and 1 schitsophrenic woman dancing wildly laughing and yelling with excitement, all the while an audience of about 60 people all watching and smiling and even tapping their feet. It felt awesome in fullness of eternity! The best drumming i had done so far. Leland is gone now, in the south island doing his own thing, Kate and I are going hiking in a different NP, we haven't got the one selected yet, but we drive there today after handing in the payment forms to Delia the events-coordinator of wellington.

January 27, 2004 Update:   (Another email from Kate)
Well, we're still here in Ohakune... there's a campsite we really like here called Mangawhero (that's probably spelled wrong) and we can stay there for free so we decided to stick around!   Tomorrow we'll be heading up to Auckland to busk a little bit before going to fiji, which i'm sooooooo excited about!
We had to get our car inspected...and it failed...
I'll tell you the story:
We went to this place right in town, here in Okahune...they inspected the car and came up with a list of tons of things that we needed to have done to it...but they made it sound like they were all little things, so we weren't TOO worried....they sent us to a wrecking yard/car mechanics place to find out how much the parts and labor would be to get the car ready to pass inspection...we went there...where we didn't really get to talk to anyone and they never told us anything really specific other then it would cost AT LEAST $400 to fix the car!!!!!!!!!! Well boy were we shocked...so back to the car inspector we drove...because we couldn't believe it would really be that much.
When we got there they calmly said that that sounded about right..."oh dear" we thought! but then i remembered that they had said there was another wrecking yard/mechanic place about 20km away in another town (can't remember the name!). So with a little hope in my heart i suggested that we drive over there just to see what someone else had to say about our little Triumph. When we got there we were greeted by a nice man named Steve...Steve took one look at the failed inspection form (which said on it all the things that needed to be done to our car) and a couple looks at our car and proclaimed that the guy who inspected our car was being "way too hard on an old car"...he then told us he could probably do everything that he thought ACTUALLY needed to be done for $150, then he would pass the car himself. So, that was still a lot of money but we were very relieved!! He told us to come back at the same time the next day and he would see what he could do. So off we drove, back to Ohakune. When we got back we went to a place called the Ohakune club where we could check our email, but the internet wasn't working. Now, at this club, they also have a lot of slot machines. We were intrigued. We had 4 $2 coins, so we decided to play, just for fun...just once. And guess what! With our measlely $8 we won ourselves $100!! we were feeling great, knowing that most of our car was already paid for! So today, we went back to see good ol' Steve the car guy in the next town over, and he gave our car a closer look and said it would actually only be about $120! Hooray! " wait Steve, did you happen to say that one of the things we have to get is a new tire?" Kate questioned. Steve said yes, so we told him that we happened to have 2 tires in our trunk, but they didn't have any rims. Steve took a look at our tires and told us that they were a little too big for our little car, but that he would trade us our 2 rimless tires for a rimmed tire to fit our car! So, we knocked that off the price as well! We're going back to get everything fixed tomorrow morning at 8am and then off to Auckland we go with a fresh Warrent of Fitness and a smile on our faces!!

February 5, 2004 Update:  They are in Fiji and loving it!.  The island atmosphere is so peaceful and relaxing that Kate would like to stay there for the rest of their trip.  Nathan and his dad and brother have been scuba diving several times and Kate is taking scuba lessons.  One day, on the way back from a dive, their boat was surrounded by a pod of about 60 dolphins - a good time was had by all.  Kate says the food, weather and Fijians are terrific, not to mention the hour long massages!

February 11, 2004 Update:  (Part of an email from Kate)
...we're not in the south island yet, 'cause the farm we're going to doesn't need us until monday...so we're probably gonna head over in the next couple days and spend a day in nelson or something before we go to the farm...i don't have the address with me right now, but i emailed it to mom, so you can get it from her, or i can tell you it some other time!  thanks for all the good ideas about the south island...i think we are going to be going down the west coast!  All the rest of the fiji trip was really really great, and we REALLY miss it...coming back here after being there has made us pretty homesick, even though we're still loving it here...it's just hard to go such a long time without seeing you're mom and dad (and brother too...)  we're in wellington now, camping at shelly bay again.   last night we had to sleep in the car 'cause it was sooooo windy!! but it wasn't actually as bad as i thought it would be...i fit pretty comfortably in the back, and nathan slept on one of the seats up front.   Also, last night after we ate dinner nathan wanted to busk a little more so we came back into the city and while he was busking this guy and girl who was probably about mid-20s gave him $25 'cause they thought he was so good and then they invited us to this REALLY REALLY fancy bar to have drinks, and they bought everything for us that we wanted and they probably spent over $100 on us...it turns out they work for BBC and they're here doing some TV show where they follow a british family that moves to another country and stuff...like a reality TV thing...i think they said it was called "get a new life" or something like that...one of them was a director and the other one was assistant producer or something....so they had a ton of money...it was real weird, not bad weird...just like unexpected...but they were really really nice, so it was fun!

February 24, 2004 Update:
It took them longer to get to the South Island than they expected due to torrential rains and flooding around Wellington.  Many of the ferry runs were cancelled, but they finally made it.  They worked on another "wwoof" farm for about a week.  This was a really great experience for them because for the first time there were other wwoofers also working on the farm.  There was a couple from France and a lady from Germany.  Besides the work, they had a great time playing games, making music, and sharing stories about their adventures in New Zealand.  Kate and Nathan are now in Motueka.  I was able to get up with them via Instant Messenger and Kate just told me that they are going to a really big music festival in the heart of the Southern Alps - it's called Destination 2004.  
From their website:

Cave Stream, Southern Alps is an exquisite place surrounded by magnificent scenery. Mix in a gathering of beautiful people, exceptional music, creative arts, fine coffee and cuisine and you have a harmonious blend of humanity and nature - an experience you will not easily forget.
In essence, its all about you and we would be privileged to have your company in a place that encompasses fellowship, personal health and even spiritual significance.
Lets make this a tribal party! Look forward to seeing you there. Remember to Dance, Communicate, Evolve, Enjoy!

The festival runs from the 27th thru the 29th and they are going to try to get Leland to meet them there.  He is currently working in Christchurch.  After the festival Kate and Nathan will be going to Richmond to work on a commercial fruit farm picking pears.

March 1, 2004 Update: (An email from Kate)
Hi guys!
We're in Greymouth right now, on our way back to Motueka to spend one night and then start pear picking tomorrow at 8am! (pear picking is in richmond...about 20 minutes from motueka).  
The festival was real fun! there was pretty good music, although some of it was dance type music, which i really don't like, the good stuff was reggae kinda music.  there were a lot of really really nice people (including lots of REAL cute little kids, dogs, cats and a whole group of gypsies who each had there own housetrucks which were soooo cool) and we were very surprised at how comfortable we felt the whole time...there was nothing to feel uncomfortable about there.  We had to stay at the festival an extra day because it rained while we were there (but not that bad...) and the road up to the place where the festival was (called castle rock) got too muddy and we couldn't leave until today, but we enjoyed staying for another day.  Leland came with us (i can't remember if i told you he was going to) Anyway, leland's heading off to central Otago now, and wants to meet up with us again in a few weeks (when we're done pear picking)  
Oh guess what! i forgot to tell you but the pears we pick are for harry and david's...you know that catalogue with the fruit and candy and stuff! i always look at that catalogue! weird!
alright, well i guess that's about it for now...i'll email you again probably tomorrow to let you know what the pear picking's like...hopefully it won't be too bad!!
We're going to call Matt in Auckland to find out if he wants to buy our car or not (he said he might want to) and once we know that we'll know for sure when we're coming home...the reason being we need time in auckland to sell the car unless matt's going to buy it so that will change when we leave the south island, and we want to make sure we feel like we've had enough time here.  After we pear pick it will either be a short camping trip and then wwoofing or just strait to wwoofing!
alright, well i love you and miss you sooo much!! and tell david hello from me!!  love you!!!!!!!!!!

March 8, 2004 Update: (Part of an email from Kate)
right now we're in nelson, i'm selling some necklaces and bracelets again which i think are REAL good and much better than the ones i was making before, so hopefully it will be profitable!  we're done with pear picking...we decided since we don't have a whole lot of time left here, that we wanna make sure we're doing all the things we want to do before we leave...and pear picking wasn't too high on the priority list...but i did make $100, which is great, i think!  we'll be in nelson for a couple of days (me selling jewelry and nathan drumming) and then we're going to go wwoofing...after that we'll probably go camping (not sure where yet...) and then more wwoofing (we might split up for a week around that time and wwoof at 2 different places...just for the experience of it) and then we'll start heading back up north, take the ferry, stop off in rotorua to go zorbing, make any other stops on the way to auckland that we want to...and then we'll be in auckland for a few days before we leave, probably staying with matt...we're planning to come home on April 20th.  i guess that's about all for right now...nothing TOO exciting's been going on lately...we're just trying to get organized for the rest of our time here!
Part 2:
just writing you a quick email 'cause i wanna tell you about my jewelry selling... no one was even really looking at anything, they were just hurrying by, so i wasn't feeling too optimistic but then this cute little asian woman came up and looked at them all for a long time, and kept asking how much each of them were, and then she just said "i'll have all of them please"! so i sold them all to her (6 necklaces and 2 bracelets which cost me about $19 to make total) for $70!!! it turns out she owns a shop in brisbane, australia...and she is going to sell them for even more there!  it all made me feel very good about the jewelery...and i'm off to the bead shop to get some more supplies!!  i feel very good about it all!

March 11, 2004 Update: (This is part of an Instant Messenger session between Kate, her Mom and her Dad)
Hudson Robert: Have you spent the night any where other than Nelson, Richmond and Pokororo?
specialkty: richmond, motueka, mapua, and when we were in golden bay working we were in takaka
Hudson Robert: What is Mapua?
specialkty: it's a place were we accidentally stayed at a nude camp ground
Hudson Sherrill: I could have gone all day without hearing that...
Hudson Robert: Cool, I mean hot.
specialkty: I mean, you didn't have to be naked...thank god....
specialkty: yea mom...it was scary...i was trying to not look at anything...just get to the tent...actually though, there was only like one naked person
Hudson Sherrill: i'm laughing now

March 18, 2004 Update:
After leaving Nelson, they went to the Wild Foods Festival in Hokitika, but arrived too late to actually get into the festival.  They busked in town and met a lady from England who wanted to catch a ride down south with them.  They camped at Fox Glacier on the way to Queenstown.

(The following is part of an email that Kate sent.)
hey daddy!!
I MISS YOU!!!!!  how are you??  i feel really out of touch, email's much more expensive on the south island 'cause it's more rural here...but i think i'm going to buy a phone card soon and call you, also we'll be wwoofing starting on saturday and i bet you can call me there!  right now i'm in queenstown which is soooo beautiful!  ellie for england is here with us, and leland too (we ran into him here, without planning it!)  we're all getting along soo well and it's really really fun!  we did get to go to the glacier which was amazing! the ice was blue, the trees were green and the rocks on the ground around it were RED!!  it was sooo neat!  we did sleep in the tent in hokitika and in nelson we were in the car some and then staying with that german guy...we stayed at a campsite in fox glacier, and we've been sleeping in the tent here in queenstown.  i'm going to change the tickets tomorrow morning...so that will be all worked out and out of the way. everything here is sooo beautiful and amazing and i love it!!!!! and i'm having a lot of fun!!

(This is part of an email that Nathan's Dad forwarded to me:)
-we are in queenstown in city central tenting -> going to Wwoof outside of town after the Queenstown Market tomorrow (sat).
-ditching the car at the wwoofers -> hitchhiking east to Dunedin and then south to Sea Cliff (self-explanatory geography) to spend a night or two in an old insane asylum
-hitchhiking from the asylum ->to queenstown to get car and head to Milford Sound -> coming back up north -east and up along the east coast -> thru christchurch where we know someone to stay with in the hills.
-then heading from Christchurch all the way up to Nelson, staying there for a night with Ananda, a German guy who I am quite good friends with.
-then either taking the ferry out of Nelson to Wellington, or Picton. Sleeping on Shelley Bay in Wellington (our old reliable spot in the windy city on the side of the bay) -> waking up and driving the long one to Auckland.
-Staying at Matt's (didgeridoo player) starting the 5th of April where he is throwing a large house party for Kate and I (and indirectly leland if he is still around) and hopeful he will rouse up his musician friends who are all highly acclaimed and there will be an awesome scene that night.
-so for the remainder of our time which is two weeks in Auckland, I will be busking on the ridge of my New Zealand musical Crescendo, having a damn blast playing with others, playing with myself, earning money for the summer and college, and perhaps playing a few gigs with Matt and Luke, who want to find me a drum set. I don't know about that though (I mean if we will find me a drum set). And then come the 20th, I am all yours! I'm comin home!

oh right, and in 3 weeks time, I am teaching at a primary school in Nelson.
I met a teacher, Leanne Curtis at the Nelson Market (where I also met this Brit girl who we are traveling with) and she gave me the principal's phone number, I called him, arranged a meeting, went to the meeting and really poured my heart out about wanting to teach, and he gave me his #; insisted on me attending when I come back in to Nelson, and even began speaking money, but I shut him up, don't worry (said jokingly). So that is really interesting for me.
And also, after playing Auckland, playing Wellington and the summercity festival, playing Nelson, playing in Hokitika at the Wild Foods Festival; when I actually do go out and busk nowadays, people from all over the place come up to me and say they have seen me here or there, "hey you're the bucketman", or even saying the words "you are the best drummer I have ever heard..." (my heart just melts when they mean it. I also have to tie my ego down to the buckets or I'd lose my rhythm for sure.) It is wild to be recognized for what I am doing. I must keep doing this. I will.
I love all you guys, hope this helps to clear the fog.
Boy have I got stories to tell you all,

March 27, 2004 Update:
Kate has booked their return flights. They will be arriving at Raleigh-Durham airport on Wednesday night, April 21st, just a short while after midnight.

Kate and Nathan are on a wwoof farm just outside Dunedin.
(Part of an email from Kate)
the place we're staying is soooo cool!!  it's up on the top of a mountain, in the middle of the bush, with nothing around.  There's a guy named Martin, who lives in a little house that he made, and he's working on making a more permanent house a little ways down the mountain.  The woman we're wwoofing for lives right next to him, they're "together" but like to live separately, her name is Phillipa and she has two daughters, Nada (9) and Jahlea(12).  And, get this...they don't live together!  Phillipa lives in a bus, Nada in a caravan, and Jahlea in a gypsy-type-caravan thing.  the girls are both WAY WAY old seeming for their ages...i guess 'cause they kind of live on their own in a sense.  we're staying in a caravan too, which is soo cozy and fun...all of the living spaces are solar powered and have gas stoves and gas heaters...it's really really fun here!
our toilet is a hole in the ground that you kind of squat over, and the way that you bathe is in a bathtub over a fire that you light to warm the water...I LOVE IT!!  we start work at about 11, it's really flexible, and we mostly work in her organic vegetable garden weeding and stuff like that...but mostly they don't weed things, just let them grow.  Martin just got 250,000 bees, 'cause he's going to start making honey, so there's tons of bees flying all around (i'm trying to be brave) and we're learning a lot about bees...they are amazing!  WELL..everything is soooooo fun, and i'm having a lot of fun!  unfortunately, since everything's pretty basic up there, there's no phones (except phillipa's cell phone) or computers...so i might not be in GREAT contact with you...we're about 30min drive out of the city also, but anytime i DO come down, if i do, i'll be emailing you guys!  we're going to stay here as long as possible 'cause we really like it...but it won't be TOO long 'cause we're going to try to be back on the north island by the 6th, and we still want to stop in christchurch and busk some...i'll let you know when we're moving on!

(the following is an email that Leland sent to his Mom.)
hey mom and dad.  i'm alive and doing great.  i just walked to kutuini track or something like that and it was beautiful.  i came out on a dead in road that runs down the west coast from the top.  there was not a soul out there and i thought i was going to have a long walk back to any main road but i wasn't worried at all and like usual i was picked up by some folks from holland on a tour and was taken to farewell spit as well as wharariki beach which is incredible and then driven into collingwood where i camped on the beach.  the night before i was on a hilltop sleeping between the roots of a massive tree.  saw the sunrise from my sleeping bag in the hills and the sun set with my feet in the water on the west coast, good day.  i think i'll go to nelson tomorrow, sleep there, then catch a ferry from picton to start my hike up to auckland.  I'm reading a book of the compassionate one about Meher Baba, that's spelled wrong but the guy who is god and didn't talk for a long time, i'm sure you know who he is.  it's a great way to tie the other spiritual things i've learned together and then i was helped out even more by a fellow who picked me up and discussed mayan calendar and spirals and all that stuff so i have some good ideas about life and can feel them in my actions and the way i'm treated.  i haven't been happier and had more fun.  I love you guys so much and am thankful for all you've given me and allowed me to do.  good to hear about adam and soph, i cant wait to see them again. ill be coming home soon and am very glad for that as well, life will be much better for me there from what i've learned here. ok i'll talk to y'all soon.  bye

April 9, 2004 Update:
Kate and Nathan hitch-hiked their way to the north end of the island and after a couple of days took the night ferry to Wellington.  They stayed in a hostel as it was too wet and cold to camp at Shelly Bay.  They busked for several days before catching the train for the 12 hour trip to Auckland.  They are staying with their friend Matt and getting ready for the flight home.  They will be saying goodbye to New Zealand on Wednesday, April 21st.  Although they are sad to be leaving, they are REALLY ready to be back in North Carolina. 
 Due to the time difference, they will be arriving at Raleigh-Durham International on Wednesday night, April 21st.

April 22, 2004 Update:
They're Ba-a-a-ck!  Kate and Nathan arrived late last night after a very long 'day' of flights and were welcomed by some very excited family members.  Kate and her family were up till the wee hours sharing stories and generally having a great time being in each others company once again.  


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