Solbit Discovers Another Name for New Zealand

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

We’re still in New Zealand.  I like it here.  The forests must be a lot like what my ancestors from the Jurassic period walked through and lived in.  Do you suppose that’s why I feel so comfortable here?  I wonder.

Solbit feels comfortable in the new Zealand forest.

Solbit feels comfortable in the new Zealand forest.

Papa and Nona continue to help me with my reading and writing.  They’ve pretty much turned this blog over to me.  Good thing too, because I’m learning so much by traveling that I have oodles and oodles of things to tell you.  Nona has to remind me to keep these emails to you short.  I could go on forever.

Today I want to tell you what I just learned about New Zealand. It has another name.  We were walking along the bay here in Nelson, and I saw this huge, beautiful mural.

DSC02461 Aotearoa

The mural reads “Ao-Tea-Roa.”

Nona especially loves art, so I pointed it out to her.  She was so busy trying to see a bird that she completely missed this huge mural!  She looked at the mural and then said, “Ao-tea-roa.”  I said, “What?”  Did you know that New Zealand had another name?  I’d be surprised, but, then, you are very smart, so maybe you already knew that New Zealand is also called Aotearoa.  I’m still trying to learn how to say Ao-tea-roa.  So are Nona and Papa.

Guess what Aotearoa means?  I’ll tell you:  “the land of the long white cloud.”  I guess it can have other meanings too, but, I can tell you that New Zealand certainly has plenty of long, white clouds.

hiking day from Horseshoe Bay to Oban

Solbit views New Zealand’s long, white clouds.

One more thing before I sign off.  You and I speak English, but Aotearoa is not an English word.  People here in Aotearoa speak English and another language, Maori.  We see a lot of signs here in both Maori and English.


Here’s an example of an English & Maori sign.

Maori is also the name of a Polynesian people  who explored the Pacific Ocean in canoes, maybe a thousand or more years ago. Can you imagine crossing a big ocean on canoes?  Wow, they had courage.  Maori people are handsome and strong, too.  The ones I’ve met are very nice, but, look out! They enjoy making a scary face like this one.


Photo of Post Card by Kiwi Vista that Papa bought for me to show you the scary face.

Nona just looked over my shoulder.  She said I’m going on too long and should close this email to you.

I’m your friend, Sparkle Orangie Lulu Breakit (Solbit for short).



February 2014

*You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.

*You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

One thought on “Solbit Discovers Another Name for New Zealand

  1. […] this one from our time in New Zealand?  Here’s my scariest moment […]

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