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In the Quilting World

The New Zealand Craftour Quilting Retreat October 2017

Today's quilter has new and exciting opportunities to travel and visit other countries to see how they enjoy the craft of quilting. There are tour companies and magazines that sponsor these trips and plan them around quilting events, quilt shops and, sometimes, classes. Craftours and Annie's, the parent company of Quilter's World, partnered up to go on one of these great trips. Our trip was to the wonderful country of New Zealand, a land of lush green fields, mountains, long seashores and low-hanging clouds. It's the perfect place to explore both the countryside and quilting.

We arrived on the South Island of New Zealand and traveled to the city of Christchurch, where the National Quilt Symposium was being held. I must say, New Zealand has some very talented quilters.

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Two of the beautiful quilts from New Zealand's National Quilt Symposium

Applique is very popular in New Zealand. What amazed me is that the applique style you would think would be popular there -- Polynesian style -- wasn't. Most of what we saw leaned to the art-style type of quilts. I really expected to see Maori-style quilts, similar to the tribal designs and tattoos of that indigenous group of people. Nevertheless, the talent displayed there totally blew me away. The quilts were stunning.

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More quilts from the Symposium.

If these quilts inspire you to want to try your hand at applique, try Jungle Boogie Quilt, our featured pattern for this update. It's an ideal project to begin that journey. It has all the elements needed to master the basics and a bit beyond. It's available at AnniesCraftStore.com.

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Jungle Boogie Quilt, our featured pattern for this update, available at AnniesCraftStore.com

Of course, New Zealand has so much more to offer than just quilting. We toured the city of Christchurch and witnessed the reconstruction of many of the historic churches and buildings that had been damaged in the 2010 earthquake. We visited Canterbury Museum and learned about the rich cultural and natural heritage of New Zealand. After three days on the South Island, we took a ferry to Wellington on the North Island.

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Several churches in Christchurch were damaged by the 2010 earthquake.

In Wellington, we visited the Te Papa Museum and saw their fabulous collections. We also saw the Parliament building and the famous executive wing of the complex, known as the "Beehive." We walked the grounds taking many photos.

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Maori carvings at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, and a view of the parliament buildings, including the "Beehive," in Wellington.

While in Wellington we also took a cable-car ride to the top of Mount Victoria, and we visited the waterfront docks.

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The view from the top of the hill at the cable-car launch, and the coastline of the North Island.

After a couple of days exploring Wellington, seeing the sights there and, of course, visiting a few local quilt shops, we made our way north up the coastline and then inland to the beautiful town of Rotorua, which turned out to be my favorite place on the trip. Here we again found a local quilt shop, learned about the Maori culture, attending a Maori dinner and show, and visited the Te Puia geothermal reserve where they explained how active volcano vents were turned into power. There were bubbling mud ponds, steam vents and the Pohutu Geyser, which shoots steaming-hot water about 100 feet high several times a day.

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One of the quilt shops on our way to Rotorua, and a Maori canoe demonstration at the dinner.

The Maori culture is a rich one. Visiting their culture center and learning about their customs was fascinating. These people have managed to save their customs and thrive in the modern world. Their arts and crafts are exceptional.

Our next and last stop was the city of Auckland. Along the way we visited the Kiwi House to see the native birds, and the Waitomo Caves to see the glowworms. Neither place allowed photos, but both were well worth the stop. We explored Auckland and prepared to head back to the States after a wonderful farewell dinner.

What a wonderful way to spend a vacation!

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