TODAY |

Family embracing NZ and Te Reo Māori after four-week trip turns into year-long stay

In March last year, the Lange family - and American and German couple with two children - arrived in New Zealand for what was supposed to be a four-week stay in Aotearoa.

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In March 2020, the Lange family landed in New Zealand from Germany for what was supposed to be a four-week holiday. Source: Breakfast

A pandemic and several lockdowns later, Ayesha, Vincent and their daughters Freda and Toni are still here and adjusting to the New Zealand way of life by learning Te Reo Māori.

Ayesha says the family were in the midst of a year of travel.

“We were in South America for about half a year, we had just landed in New Zealand for the New Zealand, Australia, Fiji portion of the year and that’s when we got stuck and why we decided to stay,” she said.

It didn’t really hit until May or June that they may be calling Aotearoa home for some time.

“When we first got stuck in lockdown we thought at the least the trans-Tasman bubble will open at some point and we’ll be able to move onto Fiji and Australia,” Ayesha said.

Lockdown didn’t seem like much of a lockdown though when you were in Akaroa, near Christchurch.

“It didn’t feel like lockdown because we were in beautiful Akaroa, there was so much to explore, to see. We use the time very well,” Vincent said.

Since then, the family has done just about everything on offer from Cape Reinga to Bluff, including some language classes.

“It was really maybe a month or two ago that the reason we came on the trip was to really explore indigenous cultures,” Ayesha said.

“I didn’t realise how woven it (Māori culture) was into everyday society here and so we’ve been here a while and made some good friends, some good Māori friends.”

“The way to keep a language alive is to speak it, we both speak multiple languages, I speak Spanish, he speaks Italian, some Greek, and why not te reo?”

What’s next for the Langes remains a mystery, but Freda and Toni do miss family overseas.

“We are planning to leave soon, in the next couple of months, where exactly we don’t know,” Ayesha said.

“We still have our round-the-world ticket sitting there.”