Times when you can expect extra numbers of Kiwis on the trail and in accommodation are public holidays and school holidays. Note that each region has its own anniversary holiday date marking its founding or arrival of colonists. So Otago can be on holiday when Canterbury is at work.
Daylight saving time is something to consider if the change occurs while you are on the trail. You might find that everyone has shifted their clock back or forward an hour while you are out of touch with civilisation. The change officially always takes place at 2am or 3am on a Sunday. If this is going to affect you it most likely will be in early April when you set your watch back one hour.
Te Araroa Specific Links
There is the official site of course, with heaps of information. There is now a south to north guide to the South Island on it, but the accommodation and transport info is on the south-bound pages.
And then there is a Wiki site, with lots of useful links.
And the Facebook page.
Tramping.net.nz is a truly fantastic site. It has a pages dedicated to the South Island TA, including a series of photographs over the various sections—most useful if you haven’t been to NZ and are wondering what the trail actually looks like. These consist of slideshows at the bottom of the page on each section. There are also photographs of many of the huts and camping sites. It is all north to south, but that’s not a big problem.
The Department of Conservation also has a lot of useful information, including a minimal page on what seems to be every hut they are responsible for. But its usually just as easy to use a Google search to find the page on a given hut.
Pronouncing Maori Names
There’s Maori as pronounced by most New Zealanders, and if you are from overseas you need to get to that level to be understood. But then there is a step beyond of pronouncing words properly and not mangling the language. Here’s some sound files and a written guide. A few of things that typically trip up many Pakeha New Zealanders are that ‘au’ is pronounced ‘oh’, not ‘our’ (Te Anau = Teh Uh-noh); ng is soft, as in singer, not finger (Rangitata = Rang-ee tuh-tuh), and ‘o’ is pronounced as in ‘or’, not ‘oh’ (Ohai = Or-hai, but you will hear most people saying Oh-hai).
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Header photo: Tarn near Tarn Hut, Richmond Range