Aotearoa // New Zealand

Aotearoa = New Zealand ~ the land of the long white cloud

*Disclaimer: there are many words, and a few pictures. If you prefer, skip to the full album, here: View

Aotearoa is a land at the bottom right of the great big map. An isolated island in the middle of the ocean. Like any island, it is surrounded by the sea…but this island just happens to exist at the convergence of two plates…the tectonic kind that collide causing earthquakes and the eruption of magma: giving birth to more land. And over time, the sea, the water & even the glaciers sculpt the land into the shape that we see now, but won’t be there tomorrow. And the rivers & glaciers feed the soil and forests emerge, nearly every kind of forest in fact. And birds love it. If Coolio were a bird, Gangster’s Paradise would have been about birds…and well, I don’t know what he would have called it, but it would be sweet. Anyway, before man arrived to muck things up, as per usual, Aotearoa was a bird sanctuary. And every square meter belonged to the birds, the volcanoes, the trees & the water…brilliant. And then, the Polynesians now known as the Maori (indigenous people of Aotearoa) canoed over (similar story to all of those islands) and started a thriving civilization.

Cue the moody music, this is where things take a turn ~ the Pakeha (white man) are sailing around the seas and they see some land in the distance. Well, turns out, it’s Aotearoa. Soon, word spreads and the Pakeha are chomping at the bit to sail to these floating jungles and have a look around: Captain Cook, the first Pakeha to ‘discover’ Aotearoa, remarked that the noise from the birds (many of which are nocturnal) was so loud that they moored their ships a few kilometers out to see just to be able to sleep. Crazy. Then, some Dutch guy called the place ‘New Zealand’…(apparently there is a place called Zealand ~ which is likely not as cool as the new one…and like ‘York’, you’ve never heard of it). And that, is some butchered history to catch you up to speed.

Now, let me tell you the story of some other white peeps who showed up in New Zealand. The story begins in the 11th month of the year 2016. Wait, back up. Let me tell you about the #NewlyWise, two stellar peeps who reign from several places across the globe but most recently, SLO. They get hitched because their love runs deeper than the deepest sea & because they’ve got so much love to give, they invited some buddies along to celebrate with them: BuddyMoon defined. So here we are, completely across the globe, on an island, hanging out with the very same people we hang out with in SLOtown…awesome, right?! So there we are, in an epic land, with some amazing people:

First, the NewlyWise: Steph+Dustin*

*Dustin is a legit photo-blogger himself, check out his take on the BuddyMoonNZ, here:

#BuddyMoonNZ Happy Hour ~ Nelson, NZ ~ ‘the first supper’

Eric, the tour guide. He’s fairly emo.

Lake Matheson w/ Serena, CC & Steph

Pancake Rocks, Franz Jesef Glacier

Put on your Yamaka, it’s time for Wanaka! (that’s the name of a place, that’s all)

Serena, bearing gifts. She’s regular size, the wildflowers in NZ are just massive.

That Wanaka Tree

This, is me. A rare selfie. Enjoy.

Queenstown. Gambling. Bungy Jumping. Fergburger. Tramps & Lugers. CC, leader of the pack.

Doubtful Sound ~ it’s not Milford, it’s no sound, no doubt!

On the road to Milford and yes, that’s the rubber eater himself, the Kea bird. A rugged parrot. Can’t: talk. Can: eat rubber.

Dbob + Eva Boo ~ even sand flies love ’em.Milford Sound, sounds good.

A great example of the interesting names for places. I’m pretty sure they’re serious about this name. But I also don’t believe I understand the NZ sense of humor.

There it is, Aoraki (Mount Cook). It’s tall. There are a few glaciers in the foreground.  All in all, a fairly picturesque place.

Lake Tekapo ~ Sunset above. Sunshine below.
That, my friends, is a glance at the South Island…just scraping the surface. If you dare read on, next up is the North Island.

Serena welcome you, to Hobbiton!

It just so happens that I’m related to some hobbits, whom Serena & I had the pleasure of visiting in Wellington! Thanks to my sister for having us 🙂

My sis, with one of the natives 🙂


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Meet the crew

Blake Andrews founded SLOtography in 2008 and now works alongside photographer James Lester, Stephen Heraldo, and videographer Robin Ayers. Together, they bring more than 10 years of experience (and serious good vibes) to weddings and events throughout San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast.

515 Broad Street, Suite B

San Luis Obispo, CA 93405


San Luis Obispo, CA
Wedding & Event Photographer


Good people. Good places. Good things.


515 Broad Street, Suite B

San Luis Obispo, CA 93405


San Luis Obispo, CA
Wedding & Event Photographer