Godzone was founded in 1998, a year after I left New Zealand, backpacking my way around the world.
I produce the site as a notebook to myself. I use it to plan before leaving, as a handy tool while traveling, and to document my experiences. Everything is manually selected and put together by myself, and I have no obligations to third-parties. It’s the reason why there are no ads, comments or user-generated content or reviews on the site – and why you might find human errors. If you do, please let me know.
All recommendations and opinions are my own, and will certainly change over time. While I avoid commercial bias, it is influenced by what I like to do, the styles I have traveled and by my personal views. The site is continually updated and tinkered with as I discover better ways to do things. Sometimes you might find things half-finished until I find the time to complete them.
Godzone started in a flat in the United Kingdom after I had travelled through the Americas and Europe. I’d met many travellers interested in visiting New Zealand, creating an online resource seemed like a good idea. Starting to write a New Zealand history, I soon realised that there was much more to New Zealand history, culture and nature than I knew.
Although I’d travelled around New Zealand many times before, it was during January-May of 2001 when my first serious New Zealand travel experience took place. Determined to visit every part of New Zealand, I covered thousands of kilometres and the website became an early travelog where I would upload my travel diary and photographs.
After returning to the United Kingdom, Godzone was used to highlight the issues surrounding genetic engineering in New Zealand. Career and family impacted my ability to devote time to the website after 2004, and for more than a decade I put the website in hiatus.
During that time I learned how to program websites and dabbled with creative work like creating a new logo and a lot of photography. It wasn’t until late 2017 that I got started with the site in earnest. The motivation behind that was to prepare for a trip in 2020/21 where I’ll hopefully walk the Te Araroa Trail.
Godzone is based in New Zealand and 100% Kiwi owned, however I run it from Amsterdam.
As I am exploiting New Zealand, I give careful consideration to personal and website activities that affect the country. This includes looking for practical ways to promote sustainable tourism, educating visitors to minimise their environmental impact, and through the support of volunteer and charitable initiatives.
Being an expat means active participation in New Zealand conservation is limited to volunteering when I visit New Zealand. I am a lifetime member of Forest and Bird and Heritage New Zealand, and I’ll be using Godzone increasingly to support these and other conservation projects.
Website development is done with conservation in mind; the site is light-weight and fast, minimising resource requirements. The website is run on servers in New Zealand that are advertised as using green web hosting technology. I operate the site from my home in Amsterdam; my home is energy efficient, we are conscientious recyclers and consumers, and we use bikes to get everywhere (occasionally using public transport or renting a car if the need arises). I love Amsterdam and The Netherlands for this reason!
God’s Own Country
For visitors from outside New Zealand, the word ‘Godzone’ is a New Zealand colloquialism from the mid-1800s, a popular slang word used interchangeably with ‘New Zealand’ – often used within a context of idealism or irony. A colloquial contraction of “God’s Own Country“, it was probably used to both describe the Garden of Eden found by early settlers as well as the chance to start afresh from the political and social oppression then found in other parts of the world. It was popularised by the New Zealand Prime Minister Richard “King Dick” Seddon.