Godzone is a personal travel guide and personal travel blog started in a flat in the United Kingdom after I had journeyed through the Americas and Europe. I’d met many backpackers interested in visiting New Zealand, creating an online resource seemed like a good idea.
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.
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.
About the Author
I’m a first-generation New Zealander born to German parents in Auckland in the early 1970s. I attended Otago University in Dunedin in the early 90s where I studied Marketing (BCom). After a few years work, left New Zealand in 1997 on my Overseas Experience. My travels took me around parts of Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe.
I worked as a Global Web Marketing Manager in the United Kingdom before moving to The Netherlands in 2001 where I was involved in Internet Startups and European Marketing Management roles in global companies like Canon (Cameras) and Yamaha (Motors). In 2010 I became a house-husband after the arrival of two children and a small crisis balancing career and family the way be believed was best for the kids. Now that they’re getting older I have more time to pursue projects like ‘The Wanderer’ websites.
DeWandelaar, DerWanderer and Voorenna
Godzone is now a part of ‘The Wanderer’ family of websites, all of which I maintain by myself.
The name ‘De Wandelaar’ is inspired by the story of Alfred Hamish Reed (1875-1975). An English immigrant to New Zealand, he was known for his long walks throughout the country and became known as “The Happy Wanderer”. Registered in 2012, DeWandelaar.nl was intended to be the Dutch version of Godzone and was shortly used as the name of a New Zealand wine project I ran in Amsterdam between 2013-15.
DerWanderer.de was registered in 2018 as a German version of the site. As more sites were added it became clear that managing them efficiently was necessary. The website Voorenna.nl (Dutch for ‘Before-and-After’) was created for Trade and is used for beta-testing and data-management purposes. Partners can manage their listing data, preview and comment on upcoming changes.
Godzone is based in New Zealand and 100% Kiwi owned, however I run it from Amsterdam. I give careful consideration to personal and website activities that affect New Zealand. 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.
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.