New Zealand seems to rise many questions for me. I have a strong desire to learn more about my patria-in-law. Sometimes I feel like a three-years old wanting to know what the pretty tree is called or spending half an hour at the sweets sections at supermarket with an open mouth. Yesterday I took a too big bite of a popping candy chocolate bar and had my mouth full of exploding sparkles. Yep, three years old me..

Some of my questions are a bit more serious. Like where do they milk the cows? I had to find out.

Dairy industry is big in New Zealand. When you’re driving around, you’ll likely to see more large stocks of cows than sheep, which we traditionally connect with the New Zealand landscape. I have been wondering about the practicalities of this trade; you see hundreds of cows, but no barns or sheds where to milk them at sight.

New Zealand cows produce far less milk (4235 l /year) compared to Finnish cows (8359 l/year). This is probably why they look so happy and healthy and why they only need to be milked once a day (in the case of most farms). The average dairy farm size in Finland is 37 cows, in New Zealand 419 cows. And yet, the farms I know in Finland are way more computerized and technically advanced than what I read about the Kiwi farms.

In New Zealand, these hundreds of cows are walked every morning (at 05:00 AM!!) to the dairy to be milked, herringbone milking machines seem to be the popular ones (Somebody has to attach the machine to the cow by hand – a lot of work before morning coffee..) So not only the cows get to grace freely out in the open air all year along, but they get to walk some good distances too. I call that a happy life. To do all this walking and milking, they need lots of shepherds. Maybe I could get a job next time we’re around!

Now that that question is answered, I have another question.

There is a former glacier lake, which is now disconnected from the glacier waters. Rainwater brings in nutrients, so there is algae living in the lake – makes sense. But where did this fish come from, as it is not connected to any other lakes or rivers? Google didn’t know, so I’m planning a visit to the national park visitor centre in the afternoon. “Where did the fish come from?”

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