US diplomat ejected from New Zealand after mysterious incident
A technical attache at the US embassy in New Zealand has been expelled amidst a police inquiry. Both governments have been mum on the alleged crime, but the official in question was seen with physical injuries.
A US diplomat has been ejected from New Zealand after the US embassy in Wellington refused to waive his immunity, according to media reports on Sunday. Although neither side has made an official comment on the row, it allegedly involves a physical altercation between embassy staffer Colin White and an unknown other party.
According to Television New Zealand (TVNZ), which broke the story, White was seen with a broken nose and black eye following an incident in the city of Lower Hutt. He was wanted for questioning by police, but the embassy refused to release him from diplomatic immunity, so he could not be arrested.
The police were forced to ask the Foreign Ministry to intervene, resulting in White's expulsion. A spokesman from the ministry told TVNZ that Wellington had sent a request to Washington "to withdraw the staff member in question from New Zealand."
In turn, the US embassy told the news outlet: "We take seriously any suggestion that our staff have fallen short of the high standards of conduct expected of US government personnel. Any allegations of wrongdoing are always fully investigated."
The embassy did not comment on rumors that White, a technical attache, had worked with New Zealand intelligence.
Washington's mission to New Zealand is currently without a permanent ambassador since President Donald Trump dismissed most major US diplomats appointed by his predecessor Barack Obama.
Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk
The Lake-Waikaremoana Great Walk is located in the eastern part of New Zealand's north island. It normally takes three to four days to cover the 46-kilometer (28-mile) route. The hike takes you through different vegetation zones, from extensive beech forests to thick rainforests.
Tongariro Northern Circuit
This hiking trail on the north island leads past volcanic craters, mountain peaks, lakes and rainforests - everything neatly packed next to each other. To walk the entire trail you'll need three to four days. The Emerald Lakes, the intense green color created by minerals, are one of the path's main attractions.
The 145-kilometer (90-mile) long Whanganui Journey on the north island might be called a "Great Walk" but is actually a kayak or canoe voyage. You paddle along the Whanganui River for three to five days. Those preferring to hike can follow a track through the thick jungle.
Abel Tasman Coast Track
The Abel Tasman Track on the northern coast of the South Island is probably the most popular of the "Great Walks." The route is 51 kilometers long and takes visitors on easy paths to secluded coves with breathtaking beaches. Particularly appealing are the daily hikes in combination with kayak or canoe tours.
At 82 kilometers, this is the longest of the "Great Walks." It leads along the rugged and stormy west coast. The tour takes four to six days to complete. Every 20 kilometers, you enter a different vegetation zone, from the shrub covered highlands via ever-green lush forests all the way to the palm trees on the beaches of the west coast.
Things here become very alpine. The 32-kilometer hiking track on New Zealand's south island leads past the Fiordland National Park and Mount Aspiring. The majestic mountains and wild, river courses with many branches like the Dart River are typical for this landscape. Movie fans know Dart River from some scenes in the "Lord of the Rings" film, where it was used as a location.
Rich with impressive nature scenes, the 53.5-kilometer Milford Track winds its way through the south island's Fiordland National Park. Entrance is strictly regulated as those wishing to go here on their own have to bring a hiking pass, which is issued by the Department of Conservation. Only those who've managed to book rooms in a lodge, of which there are only six, are allowed to enter the route.
The 60-kilometer Kepler Track leads through the Fiordland National Park. The circular path brushes past barren mountain ridges, meanders through moss covered forests past several lakes and leads through deep gorges. The country's best known mountain race, the Kepler Challenge, has been held here since 1988. The best runners manage to complete the 60-kilometer route in less than five hours.
The Steward Islands are located just off New Zealand's southern tip. They are renowned for the amount of rainfall they have. Because of the average 255 rainy days per year here, a large part of the Rakiura hiking path had to be elaborately secured to avoid it being washed away. The route usually leads along the coastline. The 29 kilometers can be comfortably walked in two to three days.