Taranaki snow a novelty for Texans

17:00, Jul 07 2014

A group of young Texans went up Mt Taranaki yesterday, some of them seeing snow for the first time.

The 27 teenagers are in New Zealand for eight days on an American student educational programme, the group's delegation manager Kevin Pilbrow said.

"New Plymouth is the only place where they have homestays."

The group were billeted out with students from Spotswood College.

They were all ready to sing kayaker Scott Donaldson a song to welcome him to New Plymouth, Pilbrow said, and were disappointed he didn't arrive.

But they did go on a tiki tour of New Plymouth's hot spots, including Puke Ariki, the Coastal Walkway, Pukekura Park, and the zoo.

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Ashley Davenport, 15, from Mineola, Texas, said her favourite part of the day was a trip up Mt Taranaki.

"There was a beautiful view and we hiked it today. It was a lot of energy, but it was fun."

She has been enjoying the cultural experience learning about different people, she said.

This trip is the first time Ashley has been out of the USA and worked hard to raise the money to get here. Her trip has been "pretty interesting", she said.

Tarek Zaher, 15, from Hudson, Texas, wanted to come to New Zealand because of The Hobbit and the scenery. "But ever since I've been here there's been more than you can ever know from reading about New Zealand." But it was "pretty chilly" in Taranaki.

Tarek liked New Plymouth because it had all the attractions of a big city, but was small enough to get around easily.

The Texans have four more days in New Zealand, before going to Australia for six days.

Taranaki Daily News