I've known Adrienne for years and we've done quite a few walks around Sydney together (and a trip to Brisbane). She's a self-described "hoon", into powered activities, while I prefer to stay on my own two feet, but our interests overlap as far as car touring, daywalks, and easy overnight walks.
Joe was born in Taiwan, went to school in Canada, did his first degree in New Zealand, and is now doing a combined medical degree and PhD in Sydney. And he wants to learn Russian and work as a volunteer in the Czech Republic!
I'd met Joe before this trip, but only briefly. He turned out to be a great tramping companion - easygoing but curious and happy to talk about all kinds of things. (And he didn't race off into the distance and leave me miles behind trying to catch up.)
I met scores of people during the trip, but only mention here the ones I talked to at length, or met on multiple occasions. People were almost uniformly friendly, especially the staff in hostels and visitors' centres and the bus drivers.
Katy, who we met in Carrington Hut on the Three Passes walk, was a really lovely person, open and totally unaffected as well as attractive, and it wasn't at all surprising that several of the men working for DOC had apparently lost their heads over her.
I met lots of people in the hostel in Hokitika. Ken, a British lad of Chinese/Vietnamese descent, was annoyed at being stuck in such a boring town and simply rolled his eyes when I pointed out that it had a museum and a bookshop. On the other hand, he'd spent $70 on a haircut just out of boredom, which seemed incredible to me...
David and Veronica were a Belgian couple who were working in China and had some fascinating stories to tell about that. They gave me a lift from Hokitika to Franz Joseph. And I met Claire again in passing at Franz Joseph.
Bec, Ann, and Zoe were from Melbourne. I met them in Hokitika, then ran into them on the glacier at Franz Joseph and had dinner with them afterwards. Zoe was doing a PhD in physical chemistry, Ann worked in IT, and Bec was involved with the Mamma Mia production. In some ways they were a study in contrasts; in others they were quite similar (one common interest seemed to be philosophy of science).
I sat next to Oliver, a Canadian civil engineer who was mostly cycling, on the bus from Haast to Wanaka, and met him again at Lake Tekapo. I met Claudia at Lake Tekapo and then in passing at Mt Cook.
I met Pat in Wanaka and then again at Mount Cook. She was from Birmingham in England; around 70, she had retired and saved from her pension so she could go to New Zealand each English winter (thus saving on fuel). In Mount Cook I also met an 18 year old from Melbourne called Drew, who I ran into later in the Canterbury Museum.
Further contacts? Katy gave me her email address and I found Zoe's using Google (PhD thesis topics are distinctive). And I told David and Veronica to type "danny" into Google, so I may yet hear from them too.