THE MAORI EXPERIENCE
17.05.2017 - 29.05.2017 17 °C
Kia Ora friends!
Kia Ora, the traditional Kiwi way of saying hello is actually hello in the Maori language.
Today was our culture day where were took time to learn about the native Maori people.
The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand who were settlers from eastern Polynesia. They arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. In the 2013 census, there were approximately 600,000 people in New Zealand identifying as Māori, making up roughly 15% of the national population. There is a conscious effort to preserve that language and culture.
This morning we visited Te Puia, a cultural center on the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. It was fantastic.
We started with a concert that gave a glimpse into Maori Culture. It was interesting and beautiful to watch. The performers had the most amazing voices and the music was excellent.
After that we went for a guided tour of this amazing geothermal valley. Here is the actual name of the valley.
Our tour guide was great and could have been Tony Gabriel’s New Zealand twin, with the same sense of humor and body language.
Our tour took us to see the Pohutu Geyser. The largest in the southern hemisphere. When we arrived it was settling but we went back to see it start up again. It can shoot water to 30 meters. It got so loud and wild. We even got wet.
The hot waters are used for cooking, either submerged for boiling, or cooked in a covered wooden box like this.
Here are some tombs from the village. They sit above the ground so the bodies don’t cook. Even touching the paths or sitting on the edges you can feel real intense heat.
We visited the mud pools, also bubbling with heat. This one is called the frog pond because it looks like frogs hopping. I only caught one bubble bursting in my photos.
Then we went to see a Kiwi bird. Yay. Because they are nocturnal, she is kept in a dark room so visitors can see her and the lights come on in the evening. It wasn’t a great look but I saw her running around and digging.
Then we visited the weaving and carving schools. The carvings are beautiful.
From there we went to a café overlooking a lake and the Maori village of Ohinemutu. After lunch we walked around. This place was crazy. Literally boiling water everywhere. People’s backyards were filled with boiling water. People must get burned. We wander around exploring. It reminded me a little of Newfoundland on a sunny day.
We were so grateful for the sun. It is Fall here and the weather hasn’t been great. But our weekend weather was perfect for our two perfect activities.
I left Crystal in Rotorua, and took a bus back to Auckland. I am departing on a very early morning flight.
Always grateful for the opportunities and experiences. Especially when it is my job that helps me make them happen.