Monday 21st January 2019.
We somehow managed to park in a car park for a popular rapids last night. When we woke up there were buses, cars and tonnes of people getting out and we were so confused. Turns out they open the dam at 10AM every morning and it was a cool sight to watch all the water gushing through and filling the, what was empty, river and creating some fast flowing rapids.
The day was pretty much planned around our evening with the Maori Experience so we had a couple of hours to kill in the afternoon and I am so glad we did.
Headed further north to Tauranga Bay in the Bay of Plenty and it was stunningly beautiful. White beaches, harsh rock islands and beautiful clear water. A nice walk along the front and onto some of the bigger islands was a great way to spend the afternoon.
The Maori Experience started at 730 and we were collected and driven to the village.
We were greeted with a welcoming ceremony where warriors disembarked their boat and testing the 5 selected chiefs to see if they came in peace or not. A peace offering was given and we were allowed to enter the village behind the chief of the village.
From here we learned about the Maori culture. From their arts and crafts, their games, their mode of transport and how they navigate wild seas, how the women performed their dances and songs and finally the incredible Haka.
The part that was most interesting to me was their body art. Almost used as a CV or form of identification. Showing others what tribe they originate from, heritage and genetics, their skill set, whether they were a physical, spiritual or intellectual warrior. Different placings of art meant different things and it was fascinating to learn.
We were then invited to dine with them and learned about their cooked method, the famed Hangi. Basically a huge hole in the ground was dug, white rocks rocks placed in the bottom and then baskets of food placed over them. Finally a wet hessian material placed over the hole to retain the heat and create an earth steamer!
Before dinner we were entertained by the village people with some songs, dance and then the men performed the famed Haka. What a performance and an incredibly talented group of people.
Dinner was served and we were invited to their dining hall. On the menu was chicken, fish, lamb, potatoes, vegetables and some awesome tasting bread.
The experience in itself was probably one of the best things I’ve ever witnessed. Everything was flawless. Their delivery, efficiency and professionalism was second to know and probably one of the best overall services I have ever received.
If you’re in New Zealand you HAVE to visit the Tamaki Maori Village.
Tomorrow we are full sending it down the highest commercial white water rafting waterfall… 21ft! ??