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Posts Tagged ‘Maori’

I caveat this post with the very obvious fact that we spent less than a week in New Zealand so all observations and theories below are strictly opinions based on our limited time there.

One major difference between New Zealand and Australia is that New Zealanders seemed so proud of their heritage.  Australia’s aboriginals are still struggling (and I mean that in the most serious sense) in so many ways; for their rights to be recognized, to find their place in society, for equality and acceptance…I could go on and on. 

The Maori people and traditions, in contrast, seem to be celebrated in New Zealand.  This pride was evident throughout our experience.  From the very moment we arrived, we were greeted with “Kia’Ora” and other beautiful Maori words. 

While in Rotorua, we enjoyed a Maori performance and traditional Hangi dinner.  The Maori were fierce warriors and we were greeted by the Chief and his warrior clan.

After a walk through the Maori village and very informative performances about the Maori way-of-life, we watched our Hangi dinner being taken out of the ground. 

 

The dinner was delicious and the smoked flavor was so unique.  Both Ryan and I went back for seconds.

We also enjoyed a performance which included songs, dances, and stories from the Maori.

*Sorry for the bad quality of this picture.*  The Maori have distinctive dances and chants (hakas) that can be very intimidating.  They use their body parts as instruments and fierce faces for intimidation.  The New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, begins each match with the Haka, issued as a challenge to their opponents.  If you haven’t seen a haka before, click on the video links below.  The intensity and pride is truly amazing. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdMCAV6Yd0Y&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JphKPhW_m68&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrkvpi9IuSk&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0W7YdKYPl0&feature=related

I’m a sucker for traditions, culture, and patriotism.  I’m one of those girls who gets weepy during the National Anthem so the whole evening with the Maori was truly moving.  As we were leaving, one of the hosts shared with us a Maori saying that was perfectly fitting for that evening (the 10th anniversary of September 11th) and for the world in which we live. 

“E ki ana te korero ko te mea nui ki roto i te ao he tangata he tangata he tangata. [The most important thing in the world is people, people, people.]”

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Kia Ora is the native Maori people’s greeting.  It literally means “be well” but as we discovered, it is also used as “hello” quite regularly in New Zealand.

Not more than a year ago, I complained to co-workers, friends, family — and basically anyone who would listen — that I hadn’t been to a new country in over two years.  Towards the end of college I created a goal for myself to visit a new international destination every year and in recent years, that goal was out of reach and I was distraught.  I am laughing at myself now. Little did I know that Australia awaited and from Australia we’d visit amazing places and yes, New Zealand!

The next several posts will be about New Zealand, where we spent one glorious week, travelling around the countryside in a small deathtrap -er, I mean, car.  But for now, this post will serve as a brief taste of what we saw.  And as the Kiwi’s say, it was “Sweet As!” (Translation: Awesome!)

Our trip boiled down to fun facts around numbers:

  • 0 – Number of bad meals we ate
  • 2 – Number of minor arguments along the way.  “Good on us,” I say in my Australian accent
  • 3 – Number of B&Bs at which we stayed.  Our upcoming posts will highlight all three.  It’s also the number of rainbows we saw throughout our drive, including this one below:

  •  4 – Official days of vacation (although we were there for a whole week but Ryan worked the first several days).
  • 4.5 – Pages in my passport that have room for new stamps.  Good thing I’m due a new one soon.
  • 5 – Number of John Deere tractors we saw pulling boats.  Yes, 5!
  •  12 – Hours of driving across the North Island.  We contemplated doing a guided tour or taking the train but in the end, we did a DIY driving and B&B tour planned courtesy of Laura’s travel department 🙂 Our route is below and if anyone is planning to visit the North Island, I would highly recommended the route we took. 

  • 17 – Number of sheep I fed, including 1 adorable baby lamb named, Allie.  Pictures to come in an upcoming post. 
  • 20 – Teams competing at 2011 Rugby World Cup!  How did we not know that Auckland was the host city of the matches?  PS, the US has a team but I’m pretty sure they are not expected to win.
  • 776 – Pictures taken
  • 834 – Total number of kilometers driven
  • Immeasurable – Number of unforgettable memories and priceless experiences

The amount of different scenery we saw during our trip was amazing.  From beautiful pastures to rolling hills…

To rivers and forests….

…Oceans, cliffsides, caves, and mudpools (all of which will be shown in upcoming posts)

I visited the Villa Maria Winery — which claims to be NZ’s most awarded winery– in Auckland by myself one day when Ryan was working.  On the lawn there was this very modern sculpture with a beautiful saying.  I took a picture at the time because I appreciated the art of it but going through our pics upon our return, this seemed like the perfect way to summarize our time in New Zealand.

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