Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
January 23, 2011
From journal North Island of New Zealand
January 10, 2008
From journal Rotorua, New Zealand
Sheffield, United Kingdom
March 26, 2005
There were four coaches, and each had elected a chief, but only one of these was selected to accept the gift (which was a bone) from the village. After the welcome ceremony, we proceeded to walk through the village, where Maoris were in traditional dress showing how they used to live, work, and play. There was poi twirling (two balls on string), hand games, weaponry, and the reciting of chants as in days gone by.
We then entered the Wharenui (the Big House). The rules are that women must not be seated in the front row in case fighting between home people and visitors occur and the men have to protect. Welcome speeches are made, and then there is the hongi (pressing of noses) that seals the bond of friendship. Then there was a show of Maori songs and dances that tell the story of Te Maori.
Next we moved to another building where tables had been set out for our dinner. The food had been cooked in the traditional Maori way in a hangi, which is an earth oven. Rocks are heated to a white-hot state with native timber and are then put into a pit that has been dug in the earth. The meat in baskets is put on the rocks, the vegetables in baskets on top of the meat, and then the pudding. The whole lot is covered by wet cloths, Hessian, and earth, which keeps the heat inside. The cooking takes between 3 to 4 hours. There was a whole selection of meat and vegetables on the buffet table all cooked and served to a high standard. Each table went to the buffet table in sequence to save crowding. The only problem was the difficulty in obtaining a drink, as there was only one person serving at the bar.
After the meal, we had time to wander around the village and the few shops with souvenirs before it was time for the closing ceremony. Then it was back on the coach for the return journey, where our driver entertained us again by getting us to sing songs from our own country, with everyone joining in.
Cameras and videos were allowed throughout the whole evening. Visit www.maoriculture.co.nz.
From journal Renewing Friendship in New Zealand
June 4, 2003
Twenty-something coaches leave Rotorua daily for two evening performances 30 minutes south of town. En route, our bus driver warned passengers not to laugh, smile, stick out tongues, or mock the traditional challenge ceremony in any way; then selected a male volunteer to act as our bus' tribal "chief" for the upcoming formalities.
But we quickly realized the ‘seriousness' of the evening wasn't really expected when the bus driver told people in aisle seats to raise their arms and "paddle" our imaginary waka while window passengers repeatedly chanted "ha ha ho HEE" to scare off approaching tribes. We felt ridiculous, but participated in the silly antics.
Oddly enough, if you closed your eyes and pictured Maori warriors gliding through dark waters toward enemy territory–while "ha ha ho HEE" grew in intensity and exaggerated anger as people got into the act–it started to sound strangely realistic..and easier to imagine the intimidation others felt when Maori approached them in a time when NZ was tribal and cannibalism was practiced.
Several bad puns later we were off the bus standing outside the replica village amid a throng of tourists with cameras poised awaiting the warrior to emerge from the thatched fence. By the time he emerged half-naked with black penned images "tattooed" on his arms and face, his bulging eyes, angry tongue thrusts and weapon-wielding motions were more humorous than scary.
He thrust his spear into the air in a series of violent movements, attempting to intimidate us, then approached one of the "chiefs," placing a peace offering at his feet and pressing his nose to the chief's nose.
We had been ceremoniously welcomed, and followed the warrior into his forested village to the beat of drums. Costumed Maori were weaving, singing, sharpening spears, carving, or poi twirling in front of wooden maraes. I was drawn to the happy genuineness of Maori women.
The most authentic and enjoyable part of the evening was the concert. Songs were beautiful and haunting. Their distinctive sound, a blend of soft chants and ballad-like song, still drift through my mind. Riveting. Especially when explained in context of Maori legends and history.
Dinner followed. The traditional hangi–food cooked on hot rocks buried under the earth for several hours–was served buffet style in the huge dining room. Sitting at table 153, we were nearly last to feast on tender chicken, lamb, potatoes, coleslaw, rolls, mussels, and bread pudding.
Our parting instructions were to join hands with one another as we sang a farewell song, then rub noses with fellow companions. But my husband, dragging me by my hand, was out the door before the guy to his left tried anything of the sort.
From journal Rotorua's Maori & Geothermal lands
Williams Lake, British Columbia
August 27, 2002
From journal 5 days in Rotorua
January 3, 2001
From journal Rotorua - the rotten egg city