JWG (jwg) wrote,


We spent two nights in Rotorua. Rotorua is in an extremely volcanic area and there are a number of tourist sites that let you wander around and see mud pools bubbling away or small ponds with steam rising from them and strong colors from the sulphur and other minerals that are in the water. Much of the area around the town smells of rotten eggs. The one we went to was called Wai-o-tapu amusingly their website is named volcanoland.

We stayed in a very nice B&B (Te Ngae) that was out of town and odorless. The owners, Sandy and Anne, were very friendly and we chatted with them at cocktail hour and breakfast for quite a while. Sandy was into botany and had a small orchard with over 40 varieties of apples. Some of the trees had 4 or 5 kinds of apples grafted on them. He also had many other fruits and a nice vegetable and flower garden as well.

The other thing that Rotorua is known for is Maori villages. We went to one of the Cutural Experiences - Mitai (where the warriors and women chanted, danced, sung, and demonstrated some of their crafts. We watched them canoe up and down a narrow river and also saw a sacred spring and had an explanation of how they used some of the trees and plants for medical and other purposes. They taught us some Maori which of course we've forgotten by now. This included a hangi, a Maori feast. Having watched Whale Rider before we came we had a pretty good idea of what we were seeing.

The Maoris were the first serious Polynesian settlers in New Zealand. By a treaty with the government their place in NZ society is somewhat protected and they have a few seats in parliament. They have intermarried and modernized; I'd suspect that without these show business enterprises they might lose even more of their origins to modernization. The warriors and women have many tattoos but now some of them are painted on so that they can carry on more easily.
Tags: new zealand

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