LOVE TO WANDER
If you have a problem - fix it. If you can't fix it, forget it. The problem is - it has been raining for a couple of days now. We can't do anything about the rain, so we're making the best of it.
Yesterday, we visited a redwood forest - the tree canopy kept us reasonably dry with the help of umbrellas to shield us from the heaviest downpours. The redwoods were planted as an experiment, but turned out to be useless - the wood is too soft to be useful (unlike the native kauri tree which is a very hard wood and has been extensively harvested). The trees have been left for the enjoinment of visitors now.
Last night, we went to a traditional Maori concert (Matai) and enjoyed Hangi Meal cooked in natural hot steam., There was a guided bush walk in the dark through a glow-worm cave, but there were too many people with torches to properly appreciate it so I'm not going to include the website for this attraction.
We learned more about Maori culture at the Te Puma centre (www.tepuia.com) this morning.
Tip for future travellers: We asked if there was a discount because it was raining and they generously gave us 10% off!
I find the moka (tattoos) fascinating. They tell you a lot about a person's ancestors/tribe and prowess at important things like being a warrior. The women just have their chin painted. The main tribe here is the Aracula tribe. Birds dominate their moka - parrots, owls, kiwi and bats over their faces. The women just have owl wings on their chins. Years ago, the tattoos were chiselled into the skin and then dyed - a very painful process carried out with great ceremony.
The centre is a teaching institute for Maori crafts and we admired the great creative work of wood carvers and flat weavers. I particularly liked the rain capes they made, decorated with kiwi bird feathers.
We finished the day soaking in the Polynesian Spa (www.polynesianspa.co.nz). There are a number of natural pools there at varying temperatures right up to 42 degrees C - blissful - even in the rain!
The typical Maori greeting is to touch noses twice.
Windows are often left open - it is supposed to let the spirits of dead ancestors escape.
The kiwi fruit is so called because the brown hairiness of the round Chinese gooseberry does indeed resemble a kiwi!
Kumara - a sort of sweet potato - nice when cut into wedges and roasted.
Hangi meat - delicious.