A comment made on the previous post reminded me of a comical conversation started up with a group of American school teachers when my husband and I first travelled through Europe on a 28 day tour, some 25 years ago. They were fascinated to hear we were from New Zealand and asked me to tell them something about my country. Although they were going to be discussing New Zealand in there next term they knew very little about this country, its people and culture. I was sitting in the bus at the time with a pair of healed open toed wedge slip ons and one of the teachers asked me if my feet were sore being in shoes all day, as I would not be used to it. I smiled to myself and wondered if she thought I wore bare feet and a grass skirt when I was back home.
I have learnt, wherever I go people tell me I have this unusual accent (to me I don’t think I have an accent). I do know that New Zealanders’ have a habit of finishing there sentences often with a question….. The word “aye”, pronounced as a long A sound, like cave. It’s more a way of getting confirmation, rather than a question, making sure the person is with us, and understands what we are saying. Being able to catch this habit is like getting into the feel of New Zealand way of life. As they say, when in New Zealand do as the kiwis do….. Well, almost.!
You might need to get your pens out as you will be learning a few Maori words today.
Let’s head north. At the tip of the country is Cape Reinga. I have been here a couple of times, a 5 hour drive from our city north, and 100km north of the nearest small town, Kaitaia, it is a windy place also known as Te Rerenga Wairua in Maori, meaning jump off place, where it is believed the spirits of the dead jump off to enter the afterlife. It is where the two seas, the Tasman and the Pacific Ocean meet and at times huge waves can be seen crashing into each other, and as you look out at the vast sea before you there is a feeling you are on the edge of the world.
On the west heading back is the ninety mile beach which has become a well known tourist attraction and buses and cars sometimes use this to reach Cape Reinga. Heading down the eastern side pass the world famous (only in NZ), Fish and Chip restaurant perched on the shore at Mangonui, and take it from me they are the best ever. Found anywhere in New Zealand, our prices are ridiculously low for this iconic kiwiana takeaway. We head on down to the fabulous Bay of Islands full of rich history, and natural wonders. Entering first into Kerikeri a small town my husband and I love to spend time in, most summers, visiting cafes, vinyards and roadside fresh produce stores and divine chocolates. Drive past NZ’s oldest Stone Store and visit Rewa Village. Click on the following website I found for you, scroll down and watch the video and enjoy this idyllic place.
The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February in 1840 between the Maori and European ancestry New Zealanders known as Pakeha (of which my husband and I are) and celebrated every year throughout New Zealand as a National Holiday. Waitangi is steeped in history and one can enjoy wandering around the public grounds, visit the Treaty house and forest walk. If lucky enough to be here during the celebrations one can watch the welcome on to the Marae (a sacred place for religious and social gatherings) hear speeches from the local iwi (people/tribe) and these are always accompanied by song and dance. Waka’s (beautifully carved canoes) bring some of the dignitaries to shore rein acting the first white people to NZ. The Haka (Maori dance,) normally associated as being a war dance to show power, or performed at sport venues to unnerve their opposition, different Haka’s are also performed as a welcome to heads of state and other important people. Here is another lovely website *Trip Advisor* providing some beautiful pictures..
Nearby is Paihia and Russell, wonderful tourist locations with lots to do for the adventurous.
I thought I would finish this post of with a look at some Maori dancers performing some Haka’s.