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.
Thoroughly enjoyed your post. New Zealand looks beautiful and is steeped in history. I can imagine the power of standing at the edge of the Te Rerenga Wairua in Maori and watching the Tasman and Pacific Ocean meet is quite a turbulent site. Thanks for including the website on Kerikeri along with the video of the the area. Gave me a better sense of what you were describing. And, I loved the Maori dancers — was that a ceremonial dance or war dance? Very different and fun to watch. Okay you have me intrigued. Would love to visit you down under and be a kiwi for a short while. You will be entering spring abound November. Do you have snow and ice. How cold does it get. I always think of your living in a warm climate. Lovely post!
I love your comments Pat,…LOL. You are so eager to learn more, I am delighted.
In the winter it is cold enough near the north to think it could snow but it is only in thought. Yes its winter at the moment and snow is about 4 hours south from my city. We don’t in the northern area here get nearly as cold as say America or Europe during there winters.
Glad you like the video clips. This Maori dance was new to me, a type of war dance, but these days they are put on for show or run competitions between schools, clubs etc. They are always lovely to watch.
Okay when is summer there? Because I have to put New Zealand on my Travel list! It sounds beautiful! Nice to meet you patientdreamer! Thanks for coming by! great blog.
So pleased that you are enjoying this post, Cynthia, stay tunned because there is more coming.
Summer here is December through to March usually with warm temperatures in some southern parts as high as 30degC and low of 23degC. Hope you do pop down our way soon.