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its a long, long drive!


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Today we had an early start, but not before we had breakfast of course and I was happy to see that there was a bit of everything to go around and unlike dinner yesterday, this brekkie was more than okay.

As soon as all of our bags were packed, we were more than eager to leave the Bay of islands behind us and see a little bit more of the North Island, something you can't do without a whole lot of driving … or in other words, Craig our bus driver was going to do a lot of work today. We only had to enjoy the more than beautiful sceneries.

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Me and Tania had the best seats of the day coz we were in front and this meant that we could make some great pictures from time to time. At least that was my intention coz I guess I slept more than that I was awake, but not that it bothered me much, this way the time went by very fast.

At about 12 AM we arrived back in the city of sails a.k.a. Auckland, where we said goodbye to half of our group. Their tour came to an end and another 15 people were going to join us here. Sounds a little bit exciting not!?

There was still a bit of time for us to go and grab some lunch and about an hour later we were back on the bus and met up with our new group members. By the time that we left the city, we all got to introduce ourselves and tell something funny as well. This kind of bonding game really worked and in no-time people were chatting through the bus and for some odd reason it felt like we knew each other for quite a while now although it only has been less than a few hours for a few of us.

While we introduced ourselves, I noticed that the majority of our group lived in Australia. Not that big of a surprise really since it isn’t that far away, but somehow I was surprised to hear how little Europeans there were in our group. I thought we could have done better.

As we go further down the highway, Helen, our guide, gives us more information about our special overnight this evening.

Tonight we are going to stay with a Maori family who have their own Marae and in order to learn a bit more about their habits and cultures, we need to learn a particular song. Me and singing ??? Is there alcohol involved ???

It seems that we can't get out of it. If we want to stay at their home, we've got to sing! Luckily we are with about 33 people so, nobody is going to hear my squeaky voice coz I am going into silent mode! :)

Our song is going to be the following : Oma rapeti, oma rapeti, oma oma oma (twice), pako pako pako, miss!, went the farmer’s gun. I know this sounds so strange but it has something to do with shooting a bunny and we missed it and it lives on, looking at it from the bright side of life, at least we know Maori language, how cool is that!

But still, we are a few hours away from arriving at the scene and during that time, Craig and Helen are really making sure we know our song from the heart. 

When we enter the town of Matamata, we know that we aren’t far away from our arrival, but before we say "hi" to our Moari family, we first make a short stop in this little sleepy town which became famous overnight because of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

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There is not all that much to see in this very small town except for the tourist information centre and the welcome sign of the town itself. They are really beautiful and just looking at it, makes me feel like I am in Hobbiton, but still, those hobbits were nowhere to be found. It seemed they all fled out of the country!!!???

Half an hour later, we are on the move again and all anxiously looking forward to meeting the Moari family.

As we arrive on the scene so to speak, we first have to do a little ceremony, which Craig explained to us earlier during the day. The Maori people value their heritage and also their culture, so who are we to disagree. This is their culture and we have to respect it.

Us girls form one big group and the 2 guys and Craig stand behind us. They are supposed to protect us and I am just so glad this ceremony is symbolic coz if these 3 actually had to protect us for real, we were as good as dead. Okay, think positive Ils!

When we are all ready for the ceremony, a woman comes out of the Marae and starts chanting words. While this is going on, we slowly walk forwards till we reach the building and since it isn't allowed to walk inside with shoes, we left them outside at the entrance of the door.

Once we are welcomed inside, we take place on the seats and listen to the head of the family saying some words in Maori to protect us and then it is time for us all to perform.

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Now that we are here in the building, it sounds even beter than during our rehearsal on the bus, it's really mind boggling. It even gives me goosebumps and I am sure higher spirits are present here at this moment, but that's just me!

When we finally say „Hi” in Maori with shaking hands and in the meantime pressing our noses and foreheads together, we can all relax and enjoy our stay here on the Marae. It seems we are now welcomed into the family and what better way to celebrate this than with some snacks and tea. An hour later, we even enjoy an abundant dinner with the rest of the family.

As soon as dinner is over and the dishes done, there is also some time for life entertainment. The family had prepared a few songs for us and while the men performed their famous „haka”, the woman did the same with the „poi”. 

The coolest part comes about a few minutes later when we are going to perform our own poi and the men in our group our going to show us their haka. I have to admit that the poi was funny and the Maori songs are really beautiful, but our 2 men really sucked at their haka, they clearly need to practise more when it concerns the "scary look" part.

All in all we had a great evening and as soon as we all got prepared for going to bed, it looked a bit like camping out. All 33 of us staying in the marae is just so funny, but at the same time an unique experience.

While a few of us were already sound asleep, the Maori woman (of which I sadly enough forgot the name) and wife of the leader of the family, came along and did some storytelling. It was a great way to learn a bit more of the culture and traditions, but at one given point I was really tired myself and I just crawled a little bit deeper into my sleeping bag and closed my eyes.

Posted by Ils1976 02:29 Archived in New Zealand Tagged landscapes trees boats road_trip native tour sightseeing group oceania

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Comments

Sounds like a wonderful experience visiting the Maori family and learning more about their traditions!

by ToonSarah

it sure was, we took a lot of pictures, but they asked us not to place them on internet because of their believes and I stick to that. I liked them very much and I really loved their way of living, their believes, ...

by Ils1976

It's interesting that they let you take the photos but not put them on the internet, but it's good that you're respecting their wishes, interested as I would have been to see them - good for you!

by ToonSarah

nope, they specifically asked for it. They weren't keen on pictures, but if you liked to have a few, you could take them. Not many people did to be honest!

by Ils1976

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