24 March 2011
The steam is used by the locals as a heating source. The meeting hall in the Maori village was my first taste of their culture. I got some more of it that night when I went on a trip to Mitai village. John, our guide kept us entertained and claimed the Maoris had found New Zealand through astral travel. We had a tasty traditional ‘Hangi’ meal, cooked on hot stones in a hole in the ground. There were a lot of people sitting for the Hangi in a large marquee including an old running pal from Penicuik over in the far corner… fancy meeting you here!. After the Hangi we went for a walk in the bush and the Maoris re-enacted a canoe scene. Canoes are an important recurring theme in their culture and are called ‘Waka.’ The Maoris navigated from Polynesia to New Zealand in their “Wakas’ by the stars and the moon. I thought the ‘Haka’ was an intimidating display on the rugby field but the welcome ceremony is much higher on the scale. Luckily for us the Chief told us that they don’t eat whiteys any more, they go to McDonalds instead. He explained about the importance of the ancestors to the Maori people and told what all the tattoos on their faces stand for.