Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mt. Maunganui, Rotarua and the Maori

Our next stop was Mount Maunganui which once again has a stunning harbor but is also home to the annual New Zealand national surfing championship.

Nearby Tauranga is the Kiwi capital of New Zealand and orchards are virtually everywhere.
Then we rode to the very popular town of Rotorua. 
Rotorua is known for its geysers, hot springs and thermal baths.  The steaming mud can be seen all over the area.

About 35% of the indigenous Maori people live in the are and their influence is felt throughout the city.  That is why we visited the area, to experience the Maori culture.
The Maori have their own culture, language and meeting houses but they also provide entertainment for visiting tourists.  They have set up an example of how a Maori village would historically have appeared.  They wear native dress and provide demonstrations.
Their villages would have been nestled in the forest.
Dressed in traditional clothes, they provided demonstrations that reflected their way of life.

They prepared us a traditional Maori feast preparing it by cooking it in the ground in the traditional manner.  But before we ate they entertained us with traditional music and dancing.

Apparently making faces was a way to frighten the enemy and frankly this guy gave me the creeps.

They were very gracious people very eager to make us happy and we thoroughly enjoyed their hospitality.
On our way we home we saw the lake that gives Rotorua its name, Lake Rotorua.







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