Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Snapshot

West Metro Mommy Reads

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy

We are back from our two months of travel in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. We picked up our car in LA this morning and are spending tonight in Las Vegas.

March 2015 - Rotorua New Zealand

Kia Ora or welcome!!!

I wrote about our amazing day in this town that culminated with this fabulous dinner. Click here to learn about the origins of this village.

We were intrigued by how much the Maori culture reminded us of our visits to Hawaii.

The North Island Māori experience in Rotorua, 'Journey of Ages', has been such a success that a South Island Māori experience has been created in Christchurch. The Christchurch experience is called 'Lost in Our Own Land', and is a standalone experience that captures a southern Māori experience.

The Tamaki brothers are in the process of creating a third Māori village in Auckland that will tell the story of 'The Arrival'.

Tamaki Heritage Group now has over 120 employees and an annual turnover of $12m. Bill, our driver, said everyone is related to everyone else.

Enroute to Tamaki Maori Village, nestled in the thick of an ancient Tawa forest, your guide will instruct you on the rules of entering a Marae and the protocol you must observe. The visiting tribe must appoint a Chief to accept the peace offering and to represent those on your coach. Representation of your group is considered an honourable task in Maoridom. As you make your way to the village, you’ll learn about the great Maori migration - when Maori journeyed across the vast ocean in massive Waka (canoes) to New Zealand. You’ll also enjoy some fascinating Maori legends and stories from our history.

Māori are the tangata whenua – the people of the land. In over 700 years of settlement, they have shown an extraordinary ability to adapt first to a new environment and then to the arrival of European immigrants and culture.

The Māori language is an official language of New Zealand, and in recent years has undergone a revival.

The women also greeted us.

We move on to the interactive displays. Here we are taught about their body designs.

Tā moko is the permanent body and face marking by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Traditionally it is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) rather than punctured. This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface.

Each moko contains ancestral tribal messages specific to the wearer. These messages tell the story of the wearer's family and tribal affiliations, and their place in these social structures.

A moko’s message also portrays the wearer’s genealogy, knowledge and social standing.

John, practicing his most menacing face for the male tribal dance.

Kapa haka is the term for Māori performing arts and literally means to form a line (kapa) and dance (haka). Kapa haka is an avenue for Maori people to express and showcase their heritage and cultural Polynesian identity through song and dance.

Kapa haka dates back to pre-European times where it developed from all traditional forms of Maori pastimes; haka, mau rakau (Maori weaponry), poi (ball attached to rope or string) and moteatea (traditional Maori songs). These everyday activities were influential to the development of kapa haka.

A kapa haka performance involves choral singing, dance and movements associated in the hand-to-hand combat practiced by Māori in mainly precolonial times, presented in a synchronisation of action, timing, posture, footwork and sound. The genre evolved out of a combination of European and Māori musical principles.

POI" is the Maori word for "ball" on a cord.
Wahine (female) dancers perform the Maori POI, a dance performed with balls attached to flax strings, swung rhythmically. Those pictured to the right are using short POI.
The POI dance was originally used by the Maori women for keeping their hands flexible for weaving and by the men for strength and coordination required during battle. POI are also used as a training aid for other ancient weapons like the Mere or Patu (Short club).

When Māori first arrived in Aotearoa, they encountered a climate that was extreme compared to their homelands in Polynesia. They adapted quickly by utilising their existing twining and weaving skills to produce korowai (cloaks) and other practical objects such as kete (baskets) and whāriki (mats). The most widely used weaving material was (and still is) harakeke - otherwise known as New Zealand flax.

Weaving is traditionally done by women and skilled weavers are prized within their tribes. 'Aitia te wahine o te pā harakeke' is a Māori proverb that translates to mean 'Marry the woman who is always at the flax bush, for she is an expert flax worker and an industrious person'.

Hāngi (Māori pronunciation: [ˈhaːŋi]) is a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven still used for special occasions.

To "lay a hāngi" or "put down a hāngi" involves digging a pit in the ground, heating stones in the pit with a large fire, placing baskets of food on top of the stones, and covering everything with earth for several hours before uncovering (or lifting) the hāngi.

Our dinner , lamb, potatoes and vegetables and chicken, absolutely delicious. Served with salads, fish, mussels and dessert.

We then proceed inside to a show while dinner was being prepared for serving.

All in all an amazing event to attend. We must say it was probably the best 


  1. I've seen these Maori cultural displays on documentaries... I'd love to see them in person! You've photographed them beautifully.

  2. WOW! What great memories of wonderful travels. I am just a wee bit jealous.. I love seeing all your photos as you travel the world. I can live vicariously through your blog. Thanks!

  3. Looks like you had a fabulous time there! I live up in Auckland, about four hours or so north, and I've visited Rotorua a few times but I have an allergy to the sulphur so it never ends well.

  4. Fascinating! What an amazing experience this must have been. A trip to New Zealand and Australia is on my list of must-do vacations.
    Sandy @ TEXAS TWANG

  5. Wow, this really looks fun!


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