Sometimes you just have to be a tourist and do touristy things. This was a touristy thing. Mataki Maori Village recreates a bit of native culture, from the choice of a chief for our group, his acceptance into the village (including us, his villagers), and moving from hut to hut to learn about bits of Maori practices.
First up, the chief “asked” me to volunteer to learn the poi balls, used many years ago by Maori to increase agility and strength. Now used mostly by women in dances.
We moved from hut to hut, learning about rhythm, strength, and culture-passing traditions.
We were starving, ready for the “hangi” but first, a show. . .
Finally. . .at 9 pm. It was time to unearth the meal which had been cooking in a pit for about 3 hours. Can we pull–eeeeaaasseee EAT!?
The “hangi”—Chicken, lamb, potatoes, carrots, bread, sweet potatoes. . .before we knew it we were in the lodge, eating , listening to stories,and singing.
On the coach ride back to our hotel our host asked for singers to share national songs. We heard from China, the Czech Republic, and then the US. Don stood up and said, “Would you please all join me in singing Happy Birthday to my wife of 46 years?!” OMG. ..we heard Happy Birhday in English, Czech, Chinese, and Maori. Unforgettable.
A delightful evening!