Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rotorua Adventures

Hello from Rotorua! Monday, we went to Te Puia, a Maori cultural center near the thermal hotsprings and geysers. We went to a welcome at the marae (special meetinghouse). Dr. Jacobs was appointed our tour group's chief. He had to walk out and meet one of the Maori warriors and prove that we came in peace. Since the girls and I were with "Chief Jim" we got to go into the marae first. But there were a bunch of Asian tourists behind us and they kept pushing and elbowing to get in ahead of us. The woman leading us in kept telling everyone to wait and that only our group was to come forward first. But they wouldn't listen! The marae and these types of ceremonial performances are very sacred parts of the Maori culture. Tradition and as part of respect, you are supposed to be silent going in to the marae and men only sit in the front row. Some of these Asians refused to respect these rules/traditions. All they cared about was getting a good seat so they could get good pictures taken. It's so disrespectful and annoying when people completely disregard other people's cultures. When we got inside the marae we got to see a few Maori dances. Chief Jim went up and took part in a hongi with the performers.
Performing the traditional hongi.
Standing in front of the geysers.
Me, Janet, Whitney, and Heidi

Me and Katie in a traditional Maori hut.

Me and Nicole
I proposed to Diana at the Blue Lake. :)
Having too much fun in the van. :)

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