After the Maori performances we took a guided tour through the hot springs and geysers. Some of the geysers spitting up water were pretty high, but I don't think they were as big as Old Faithful. And oh the sulfur smell! I am still a little skeptical that our tour guide said he can't smell the rotten egg smell. We also got to see a real life kiwi! They had one in a dark, quiet habitat. I didn't know they are nocturnal birds! Apparently they are very endangered. I'm glad I got to see New Zealand's national bird.The rest of the day was spent driving up in the mountains/jungle. We drove to two lakes: the Blue Lake and Green Lake, and enjoyed taking in the always breathtaking scenery. Chief Jim
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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.