Although there were only two more days left of our trip, the adventure doesn’t end quite yet! The bus rides were much shorter on the North Island and after about an hour or so, we went from Taupo (where I did my skydiving) to Rotorua! This is where we discover the rumored smell (truth) of rotten eggs and heat. It wasn’t really a rumor–it was fact. I think I singed some nose hairs from the fumes…
Either way, we were determined to learn about Maori culture as it is so prevalent in New Zealand. I honestly have never heard about Maori people or culture until I arrived in New Zealand, so it was the perfect time to partake in the Maori Cultural Night! At first, we were instructed to be very still and quiet when the opening begins. There are some ritual practices done including dancing, chanting, movements, and a nose-to-nose contact. It was very interesting to see how the Maori people interact with each other. After the opening, we were able to go inside the village and visit each ‘station’ where there are activities with cultural explanations. Some of the activities were simply games whereas others were cultural explorations, such as the marking of the face. The markings resemble status of an individual’s lifetime. It can be viewed as a resume and sometimes, there are Maori people that get these markings tattooed!
After visiting several stations and learning about Maori culture more in depth, we were directed to a seating area. While seated, we were entertained by some lighthearted jokes and the fact that cooking is done underground! Well, this was definitely new to me. I was so excited to be eating dinner from this unique way of dining! After that, we went into a theater-like room where we were entertained once more with traditional chants and dances.
Once the traditional dancing and chants were over, we feasted like kings with all of the delicious food they had! It was a buffet of food (sorry for the lack of photos) and as a backpacker, this was the biggest meal I had on this trip! With a happy tummy, Diana and I left on the bus to be taken back to our hostel. We had a really cool experience learning about Maori culture (as Maori is spoken in New Zealand schools), language, traditions, music, and food!
The evening was wonderful and well worth our time. Luckily, we were able to spend our last few nights in a private hostel room, so again, princess status for the win! 😉 Our night was spent reading our books, packing and repacking, and planning out the very last bits of our trip. I couldn’t believe how quick the time had gone! Well, our adventure wasn’t over yet. Tomorrow would be a very exciting day as we were going to do one thing I wanted to do ever since coming to new Zealand… 🙂