I won’t remember this country only for it’s wonderful landscapes, surrounded by indescribable nature, by a call to the adventure that I impressed me from the first day, by it’s friendly people that I met in every corner. I will remember New Zealand by the beautiful culture, by that meeting with their indigenous people who forged a tradition that still lingers, I will remember it by this beautiful encounter with their Maori Culture.
I was in Tamaki Maori Village, located in Rotorua town in the North Island of the country. I was looking forward to this great meeting. The others travellers and I got off the bus and we were organizing to start this important ceremony. Three men from the public were choosen (in maori those guys are called Pahekas) and those who were commissioned to represent us from the tribe in the ceremony called Te Wero in Maori, that is conformed by songs and exceptional dances and it finishes with a movement where the pahekas are responsible for collecting a fern (ancestral symbol of it’s culture) as a sign of welcome and rubbing their noses as peaceful greeting and that grants us permission to enter to their temple.
Their Haka performance impressed me, it’s a traditional dance movements and maori words, which show the strength of his men, and is used by the All Blacks, the players of rugby at the beginning of each game as a war dance.
We finally entered the Marae (maori Temple) to start the great feast that awaited us. Some Maori were around some strange holes in the ground, which is their traditional way to cook called Hangi, a delicious dish is comprised of beef, pork, chicken, potatoes and kumeras (sweet potatoes). This food is cooked in the ground, and that is the reason why its flavor is unique. I didn’t wait! I just flung to the delicious banquet which also included pavlova, one of their desserts more renowned and typical in regions such as New Zealand and Australia.
An exquisite banquet and it was very enjoyable thanks to the company of a couple of Australian grandparents, who also shared me some of their traditions, the beautiful thing that’s life when you have the opportunity to travel, love and respect as a couple and even ended up with a friendly invitation to his country.
The evening finished with a traditional maori song, shared by some women of the tribe, showing gratitude and tribute to this culture that is a legacy that still endures and that is displays of national pride.