So Tom and I got back from my birthday weekend away a couple of days ago. Things have been so hectic I've only just had the time to sit down a write this post! We spent the weekend in Rotorua and Taupo mainly. We had a fantastic time and I have tons of photos to share with you. I think this is going to be a pretty long post, so what I'll do is I'll split it into a few posts and maybe spread them over a couple of days or so if they are quite long... Don't want you falling asleep on me!!
17th April 2014
Tom and I set off from the lodge that we work at in Tairua. The weather was awful - extremely heavy rain! There was rock debris on the roads in some places as we left the Coromandel where rocks had fallen from the cliff sides on either side of the road, quite a few drivers didn't have their lights on and it was a bit concerning. So when we eventually arrived in Rotorua late afternoon, far later than we had planned, we decided to find a campsite for the night.
While searching we came across a really quiet, secluded little boating lake with ducks and other bird life. The toilets were proper toilets (not holes in the ground!) and there was a working BBQ shelter. There was no one else there except us, until really late at night when a campervan appeared at the other end, which we didn't mind at all. We enjoyed NZ's equivalent to Pot Noodle and went to bed nice and early.
18th April 2014
Waking up bright and early the following morning to only a light drizzle, Tom and I got washed, dressed and soon found ourselves back in the main town of Rotorua at the I-Site looking for activities to do for the weekend. Since it was my birthday I wanted heaps of excitement and a mixture of activities. We've both wanted to see a traditional Maouri culture ceremony since arriving in NZ and found Te Puia. This place was excellent! Here we watched the Maouri ceremony. Their outfits were gorgeous - particularly the women's and their singing voices were excellent! They even made us get up on stage so they could teach us some of their dance moves.
After this we met up with our tour guide, Carl, who showed us around the Kiwi House, Getsers and Mud Pools. I couldn't get any photos of the Kiwi bird unfortunately as it is protected and the flashes on cameras (since they live in the dark) has been known to kill them, so I didn't want to be responsible for that! But I did get photos of the natural geysers and mud pools, which we were lucky enough to see in action.
Next, Carl gave us a small but interesting talk on how to weave with reads. You take a long read and a sharp shell, shaving the flax off the top of the reed you then strip into fine section almost like breaking down a clump of threads into singular threads. Next you take your leg and roll the sections over it until it forms a strong, binded sort of string. It's silky to touch and is pretty impossible to break with just human strength.
These skirts were made using this method and can several months or years to complete. In more traditional Mapuri clothing, the reeds would be preserved and dried for many years before they can be used to make clothing, which would then take even longer!
Carl was making a cloak in traditional Maouri weaving methods, unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo but it was about half way to three quarters complete. He said so far it had taken him 31 years to get this far and that's with using commercially provided threads so that he didn't have to wait for them to dry!!
More on my birthday weekend tomorrow folks and I hope you all had a fantastic Easter!