Thursday, March 25, 2010


Hope you have enjoyed the Trip!

We will be returning the van to the rental agency tomorrow morning. The drive from Lake Taupo was a breeze, comparatively.

The scheduled activities from the previous day had left us more than a little exhausted.

It all began with the walk to Haku Falls. The girl at the desk gave us a sketchy map, with little direction. Off we went before noon, on this supposedly easy leisure walk to see a waterfall. At that point in time, we had three choices: 1. We could walk from the caravan park to the entrance to the Falls, then do the walk. 2. We could drive to the entrance, then walk. 3. We could drive through the town, about three kilometres, and end up about 20 metres from the Falls. We were not aware of option 3 at the beginning.

In total, the walk was likely eight to ten kilometeres. We were fine for the first half hour, until it started to pour. Then we began to climb, perhaps two hundred metres, then descend to the river bank. We repeated that process several times. By the time we got to the Falls, we were wiped. I saw several people there, far more than could be accounted for by the number of cars at the start.

It`was then that I realized most of the people had`driven to the Falls. It was devestating. We realized, of course, that we had to retrace our steps. The only consolation was that we recognized that our hearts could take such a beating. The legs, the hips, the mind, the breathing apparatus: all pretty well euchred. In all, about three hours of pretty gruelling work.

An hour in the hot tub, several peanut butter and jam sandwiches and a Coke, and we were ready to go to the evening Maori show.

These occasions give one the opportunity to witness customs and habits, in a relatively short period of time.

In a nutshell, almost fifty years ago, the thermal energy plant was activated about two kilometres from the site of the tribe. It completely changed the nature of the tribe, as they depended on the thermals for their lifestyle: cooking, bathing, what have you. Ten years ago, the company drilled a hole "3.8 kilometres deep", according to our guide, on the tribal site. As a result, the terraces have reformed, from the geysers, and the tribe has revived some of its activities. Their history is an oral one, covering the eight hundred years that they have been in New Zealand.

They have preserved their history through song, and through traditional carving. Tatoos are also important to the Maori. They always challenge newcomers, through a delightful dance called the "Haka". The All Blacks rugby team performs the activity before each game. You will catch it as they host the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

Following a trip around the village, we were entertained and fed in a reception area. The song and dance routines are quite special, with fine harmony, twitching hands, bugging eyes, and intimidating shouts. The males are scantily clad, capturing Joanne's intense interest.

Highly recommended at just a little less than a hundred bucks a pop.

A couple of days in Auckland, then off to Canada. Cheerio!

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