A significant part of New Zealand’s culture is influenced by the Maori civilization, the indigenous population of New Zealand. The culture was apparent when the airport had two languages displaying on all signs, especially the phrase “Kia Ora”, which means “hi” or “be well”. We decided to learn about the Maori culture and visited one of their villages in Rotorua. In addition, Rotorua is also famous for its geothermal activity and features several geysers. The same village that we visited had geysers in their village centre. The full name of the village is “Tewhakarewarewatanaoteopetauaawahiao”. In our tour, we were forced to pronounce the full name of the village.
The smell of sulfur was strong even miles away from the village.
Mud pools were also quite apparent in this village.
In the village, we were entertained by a Maori cultural show with demonstration on how to make a Maori skirt and tribal songs.
A very important gesture of the Maori culture is called “Haka”. Haka is a traditional ancestral war cry from the Maori people to scare the enemies away. The gesture includes facial contortions such as enlarging the eyes and sticking out the longue. This gesture became well-known when New Zealand sports team, notably the All Blacks of rugby, performed hakas before their international matches.
Here is a great article about it published by QZ:
Afterwards, we had local Maori food, Hangi Pie, for lunch.
After lunch, we had our tour guide walked us around the village. On that day, the weather was cold and windy. However, when the tour guide asked us to sit on the ground, it was surprisingly warm due to the geothermal heat.
After our Maori village tour, we drove for 15 min to participate in an OGO ball run. An OGO ball is a massive giant ball that can fit multiple people inside and it is supposed to roll down a hill to create a thrilling experience.
Unfortunately, due to strong wind (60 km/h), the operator would not allow us to go on the OGO ball due to its dangerous risk. Feeling disappointed, we decided to take a selfie picture of the OGO ball anyway.
Before I drove south for 6 hours to reach Wellington, I decided to have a picture taken with the rental car.
During our long car ride, Catherine decided to make it more fun by taking random pictures and videos.