Day 259 on the Road
Authentic Maori Experience on the North Island
Today we are joining Waimarama Maori Tours for a unique insight into the Maori culture. If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities then take a look at our awesome YouTube Channel. Yes, we said it, it’s awesome!
Today we are joining a genuine Maori Tour.
This morning we are leaving the Archie’s Bunker in Napier, that’s the hostel that we are staying at during our exploration of the area and we are heading to the township of Waimarama where we are waiting for our tour guide.
We are joining Robert from Waimarama Maori Tours to have a real authentic Maori experience in the Hawke’s Bay area. The first place we’re stopping at the Waimarama Beach where he’s telling us more about the tribes of the Hawke’s Bay area and how diverse they are.
You came from Napier right? Coming from Napier you would have came through almost 18-20 different tribal areas. You know what I mean so that just shows you the diversity that we’re talking about.
Our first stop today is Waimarama Beach where Robert’s ancestors landed over 800 years ago when they sailed all the way from the Polynesian islands. I have a lot of questions about this big trip including how do they get water?
When you think about it, freeze water, but they would have relied heavily I’m sure on the rain capturing the rain fresh water and things like that.
And I keep on asking Robert heaps of questions and he has a ton of specific answers for me which makes me wander how does he know all that despite the fact that Maori don’t have a written history and the answer is pretty simple. It’s all the stories that you’ve been told as a kid. All those Maori legends have been passed on from generation to generation and there is also a lot of clues that can be found on Maori carvings.
But we are already moving onto the next destination of our tour which is the Hakikino pa site. It’s a 15th century pa site and Robert explains to us that before we are stepping onto this sacred ground he needs to do a powhiri.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the prime minister or the Queen of England or whether it’s just you two, we have to make it safe and that’s what a powhiri does. Do you know what I mean? All of these places for us and our people here we’re still fairly basic in belief that we have to make sure that the spiritual guardians know who you are and why you are here.
As we make our way to the entrance of the pa site, Robert shows us a cabbage tree otherwise known as a kauka in the Maori and this was one of the early food sources for the Maori.
Take a little…. It’s not a nice taste but it’s a bearable taste.
It’s actually bearable.
It’s actually not that terrible.
We then move onto the resting area of the pa site where Robert is performing the powhiri which is a traditional welcoming ceremony in Maori. And he is giving a speech int he Maori language to his ancestors basically welcoming us onto the land. Robin gives his speech to represent our little tribe here and then we become reunited both sitting on the same side of the resting area where Robert is telling us some more stories and legends surrounding his tribe.
He also tells us exactly what is a pa site and a pa site is a traditional fortified Maori village and this pa site is particularly beautiful surrounded by forest with lots of birds as you can see by that feather I was holding and we even spot the rare New Zealand falcon.
After doing a beautiful bush walk we arrive in an area with tall fences and beautiful Maori carvings which depict ancestors and are used to tell stories about the old days. And Robert is telling us more about the area including a platform where they used to fly kites to communicate with other people around the area. That is something we had no idea about!
As we are sitting right here in front of those beautiful carvings listening to Robert’s stories he’s telling us all about what usually the legends are about and it’s always a love story because it’s always a love story. There’s always a girl.
We then move onto the tuna which is the Maori word for eels. Eels were very important food source for early Maori because that was basically their main source of protein. It’s also a delicacy. It tastes absolutely different than anything you’ve tried especially cooked by a chief.
So now we’re moving onto the Marae.
But before we move onto the Marae Robert takes the time to take us through the etiquette on how to behave when visiting a living marae. Because yes, this time w’ere going to be visiting a living one, people are studying, working and living in this place.
We finally arrive to the marae which is a Maori meeting place and it looks absolutely stunning. There are paintings everywhere from local artists and each of those paintings have their own story including one that we know.
What was interesting is that the hawk that you saw up there that’s her animal guardian so you saw one of the guardians around.
We see more amazing and vibrant paintings around the marae but these are not the only paintings we’re going to be checking out because our final destination today is at Robert’s house where he has an amazing display of his ancestors portraits and this just goes to show how important ancestry is in the Maori culture. It really shows an in-depth history.
And the tour ends like every great tour should end with some kawakawa tea which is a native plant that Robin munched on in the Abel Tasman National Park.
Kawakawa – don’t munch on it make a tea.
This tour was absolutely awesome we learned so much. but moving on from hanging out with locals we’re going to be hanging out with even more locals. We are meeting up with some friends which are living in Napier and we’re asking them to take us to the best place to watch the sunset. However, it’s really cloudy today so we end up going to the bar and you know what that means. We drinking a little too much we are bantering a little too much and we’re having an awesome evening.
It’s pretty slow. How slow is it Simon?
It’s quite slow.
On a scale of one to pretty, how slow is it?
Probably a 6.3.
6.3 pretty slow.
Slow. Definitely slow. It just keeps on going and going. Not that it’s long train but it is a very slow one.