New Zealand Day Fourteen: On To The North Island. Rotorua And A Heartwarming Maori Welcome.
I was up at 4 a.m. on my last day in Dunedin and the South Island. I like to arrive early at an airport for my flights, just in case there is traffic or a line at check in. This wasn’t a problem in the Dunedin airport. I arrived around 5 a.m. for my 6:20 a.m. flight. It is not a large airport but I expected at least some lines. None. The airport was empty. I passed right through security. Not a person at my gate. I had to find someone at another gate to assure me I was in the right place.
Around 6 a.m. folks started to show up, as well as the captain and flight crew. We were efficiently boarded and soon on our way as the sun rose in the eastern skies.
It was a short 1 1/2 hour flight to Wellington. There was only a 1 hour layover. It was enough time to quickly explore the airport and the many exhibits, pictures and displays depicting New Zealand culture. We were also entertained with a group performing native Maori dances. Here is a link to a video of the group. Maori performance.
We boarded our small aircraft and were soon off for another short 1 hour flight to Rotorua.
I enjoyed the views from my plane. We were soon on the ground the Rotorua airport. I hired a taxi to drive me the 20 minutes to my hotel, the Holiday Inn. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my airplane flight. New Zealand Day 14 Dunedin to Rotorua flight February 19 2019.
I soon learned that Rotorua is an active thermal area. Upon leaving my taxi at the hotel the air smelled like rotten eggs. This is from the many vents, geysers and mud pits spewing sulfuric acid into the air.
It was near noon when I arrived. I was told my room wouldn’t be ready until 3 p.m. The woman at the desk was very helpful in advising me what to do and see in Rotorua. She suggested visiting one of the Maori villages. She also suggested I book a tour to the Tamaki Maori Village for their evening show. I am so glad I listened to her advice.
I was soon off to the Te Puia Maori Village about 1/2 mile from my hotel. Admission to the village included many cultural exhibits, shows and craft displays. It also allowed access to the large wooded area filled with geysers, bubbling mud pits, and pools of boiling water. I decided to join a guided tour.
We were first introduced to the many Maori deities, I photographed all of the principal gods ,
including the information that was provided about them.
We were told about some of the Maori creation stories and the demi-god Maui, made famous in the recent Disney movie Moana.
We next visited the arts and crafts exhibits. There were actual craftsman producing traditional Maori clothes, art, wood sculptures and jewelry.
It was a very informative tour. We next walked to the large geysers that are located in the middle of the village, including the Pohutu Geyser, the largest geyser in the Southern Hemisphere.
There were large crowds of tourists watching the spectacular plumes of water spewed by the geysers.
When the tour ended I walked to a the marae, a traditional gathering place for a traditional Maori cultural performance.
Here I viewed a number of performances including a Maori greeting ceremony, a traditional haka and other dances. Here is a video link to one of these performances. More performances can be seen on my Youtube channel.
I was moved by the beauty of these strange and exotic, to me, performances. Here is a link to a gallery of photos from my cultural tour. New Zealand Day Fourteen. Rotorua. Te Puia Culture tour. February 19 2019.
After leaving the cultural center I left the large crowd of people and wandered off through the large tract geothermal woodlands in the village.
It was a lot warmer in the North Island. Temperatures were in the 80’s and the sun much more intense. I didn’t have a hat and, since I just left my luggage at the hotel, did not have any sunscreen on. My bald head was not enjoying the intense late Summer sun.
I walked past boiling mud pits and pools of water, vents spewed smoke and the air smelled of sulfur. The intense sun and hot temperatures made it feel like I was walking in hell. Well maybe not that bad the scenery actually was very beautiful.
I roamed the paths and trails and made my way back to the geysers where I again spent some time watching them erupt, spraying a cool and refreshing mist into the hot air.
It was getting very hot, and I was hungry, so I decided to return to my hotel. I had a quick late lunch and checked into my room. I loved the view of the steam from the geysers which are just about everywhere in this active geothermal region. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from the Te Puia Village. New Zealand Day Fourteen: Rotorua Te Puia Walk February 19 2019.
Once again I didn’t have much time to enjoy the view from my room. I was going to spend the evening enjoying another Maori cultural at the Tamaki Maori Village.
He waka eke noa A canoe which we are all in with no exception