Well today has been a great experience, we were first taken down to Gavin’s calves and steer. We went on the quad bike and fed them. We got a bit muddy but it was all good fun. After we headed out to a Marae (which is a traditional centre where the Maori gather) we met George (his English name) and his wife, who gave us a talk and introduced us to a small part of Maori culture and tradition. The way you are introduced and welcomed into the Marae was very special as we are sung in by the women of the tribe through the gateway that leads up to the hall.
On the outside of the hall are all intricate carvings that represent the original ancestors of the sub tribe the Manumanu (I sincerely apologise for the horrible misspelling). We were greeted into the hall by the traditional welcome of leaning in heads and touching noses while saying ‘kia ora’. We were also sung a song of welcome as we had sat down in the hall. George also told us about the history of the tribe and how they can trace back their ancestry. Also how as a sign of respect they have to know how they are linked to all the other tribes all the way back to the 9 great canoes.
All of the carvings at the back of the hall represent the ancestors that died before the construction of the Marae and at the front of the hall were the relatives that were still alive during the construction. The hall is built to represent the body with the arms over the entrance and the spine of the roof and the spine of the body.
It was a once in a life time experience to be taught about the tribe and Maori culture as very few people are given such a detailed and broad talk about it all. We felt very honoured to be welcomed in as this is a special place and not commercial like other sites and shows that there are in New Zealand, of course no disrespect to them at all.
We also learnt about the Maori words whakapapa (pronounced fuckapaka) and Whanau (pronounced Farnow) which are genealogy and family respectively.
Gavin also took us over to the old Coach House Museum which has some of our ancestors pictures in it.
Then headed over to Palmerston North where a new interactive Rugby museum has just opened, it was really interesting to see how quickly the sport spread across New Zealand and see old relics from the whole history of rugby.
Finally we all headed out to a small Irish pub in Feilding which was sporting its deal of the day.... ‘Steak night!!!’ Needless to say we all had that!
After all this we were all shattered or Puckarooed!! (as Gavin likes to say)
This is me signing off...J