Anne here . . .
Wednesday 23rd April
I felt a bit unsure about going to a Maori cultural show in case it was a bit patronising but the Whakarewarewa Maori Living Village in Rotorua is a fantastic introduction to the Maori culture. The village has about 25 to 30 Maori families living on the site. Parts of the village are a bit scruffy but the Maori guide, Manawa, was excellent, with fascinating anecdotes and lots of information about the history of the eight Maori tribes and their customs. We had a traditional hangi pie lunch in the village cafe. Then we watched a Maori performance, including audience participation and the Haka.
The Maori chose this place for the village because of the geothermal pools. Our lunch was geothermally steamed in a oven box in the ground. The villagers have steaming hot water for all their washing, heating and cooking needs.
Even after two days, I am still totally amazed by the steaming pools, geysers, mud holes and craters in the ground. The local park in Rotorua has areas fenced off because of huge steam plumes coming out of the ground.
We ended the day with a ride on the Sky Gondola with fantastic views over Rotorua and Lake Rotorua. Followed by another spa bath under the stars!