Spa and Maori culture

So – Rotorua – geothermal activity. Day two was time to get up close and personal. After a walk around town to get our bearings we headed for the Polynesian spa. Two different springs feed the spa – one on the acid side of ph, the other on the alkaline. Jay from our group had gone zip-lining, but the rest of us met up at the spa. Wilf and the ladeees, taking the waters. It was very nice – we could drift from pool to pool and then have time outs on the heated loungers. By early afternoon the bus tours were beginning to arrive, which was a good time for us to move on. That and we were getting rather pruney.

Wilf enjoys the acid pool,

And over in the very hot alkaline bath…

The Maori iwi (tribes) in the Rotorua area have cultural events that are available to the public. We went to visit Te Puia, just outside the city in a valley filled with geothermal features. Our tour of the very impressive facility started with a walk through their school dedicated to traditional Maori arts beautiful work, both traditional and modern.

There is a spectacular geyser in the valley, that erupts very regularly.

When the little spout to the left starts to go that means the big one is imminent.

Like that!

We also enjoyed a traditional welcome ceremony in the long house, followed by a delicious dinner. Part of our diner was cooked in a covered pit, using steam from the ground. After dinner we returned to the geyser to drink hot chocolate while sitting on the heated rocks. They geyser was lit up, making the night time eruption even more spectacular.

I can’t find a decent night time picture, so here’s the long view of the valley.

Everything about the visit was first rate. And everyone we met was effusive in their thanks for our visiting. ‘Your visit to our land makes it possible for our culture to survive. Your admission makes jobs in this facility, and allows us to fund our school. This would not happen without you.’ The story of the first peoples here and their interaction with colonial forces is different than how it played out in Australia, Canada and the US, thought here are many common themes. And not all Maori are prospering. But this seemed to be an example of an iwi who had taken control of their situation and who are determining their path forward.

So much to learn…

Author: Sharon

I like to make things. I like to travel. I like to talk about what I'm up to.

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