That is the Maori greeting which means many different things. We learned that tonight at the Tamaki Maori Village. Each bus entering the site selected a chief. We were sitting behind the bus driver and I had to walk down the aisle and choose a chief. No one wanted to make eye contact with me. Just like school.
We gathered at the entrance to the village and the chiefs (one from each bus) had to stand together. The Maori warriors came out and issued a challenge. It was all quite impressive. We saw and heard some of the traditional sounds they use. And even though you knew it was for show, it was a little bit scary. One of the warriors put down a peace offering which was accepted by the chiefs and we all could enter the village.
They took us back 500 years to a Maori village. They were demonstrating activities in their village. Then they did some songs and traditional dances for us. It was all so interesting. It seems that the tattoes on their faces tell their background and history. (If you haven't seen the movie Whale Rider, do watch it) After the concert we went to the hangi or feast. The food had been cooked the traditional way. We saw an example of the pit where food is cooked for hours under wet burlap bags and on very hot volcanic rock. Any other rock would crack and break. The food was very good. The new food we tasted tonight was the camara, a sweet potato like starchy food. Quite tasty.
Once again we met some other travelers at our table. A couple from Sweden who are traveling for a year. I asked if they had been to the US - they were in Miami for 3 days. Hmm. There were also young girls at our table from Canada. They were sisters, 20 and 23, traveling together through Australia, Fiji and New Zealand for FOUR MONTHS. And we thought we were away for a long time.
I leave you with this quote from the Maoris.
"If you should ask me what is the greatest thing in the world, the answer should be: It is people, it is people, it is people."