Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oct 30- Waitangi...WOW what an experience.

I have to admit that when Waintangi Museum was mentioned I wasn't overly excited. Not that I don't like Museums, I just couldn't imagine anything topping the Lighthouse.
This was a totally different experience and one I will not soon forget. First , we decided not to take the tour guide and do it ourselves. I was then able to spend as much time as I wanted in each exhibit.
I visited the home of James Busby .Refurbished of course...Busby was known as "the man of war without guns" He was a man trying to protect settlers (Pakeha=anyone not Maori) and trying to keep the French from purchasing Maori land.

That would be Busby at the table, The treaty of Waitangi was signed on the lawn in front of that house.
The treaty gave Maori possession of their land and the protection of the Crown. There were a great many conflicts between the British and the Maori people. I notice even now there is some division.
From the Busby house (of course I visited every room, nook and cranny) we all met in front of the Marae (Maori meeting house) We selected a Chief of our Iwi (pronounced Ee wee and means Tribe). Before we could enter the meetinghouse there had to be a confrontation between the Maori Chief and ours (absolutely no laughing allowed, not even a smile)
This is the meeting house. Every carving has a meaning..The head is at the peak, the legs are the side pillars and the steps the feet...You enter into the womb  which is the doorway.The Marae is the land outside the meeting place. The resident Chief tried to intimidate our Chief (a Maori woman helps direct him)

A gift ( a braided palm fron  is laid at the feet of our Chief. he accepts it and we all enter (with out shoes) Once inside we are welcome with smiles and happiness. Beautiful dances and songs are their way to greet us. Maori are very expressive and every movement of the hands, feet and eyes means something.
Here they dance with the Poi. It is a rope with a soft ball at either end. They make it look easy, it's not.
Here we are treated to a beautiful song.
See what I mean by intimidation
I don't intimidate easily LOL

Unbelievable carvings.

A Maori war  canoe and the tree base it was carved from. Maori select a tree several years ahead and clear away the brush from one side so the sun will harden it, the other side will be the side that will soften in time and be carved out to make this very long boat.
I've shown you the things made from the mamaku tree (Ponga craft) all coloring being natural once the bark is sanded off. This is that same tree , used as a wall and without bark being removed. Who would believe such beauty lies in such an ugly tree/fern.
Then it was off on the Ferry to Russel, across the Bay in the Bay of Islands.
What an excitement filled 2 days....I really do have to show you the friends we met along the way.......

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