New Zealand

Drove from Auckland to Hamilton for a pub gig, then the next day after breakfast in Town, wanted to relax and do the tourist thing with Aimee and so we drove to the thermal region of Lake Rotorua, the lake and surrounding area is alive and sulphurous steam rises from places in the ground. Out at Whakarewararewa are the largest thermal zone and a Maori cultural area. The place's real name is Te Whakarewarewatngaoteopetauaawahiao, meaning the gathering together of the war forces of Wahiao. There are geysers here, one called Pohutu which means 'big Splash' spurting like a whale, hot water and steam 20 meters into the air, The colours of the minerals form crystalline curtains, yellow, orange, pink and some blues appear. you have to stay on the footpaths the ground around can look solid but it can be hollow with boiling mud or water underneath a thin crust! People have fallen in and died. The boiling mud bubbles and hisses like porridge and spurts of mud leap-like frogs or dark fluid fish. "The Fishes are jumping." The ground is like some animal spitting, burping, roaring and swallowing itself! Saw some Kiwi, the nocturnal bird that cannot fly, its wings too small to lift its heavy body. Bone carving, jade, weaving from Flax, grasses, and wood carving rich details of past gods, and ancestors. showing the stories, oral history, and legends of the past.

You can cook food over the hot steam, or boil veggies in the pools in baskets or cloths dipped in, some grounds get so hot you can fry an egg. Lots of Tee Tree plants grow very happily amongst the heat and sulphurous steam, smelling like bad eggs. Fire pits are dug and large stones are heated in the pit, food in baskets covered with wet cloths buried with the earth and steamed to perfection. This is called a Hangi. Went to take a dip in the thermal pools, Polynesian pools connected to the lake. Different pools some hotter, some less hot, relaxing and healing, then you stand under the cold shower! Whew, it energizes you and wakes you up again. Great soaking there with a view of the lake, sunset and birds flying off and the steam from the ground around.

Maori song and dance, War dances are scary, grimacing, defiance poking the tongues out to look fierce, stamping feet like they are breaking your arm over their knee!

Warriors, seafaring, and navigators in the past. Huge, bouncers in Australian nightclubs are all Maori, huge big-boned people, no wonder The 'All Blacks' are a champion rugby team, they go to war when they play!

Missionaries brought the guitar, and songs sound like 50s doo-wop music. I saw them dance for us Tourists, Native Stick dances, and the women bouncing poi balls on the end of strings spinning and oscillating like birds, or butterflies' wings.