New Zealand Diary 24 June 2002

After another quick dip at the hot water beach, we drove round to Mercuary Bay and Cathedral Cove.

From here, it was a brief drive across to see the Giant Kiwi. New Zealand has several 'giant' things - an idea copied from the Aussies.

We stayed at "Uncle Boy's" house this evening. Calling himself a "plastic Maori", the guy has opened his house to groups of backpackers. We had a Hangi meal, saw an exhibition of both poi ( balls on the end of a piece of string whirled around) and stick throwing - as you would at any Maori 'cultural experience', only in this case the music was performed by a couple of his neighbours and the dancing performed by one of his nieces. A wonderful experience.

Don't read if easily offended...

We also learnt about what a haka (or tribal dance) is and how it is performed. The haka used by the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team is actually a shortened version of an old haka that describes the tale of a young man who was caught stealing fruit from another tribe. Once discovered a war party was sent out to catch and kill him. In the first section of the haka that we see the All Blacks perform, the movements depict his fear, literally translated as, "I am a frightened man". In an un-mauri, cowardly way he then runs away. He happens across some women digging up kumera (sweet potato) and storing them in a pit in the ground for winter. They take pity on him and bravely agree to help by hiding him from the approaching warriors in the pit. The part of the haka that we then see on TV describes the man looking up and seeing between the legs of the woman above him. The actions of the haka describe her genital hair (all the waving of hands along the thigh). The final sections deal with him climbing out of the pit and giving thanks for being saved. The haka thus depicts the power of women. It is not offensive, but it is not really appropriate for the All Blacks either! - you'll never look at it the same way again...

Ka mate, ka mate. ka ora, ka ora
ka mate, ka mate. ka ora, ka ora
Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru
Nana nei i tiki mai
Whakawhiti te ra
A upane, ka upane
A upane, ka upane
Whiti te ra

To tomorrow

Created by Dan Leigh 24/06/02