After our day’s paddling, we were officially welcomed onto the sacred Maori Marae area. A ceremony which involved songs, and speeches, from both the welcomers and the visitors. And a careful barefoot procession in. Beautiful to hear the voice of our lady DOC warden beaming out across the river to the rock wall opposite. Amazing acoustics. When the next batch of paddlers pulled in we got to sit on the benches of the welcoming tribe and greet all the new comers with the touching of four heads and noses. The sharing of breath, and the sharing of dreams. We didn’t take any photos of the Marae and the beautiful totem pole as it seemed the respectful thing to do.
Then Cookie, Josh, Mitchell, Sarah, Sophia and i pegged it down for a dip in the Whanganui. It’s was a sizzling evening! And more entertainment in the form of a rock skimming competition :)
Yep a good deal of nose touching today, I had no idea it was a traditional Maori custom, thought it was just the Eskimos that did the nose kissing. Good job I’ve got a huge hooter, saved the hordes of canoeists behind us the unpleasantness of my sweaty brow ;) I was seriously questioning wether I liked this tradition when all the men came through first, one at a time for an intimate nose nuzzle.. But then we got a line of 20 odd ladies next, I finally started warming to it!
A quick ‘freshen up’ in the river afterwards, left us marginally cleaner than before..
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Hey Nicky & Cookie,
Looks like you’re getting right to the heart of NZ with the marae experience, as always loving the pics and stories!
FYI a song in Maori is generally called a karakia, and the nose-kissing is a hongi! Some other useful Maori words … kai – food, haere mai – hello/welcome, haere ra – goodbye, ka kaite ano – see you later/tomorrow and an important one: whare paku – toilet!!
Loving the trip, it’s making me homesick,
P.S. I’ll post this later on as being in Taranaki you should get a few chances to use Maori!