|Whare Waka and Ngatokimatawhaorua|
Having arrived early in the morning, our group consisted of ourselves, a nice family from Victoria Australia, and a pair of lovely ladies from Cork, Ireland. As we interacted with our guide, with us questioning him and him returning the favor, it was fun to see the diverse perspectives...except on one subject, the economy. The consensus from around the world is that there's a recession going on.
|View from the Treaty Grounds|
Through no fault of my own (though some may claim it was due to my obvious girth and evident prosperity as a provider for my people) I was selected to be the "chief" of our visiting tribe, to stoicly endure the martial challenges of the resident tribe, and to accept from them a peace offering and invitation to join them in the meeting house. I crossed something off my bucket list in pressing noses with a Maori chief, and had to deliver and off the cuff thank you speech to respond to his welcome. We were then regaled for about a half an hour with awesome displays of Maori song, dance, games and martial prowess.
|Meeting of Chiefs|
We drove up to Haruru Falls after that, only about five minutes away. While pretty, and reasonably photogenic, it's not enormously impressive, but would be a good spot for a picnic at the park below, perhaps, and it appears they rent kayaks there in the summertime that you could take out on the river below the falls for a better view.
From there, we took a drive up to Kerikeri, Along the way, we stopped at a roadside mandarin orange stand and picked up a kilo of fresh picked, spray-free, ripe fruit. Kerikeri proper was very similar to the main drag in San Clemente (or probably any coastal tourist trap around the world), and so we poked about in a few of the stores, including one where we had a nice chat with the proprietor, a woman whose farm had been confiscated for redistribution by the government of Zimbabwe, and who came here to start her own woolen clothing shop. The merino/possum/silk blend is wonderfully soft and and soft on the eyes as well. Evidently possums are a huge problem predator here in New Zealand, and...well, making lemonade out of lemons and all that...
Just north out of the city, we arrived just at closing in the historical area, and had to settle for outside pictures only of the Stone Store, Mission House, and old Anglican Church there. Didn't get a chance to explore the Maori Village and pa (fortification) at all. Again, a marvelous park area for a family picnic, a footbridge across bubbling falls, and sailboats drifting at their moorings complete the scene.
Back to the motel, with a stop at the supermarket along the way for a few minor items, like toothpaste. Do you know how hard it was to avoid all of the Colgate-Palmolive brands? They own the world. Finally settled on a South African brand, MacLean's (probably a subsidiary after all). Relaxed in our room for a bit with wine, bread and cheese, then walked down the coast to the wharf, and popped in to 35 Degrees for a meal at a window table overlooking the harbor. We weren't terribly famished, so we settled for sharing a smoked fish and spring onion pate over toast and a pot of green-lipped mussels, steamed to perfection, with still more bread and butter, and a small basket of fries, accompanied by their homemade tomato sauce (a very delicate cocktail sauce).
Back to the room for a dose of CNN, a Calippo for dessert, and a quiet good night.