It was a great night in Rotarua, where we arrived by bus (lots of them!) and then we joined our allocated table. I found myself with a couple originally from Rochdale (now down south), two Irish couples one of who were on honeymoon, and Paul, also English.
We were told what would happen and it was more than a quick performance and dinner and was really good for the money ($88).
Once we settled and introduced ourselves, got chatting, we were taken in groups to the small river in the compound and watched the arrival and departure of a waka being rowed up. Chants, raising of paddles, faces and paint (which we later found used to be scored into the warriors faces and coloured!)
Then we went to see our hangi meal preparation, steamed with hot stones and water underground originally in the villages, now in concrete ovens in the ground. It looked and smelled delicious, with chickens, legs of lamb and potatoes, with a Maori vegetable (like coloured potato).
Then we were taken to a theatre style setting, staging a Maori village and vilagers dressed and painted, the women with the owl (as advised) marked only on their chin, the warriors various designs.
They treated us ti songs, dances, their games with poi and sticks, weapons and uses, musical instruments and exercises for warriors. It was very authentic and done well, fun and interactive with a volunteer ‘chief’ in Howard from Rochdale who represented the 16 nations of the audience, rubbing noses with Maori chiefs and accepting the peace offering without offending the tribe or warrior as taught, and greeting them with thanks for accepting and sharing with us, Howard’s tribe! ☺️ We also learned words and actions of some Haka moves and it was very effective – I could feel the strength and power building even with our reticent practice!
Then we went out after our delicious meal for a bushwalk in the dark, torches shared – mine with Paul – and were introduced to,the hardwood trees Maoris used for weapons, waka and building, some original one room homes with porches and the springs with trout and glowworms which made it magical with the water glowing blue and turquoise in the torchlight!! It was fun, all evening, good food, good fun amd good company. Paul and I chatted a lot, shared travel info, and stuff we knew about New Zealand and why we were all here.