Originally from Barcelona, Laia lived abroad for 10 years before starting the biggest adventure of her life: a year-long round the world solo trip, a trip that was an internal journey as well.
She travels on a budget, slow and light; and enjoys going off the beaten path, walking without direction and talking to locals.
Photo Story: Tamaki Maori Village
This photo brings back a lot of memories. I took it in Rotorua, New Zealand, a destination that left me speechless and wide-eyed.
I had been travelling for over 5 months, one of which in New Zealand, and I still hadn’t seen anything alike.
It all started along the lake. Whitewater, bubbles, smoke, small ponds with boiling water and even boiling mud.
And it wasn’t only about the sights… there were also the sounds! It sounded like the city was breathing.
I could hear gases and steams finding their way to the surface through narrow vents and pools.
It’s not magic, it’s geothermal activity. But even if I knew there was a scientific explanation, it seemed unreal, like taken from another world.
Of course, it comes with a price… the whole town smells like rotten eggs! After a while and don’t notice anymore.
After the lake, I reached Ohinemutu, the Tamaki Maori village.
The Maori revered that place (no wonder they thought it was magic) and nowadays Rotorua is one of the towns with more Maori population (35%).
The featured photograph is from this village.
The meeting house is closed to visitors, but I could enter the church. That was, again, surprising.
Inside the Anglican Church, there are Maori wooden carvings! I met a lady who told me its origins.
When the colonisers first arrived, the Maoris wished that their gods give support to Christianity.
That is why the church presents this fusion of cultures in its carvings and details. That definitely made the town even more interesting.
But apparently, I couldn’t have a perfect day. In the morning I realised I had my wrists, arms and cleavage full of small red dots.
By the end of the walk, the red dots were really itchy.
I got worried and went to a pharmacy. They asked me if I was sleeping in the dorms and got scared. Surely there weren’t bed bugs in New Zealand??
After some discussion, they told me it was probably scabies. No bed bugs, but some other kind of bug that I got in the dorms.
I had to apply a lotion and wash all my clothes. Fortunately, in a few days, the red dots disappeared for good.
Tamaki Māori Village is located on the outskirts of Rotorua where you can experience Māori culture with traditional ceremonies and cultural performances.
Village is a sight of pre-European Māori life, villagers do demonstrate traditional Māori activities and crafts.
You can learn how intricate woven art pieces were created, hear stories of ancient ancestors, see traditional weaponry displays and tattooing in action.
Song and dance are an integral part of Māori culture – experience the famous haka war dance and impressive poi dancing and hear the soul-stirring harmonies of traditional waiata (songs).
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