Rotorua – New Zealand

Continuing along the shores of Lake Rotorua and into the heart of town. Well we had a lot of fun in this city. One of the first sights that we saw was these beautiful gardens right in the center of town along the waters edge. We are going to be taking you to the thermal hot springs and to the Maori cultural and arts center. We are heading to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. That’s a mouthful!

You are simply in a place called Whaka.
Rotorua Revised

That is our abbreviated name. But here in full – TE WHAKAREWAREWATANGAOTEOPETAUAAWAHIAO.

This is an excellent view of the area. Now we do have about 195 acres, 500 hot springs, geysers, boiling mud pools and so on for your viewing pleasure. We use the hot springs for washing, cooking and bathing. Place the food into a flex basket, lower it down to one of the boiling springs and leave it there for 20 minutes.
Our own microwave but being Friday, I am having my favorite Burger King.

Japanese high school students love to tour New Zealand. They come and stay for few weeks and learn all about the culture. We are here at the Pohutu Geyser in Rotorua, New Zealand. Its really one of nature’s fantastic sights. Its shoots steam up into the air about 60ft high. The natural steam from the volcanic activity beneath the surface is coming out through cracks and fissures in the ground creating this really dramatic kind of lighting effect. Also next to us are interesting volcanic mud flats with the mud bubbles oozing and gurgling up out of the ground. Kind of like Yellow Stone and Old Faithful. Based on the same idea of the underground thermal activity from a pool of magma deep beneath earth’s surface. Hopefully its not going to erupt for many many thousands of years.

We walk through the traditional village. You see how they had some fairly large wooden structures with the elaborate carvings and they put on some cultural performances here. There’s some music and dance shows. And they got exhibits.

Alright ladies and gentlemen, very shortly I’ll be sending you through the into the workshop and there you will be able to see where the art of the traditional Maori carving is being taught. So you are looking towards people of the pre European times that did not have a language that was written. Their carving became their visual language like pictures in wood. But what carving does is that it commemorates our illustrious ancestors. Each tribe has their own identity. And that also comes within the stylizing of our carving. And there the difference will be in the outline on the border, the shape of the head, the style of the eyes, nose and even to the fingertips.

Its great to see that Maori traditional woodcarving has been retained here at the Maori Arts and Crafts institute.

You can find very accurate Maori woodcarvings for sale and gift shops makes an excellent souvenir.

Nearby is Rainbow Springs. They have a series of trout pools linked by nature trails.

This here is our Punga. You see many of these Punga ferns around the park here. They grow naturally in all the forests and things like that, very beautiful. They are used for ornaments, candle holders, bowls and things like that. So you may see a lot of these products around New Zealand.

They have dramatic display area of the Kiwi bird who is the national symbol of New Zealand. It’s a nocturnal animal and so they have this darkened enclosure where you can go in and get a look. And if you don’t see them there, you can see them in the gift shop. And another very popular show for the visitor is the sheep demonstration. See how these sheep are rounded by the sheep dog. Never has to bark at them. All he does is just stare at them, and get near them and steer them where he wants them to go. Sheep are so important to the economy of New Zealand that they have made a show out of it. And you get to watch. You can sit in their comfortable stands and watch all these sheep cum herding and these are from a working farm and they have various kinds of displays that they put on for you here at the sheep display.

Now this is a real champion bull and they are really good breeding machine. And of course there is the sheep shearing demonstration. It only takes a good cutter about 1 minute to sheer the sheep, get all the wool off of it. Every years, it’s a major part of the industry after all. And then other parts of New Zealand put on these kinds of shows. Since sheep are found throughout the country and there’s also the Polynesian spa. There is a lot hot springs in the areas. So they have these terrific baths, they have thirty different plunge pools here at the Polynesian spa, which is the largest of the various spas. Right along the shores of the lake, so it’s really a splendid setting. It’s very very tranquil. Its just comfortable sit and soak in the warm waters. They are mineral waters and they are sure to cure what ails you. Just next-door is the Lake Plaza Hotel, where we stayed on this visit. And in the evening they have an orientation about Maori culture. It’s a free event in the lobby and it’s to promote their dinner show, which is really a nice package. And we are going to take you there now and show you a very interesting evening’s entertainment. And now we are going to take you out to a Maori feast. It’s a Hangi, which means music and dance and dinner. They recreated a traditional Maori village. And you walk through the village at twilight, listen to the music, look at the beautiful structures they have constructed. The traditional Maori wooden structures and fires blazing. You are in a forest. It really seems like you have stepped back about 400 years. The Maoris have done an admirable job of retaining their culture. Many Maoris still speak the original Polynesian language and they still follow a lot of traditional cultural practices. And this evening gives the visitor a chance to really learn something about the Maori history and to mingle with performers after the show and then have excellent dinner. It was really a large and delicious buffet dinner, a great way to cap off your visit to Rotorua, which is most famous as being a heartland of Maori culture in New Zealand. And here we are enjoying some traditional food….

Next morning out for a walk in the heart of modern downtown Rotorua and what a surprise! It’s a delightful place. There is stretch of restaurants that goes for about 4 blocks in one direction and a couple of blocks in the other direction. And you gotta wide variety of international cuisine. You can have a big meal or you can just sit back and have a coffee on the terrace, have a drink watch the peple go by. Downtown Rotorua has really blossomed the way so many cities around the world have in recent years. Its just a great phenomenon to see. Not only do we have the hot springs and the Maori culture and nice hotels, but there is this interesting little stretch of downtown Rotorua. This is a fine place to come and explore when you are in the area. So don’t just think this only for looking at the hot springs and going to a Maori show. You really wanna be on your loose a little bit here take a stroll and you might even go and visit the Museum. This was a bathhouse about a 100 years ago, was a spa. And its been converted into this excellent history Museum in this old Victorian structure. Back in the botanical gardens where we started our visit.