Sunday, March 6, 2011

Māori Tour

Our first full day in Auckland began with the splitting of our group.  Eighteen people went canyoning while the other eighteen went on a Māori tour of the city.  I went on the tour.  If you’re wondering what canyoning is, we’ll get to that later. 
We had two tour guides for the day, Staci and Michelle.  Both lovely women were half Māori themselves.  We began the tour with a short drive to the top of Maungawhau aka Mt. Eden, the largest volcanic cone in Auckland.  We received a brief introduction to both our guides and to Māori culture.  We moved out around the cone to the other side, where there was a little observation area.  From there we could see the entire city, including most of the other 47 volcanic cones. 

After trooping back to the vans and packing ourselves inside, it was another drive over to the Auckland Museum. 

We didn’t spend too much time at the museum, but we had enough time to watch the live Māori dance presentation and then a brief tour around the exhibit. 

Now, while the tour was extremely informative and interesting, I don't remember too much of it because we were only there for maybe an hour, and half of everything that was said was in Māori, which I am currently learning.  So, after the museum tour, we herded outside like the good little sheep we were and onto the lawn in front of the museum for some authentic Kiwi fish and chips.  Sweet as.  It was utterly delicious.  We were told that the place that made it was one of the guides personal favorites in the city, so that was a good thing. 

After finishing off that tastiness, we headed back to the vans to once again head out.  This time we were driving out to Karekare Beach, a beautiful black sand beach.  After the harrowing drive up and then down what was basically a mountain, we had to partake in a river crossing to reach the beach.

Once we tiptoed our way through the sun absorbing, burning hot, touchably soft, black sand, we reached the sea. 

I guess the surf was a little extra powerful that day because the swim area was quite small.  There weren't too many people actually swimming there anyways.  As a group we trooped out to the surf, completely unaware that we were going out just a little bit too far.  Sadly I did not take any pictures of us after our wave encounters, but I'm sure you can imagine.  Oh, and most of us were still in street clothes at this point.  Anyways, we left the surf to the lifeguards and moves up the beach a bit where Michelle had drawn a rugby field for us in the sand.  We were about to get our fist taste of touch rugby.  I will let the following three images describe to you what our game was like...

Yep.  That about sums it up.

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