Ko Tane: A taste of Maori culture

For those of you who check in regularly, thanks for your patience these past few weeks, as we’ve been out of town, out of touch, and a little behind on just about everything.  We’re doing our best to free up space on the computer to upload all our recent photos, so the next few updates will come in bits and pieces. 


During our trip to New Zealand, one of the few ‘touristy’ things we did was attend a Maori cultural presentation, Ko Tane, cum dinner at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch.  The group was small and intimate, and the introduction to Maori culture included a walk through part of the reserve, a meeting of our group’s selected ‘chief’ and the Maori tribe, visit to a model village, a music and dance performance, dinner featuring local NZ foods, and a guided walk through the kiwi (the bird) sanctuary. 


A few photos:


Maori chief

Maori chief

 Notice how small the house is, behind the chief.  The homes are true to traditional size!  They were built quite small (to conserve heat), and with very small entryways (if it’s hard for you to get into your home, it’ll be hard for your enemy to get into your home!).



C having a go at the poi ball dance

C having a go at the poi ball dance

The Maori poi balls were originally used to help develop strength, flexibility, and coordination.  Men used this to prepare for battles, and women for weaving.  They are now used primarily by women in dances.



M doing the haka

M doing the haka

If you follow rugby and are familiar with the NZ All Blacks, then you are also familiar with the haka.  The dance the team performs before international games is a traditional Maori dance performed by a group (men, women, mixed, or children).  The haka the All Blacks perform (Ka Mate) is a victory dance, and was the one that M learned.


Kiwi birds are nocturnal, and we were fortunate to see them up and active in the sanctuary.  Unfortunately, we don’t have any photographs as flash photography is not allowed, and, well, it was night, and you know, dark.  


A few interesting facts about kiwis:

* The kiwi is related to the ostrich and the emu, and is also flightless.

* The kiwi egg is the third largest in the world (after the ostrich and the emu).  Bear in mind, though, that the kiwi is about the size of a chicken.

* A kiwi egg weighs 25% of the mother bird’s full body weight.  This would be equivalent to  having a 30lb. baby.

* Once the mother lays the egg, she has nothing more to do with it (can you blame her??), and the father sits on it until it hatches, about 93 days later.

* Once the baby kiwi hatches, it’s entirely on its own.


~ by ... on 3 May 2009.

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