Staying on a Maori Pa Site – Day 275
A real Maori experience!
Today we are staying on a traditional Maori pa site and marae! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then head on over to our awesome YouTube Channel!
So this morning we’re waking up in the Whatatutu Marae and we’re going to check out massive landslip.
Today we’re going to be trying something a slightly bit different and tell you guys what happened to us yesterday after checking out the awesome stingrays of Dive Tatapouri. We went to the Whatatutu marae to meet Marcus who is gonna be our host this afternoon, for the night and even for tomorrow which is gonna be happening at the end of this episode. Marcus is knowledge Maori tribe member.
My mother’s grandfather is one of Omate’s apostles, one of the first disciples, those two come together in our genealogy. The pai is the front area of the marae, yep, so the pai is the place where as we come through we’re welcomed by our greeter so the woman who does the karanga so she calls us all onto the pa site and into the pai on the marae. We can’t enter until she gives us the nod.The woman begins the ceremony and the women complete the ceremony of life.
From Marcus we get a really in depth explanation of what exactly a powhiri is and how it works. And a powhiri is a traditional welcoming ceremony for visitors like us stepping onto a marae for the first time.
And a marae is a Maori meeting place.
After meeting marcus’ family we are then stepping around the back of the marae to check out a couple of the projects that Marcus is working on.
One of them is this amazing traditional style pa site and a pa site is a traditional fortified village that the Maori used to live in back in the day.
Because there’s not that many remain of pa sites around New Zealand you only really get to see some sort of man made terraces in the side of hills where pa sites used to be situated, marcus is trying to recreate what pa sites used to look like so that visitors like us can understand and learn more about the Maori culture.
The pa site is made up of various places to sleep, there’s places to store food, even a little camp fire area where Marcus can tell stories and we even see a watch tower as well where we can look for oncoming enemies.
After Robin has approved the sleeping area and the watch tower as well Marcus tells us that the pa site isn’t quite finished yet and there are a few jobs on the pa site to do that we can help him with so we get out the power tools and start getting to work.
I don’t want to be too bitchy but we don’t start getting to work, i start getting to work and Laura is really busy filming and taking pictures.
But nonetheless it’s a really awesome experience to be able to work on the Maori pa site. After all we are foreigners right here in this country and being able to leave something behind is such a good feeling.
So we are getting onto a few different jobs and the first thing that we are doing is to tie on some massive pouwhenua which are those big carved poles right at the entrance of the pa site. This helps welcome visitors onto the area and also tell a part of the history of the local tribe. it’s a very important part of the Maori culture. But because Marcus does this pa site mostly to show visitors more about the Maori culture, we are actually tying those pouwhenua all around the perimetres giving it a really cool eerie feeling with a lot of ancestral history.
But then we are moving onto probably the hardest job I have ever done in New Zealand. I have a massive trunk of manuka tree which is the second hardest wood in New Zealand to cut in order to create a seating area. This is how Maori used to cut wood with really not sharp tools at all and a lot of patience and man you need a lot of patience I am not joking it takes me so so long to finally cut that massive trunk in half.
I can literally say that i’ve left blood sweat and tears into this place.
Now we or at least Robin can enjoy a well deserved rest watching the sunset over the pa site. After that we gather round the campfire, share a few campfire stories, and learn about each others cultures and today has been an awesome way to learn about the Maori culture. But this is just a recap of what we did yesterday. We’re now going to moving onto what we’re actually doing today which is going to visit the Tarndale Slip.
So we’re about to leave the Whatatutu Marae and we’re about to head to some absolutely stunning areas of Maori significance. That’s basically what we know. Marcus refuse to tells us more. So we’re going to have to remain in complete secrecy.
Yes, Marcus is taking us on a little bit of a secret road trip where at first the road is just going through farm land in the distance we can see that there’s forestry and pine forest and once we get onto a pretty gnarly gravel road Marcus is telling us that this road actually used to be the main route through the region about 30 years ago.
However, we quickly learn why this is no longer a main road any more. The road quickly stops with a big sign saying road closed so we have to walk from here and we end up in this massive valley on top of a ridge with two huge land slips on either side.
This landslip offers absolutely amazing views of the surroundings it’s one of those stunning New Zealand landscapes that you can’t stop taking pictures of however it’s a stark reminder of the human impact on the environment. Because on the intense forestry in the area all of the native forest has been replaced by pine trees and the pine trees have much more shallower roots than what the New Zealand native forest usually has and therefore as soon as there was a little bit of an earthquake the roots were not capable of keeping the land together and the landslip happened scarring this landscape forever.
In fact, this landscape is so gigantic that this is the second largest landslip in the Southern Hemisphere it can be seen from space it’s that big. But we can’t stop from exploring it we are actually attempting to cross the whole area despite the fact that it’s a little bit dangerous and I wouldn’t recommend it to most people but because Marcus has come here really often he knows where we can stand and where we can actually pass to cross this massive ditch.
Despite this stark reminder of the human impact on the environment New Zealand is still one of the counties that puts the most effort on conservation and there is a lot of different efforts to actually scale down the forestry in favour of native forest.
But this marks the end of our time with Marcus it’s stoked with heaps of amazing Maori culture, souvenirs in our heads we are heading on the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. It’s such a picturesque highway that we actually stop along the way about 20 times as we are making our way toward Tokomaru Bay and the beautiful backpackers called Stranded in Paradise which is gonna be our base for the next few days.
So if you ever go to this pa site and you sit on a log just think this could be the log that Robin cut with his hands with a machete. So well done robin. I don’t know what I’m talking about. Ah!