What a couple of days we’ve had! On our way north to Whangarei we stopped at Kawakawa to see the toilets designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. We encountered his work once before in Vienna. His buildings were very controversial, as he was into recycling in a big way, and he used leftover bottles and tiles in non-linear ways. He called straight lines “the devil’s tools”. His last work was the public toilets in the middle of Kawakawa, NZ.
We stayed Whangarei for the night and then pushed on to Paihia the next day. It was a blustery day, with showers in the forecast. There was a huge cruise ship in the bay, and we decided to walk to Waitangi, where the treaty between the English and the Maori was signed Feb. 6, 1840. We found a wonderful interpretation centre, and time to wander through the grounds to see the huge waka (canoe) that the Maori made. It puts Canadian canoes to shame; it takes a minimum of 76 people to paddle it. It will hold 80 paddlers and 55 passengers. There was also the stump of a huge kauri tree that they used to build it. Impressive.
While we were there, we took in a Maori presentation of songs and history. Before we went in, John was selected to be our Chief for the day! He learned how to greet the performers and also how to do a haka. That’s the very assertive dance/chant that you might have seen the All Blacks do – including scary faces and sticking their tongues out!
John must’ve done a good job – they didn’t eat us or anything.
Inside the Marae (Maori meeting house), I couldn’t resist admiring the woven reed designs from many tribes around the north. Do they look like quilting patterns to you?