A MAORI DINNER!
Part of the Rotorua experience is the chance to attend an authentic Maori dinner. A tour bus picked us up at the hotel and delivered us to a recreated village. Going in the winter was neat because it was dark out and seeing the camp fires and the glow against the canopy of the forest added to the experience. We were entertained with some of the activities they used to do as part of their daily lives 2-300 years ago. Games for improving coordination and reflexes, the making of clothing and utensils, the carving of wood and rock.
Before dinner, we were entertained with some traditional Maori song and dance and were able to witness "The Challenge" given to all visitors to the village. The clothing is colorful and revealing.
Dinner was prepared in the traditional manner. A big pit is filled with rocks that had been previously heated in a fire. The food is layered in the pit with moist burlap to keep the food from drying out. The slower to cook foods are placed on the bottom. Everything is prepared this way! The meat. Traditional vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and turnip. Desert is placed on top. After covering the hole, the food is allowed to cook for the designated amount of time. It is interesting to see how universal this technique is. Similar cooking is performed in Hawaii. North American Indians used to cook in pits. Aldro told me about how he cooks his lobster & clam bake in the crevasse of a rock on the coast of Maine!
After dinner, we were free to browse the shops for souvenirs and some traditional Maori carvings. Colleen bought a nice face carving.
Next day, on to Wellington!