|Doing a Hongi (greeting by common breath) with Nga Toki, the great Waka|
We were all sweating, our hearts beating quickly in our bare chests, after doing the Haka (war dance) with as much intensity as we could muster. The chief from the other iwi (tribe) was giving a speech with the ranging Haruru falls as more than two hundred of us listened, including the dozen or more Waka tied to the waterfront. The sun was out, the water flowing and the scene appeared to be no different from when the cheifs would meet here to discuss in the 1700's evenings. That was real life, and I was able to be apart of it. Such was the entire week of waka paddling training leading up to an epic paddle of Nga Toki, the 40 meter 73 year old beauty, and other waka from around the country. We were gather to celebrate the Waitangi Treaty of 1840, which marked the birth of New Zealand and coorperation between Maori and Pakeha (white foriegners) in a common land.
The only downside is that there was no room for a camera in only my tiny black shorts! So as I collect pictures from other people who were there and put them in later posts, you'll have to enjoy just stories.
|Practicing the Haka (War Dance) at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (photo by Iguchi Yasuhiro)|
|Nga Toki after a lanch involving more than 200 strong.|
|Gavin getting ready to dive for scallops|
After the celebration, a friend of mine, Gavin Cross, an expert jade carver and fishermen, invited me to skipper his marlin fishing boat for a competition. Eating fresh snapper and scallops while sleeping on his beautiful wooden Waka fishingboat was quite a way to relax before a week of lashing our 40 foot Waka back in the workshop.