The Waitangi Treaty along the way to Waitomo

Trip Start Jan 11, 2009
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Trip End Jan 19, 2009


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, January 11, 2009

We had a long drive down from the Northland through Auckland to Waitomo Caves area on the western side of the north island. But we took the morning to see some things in Paihia. We all went our separate ways, but I went to the Waitangi area just north of Paihia to see where the Waitangi Treaty was signed between the Maori people and the English.

I booked a guide and turned out to be the only person interested in this tour. She was Maori herself, and really helped me to understand the Maori's a bit more. The Waitangi Treaty was drafted by an English man, and translated into Maori by a missionary. The missionary then took the treaty around to all the Maori tribes and got them to sign it. Unfortunately his translation of the treaty was not really identical to the English translation. Not only that, but the crown did not honor its commitments to the treaty and ended up taking the land from the Maori's as per their agreement, but not providing other land to them or access to their sacred sights or hunting areas. So today there are disputes with the Maori and the government, and some land has been given back to some tribes.

Anyway, every February 6th is Waitangi Day in NZ and it is recognized as the day NZ came to be. They have big parties on this day, and part of the festivities is sailing in a boat that was built some decades ago by my guide's grandfather. Hundreds of people fit in it, rowers as well as passengers. It is beautifully carved from the NZ Kauri tree. It was a very informative tour, and I am glad I took the time to do it.

Afterwards, the 4 of us met up again, and took off on our long drive.  Along the way I discovered a great ice cream called Memphis. It is a bar ice cream on a stick (similar to magnums), but with great flavors like ones with cookie chunks in it! Also along the way we got to see some fancy public toilets designed by Hundertwasser in a very small town that he lived near (without electricity - loonatic) from the 70's until his death in 1999 (I think).
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