West Coast Wilderness
Trip Start Jun 07, 2008
190Trip End Jun 28, 2009
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Where I stayed
The next day, we met Ben early in the morning to go on a walk to Ships Creek to look for Hectors Dolphins, kea (forest parrots), and other things. We walked down the 27 mile beach for a while and collected rocks and driftwood
On the beach, Ben found a flat black rock for me that he said could be a patu for a Maori warrior. The Maori would sharpen one end and use it as a weapon. Then Ben told me about what used to happen when two Maori leaders met. One leader would come and lay down his challenge stick. If he laid it down sideways (horizontally), then he came in peace and wanted to negotiate with the other leader. If he laid it down pointing at the other guy, it meant war! Then the two leaders would pull out their patus and try to hit each other on the head. Finally, one would whack the other guy on the head and kill him. Then the winner would take his patu and slice open the loser's stomach and pull out his kidney and eat it!! This meant that the winner was taking the loser' mata (or soul and strength) so he could not haunt him. Pretty rough! Ben and I acted out a battle and he pretended to eat my kidney - gross but fun!
We walked into the rainforest and saw lots of cool plants and trees, like the kidney fern and the toe toe and the tu tu
Ben also made me a belt out of flax plants - Maoris used it to make clothes and bags. They only use the older leaves, the grandparents, to make clothes though and never take the parent and kid leaves.
Ben also told us a Maori legend about the earth. The Maoris believe that there were two gods at the beginning, Mother Earth and Father Sky. They had three sons, one was in charge of weather, one was in charge of the forest, and one was in charge of war. The war son wanted to kill one of their parents to make room for them to play, but the forest son convinced him that it was a bad idea. Instead, he laid on his back and pushed his parents apart with his feet. Maoris believe that the trees are the god of the forest and that Mother Earth ends at the roots of the trees and Father Sky begins at the tops of the trees.
In the afternoon, Mom took Lu and me on a walk towards the beach. It was a lot of fun - we went over a huge swinging bridge and lots of puddles. We also passed three pigs that belong to the lodge, named Barack, McCain, and Palin because they got them the day before the US elections! Barack is the strongest pig now!
When we got back, Ben took us down to feed the freshwater eels. They eat blood and raw meat. First we stomped our feet to call them, and Ben poured some blood into the water. Suddenly, eels started swimming up from everywhere! One was a monster - he was at least 35 years old! They have big mouths and one of them bit Ben's boots and made a hole! I kept away from their mouths but I did touch them and tried to pick one up. They are really slimy, but they are a treat for the Maori people.
After dinner Ben took us on a walk to find glow worms. Glow worms are not really worms, they are flies (actually US fire flies are not flies but beetles) but they look like see-through worms with tiny threads hanging down from them. We walked down the national highway and suddenly we saw hundreds of glowing lights on the side of the cliff. It was very cool to see them. Ben also showed us lots of stars, like the Southern Cross and the Dog Star and Saturn. We also heard lots of morkpie owls hooting everywhere. It was really fun. Ben is a cool guide and I had lots of fun with him while we were here!