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Auckland New Zeland


Auckland, New Zeland


The lord of the rings and the Maori culture

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episode transcription

Hello, it’s nice to greet you, I’m Yael Yancelson and it will be a pleasure to take this paradisiacal and adventurous tour with you, so close your eyes if possible, breathe, relax, give me your hand and let’s travel together with the power of imagination to Auckland in New Zealand, let’s start! We arrive at the narrowest point of the North Island of New Zealand and find ourselves in the Auckland region, the largest city in Polynesia, with 53 volcanoes, more than 50 islands, three wine regions and countless beaches.

We will visit Maungawhau (Mount Eden) and enjoy wonderful panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Tazman Sea. We arrive at Parnell, to do the Tamaki Drice promenade, see what impressive beaches there are along the Auckland coast. Can you appreciate the views of Waitemata, the Hauraki Gulf, the mystique of the Icelandic volcano of Rangitoto Island and the famous Port Bridge?

Devonport is a quaint seaside town with great cafes, boutiques and views of both Takarunga (Mount Victoria) and Auckland city.

If we go to the West Coast of Auckland, we will see the Titirangi, the Manukau Harbor artists’ enclave, and if that’s okay with you, we’ll make a stop at the Arataki Visitor Center, which is the gateway and allows us to continue enjoying some wonderful views over the port- how beautiful everything looks, right? Surfing is practiced here and if you realize the beaches are made of volcanic sand, do you feel like it has a different texture?

If you turn right, you can see the Pohutukawa trees (which are New Zealand’s Christmas trees) and the amazing kauri trees.

Take a look at the incredible gannet colony at Muriwai Beach, the fabulous Auckland Domain, Museum and Wintergardens, Parnell, the historic 1857 Riverhead Tavern, as well as the War Memorial, Wynyard Quarter and Viaduct Harbour. It allows us to wander aimlessly within the habitat of whales, dolphins, penguins and some of the most unusual birds in the world. I really want to visit the exhibitions of the Auckland Museum, the art gallery, the emblematic Sky Tower and we can have lunch at K Rd, we will try a typical HANGI dish: It is a typical dish of the Maori culture. It consists of putting meat or fish, usually accompanied by kumara (sweet potato), in baskets and cooking them underground, taking advantage of the steam currents that arise from the interior. Hangi is also made by building a kind of artisanal oven. It is built by digging a hole in the ground where rocks are introduced as hot as possible, food is placed on top, and everything is covered with earth so that the heat does not escape. After 6 hours, more or less, the land is cleaned and the food is served accompanied by a side dish. This reminds me a lot of the ground barbecue that is cooked in some towns in Mexico.

How about we board a ferry that takes us to the hiking trails of Rangitoto Island; a symbol of the city is its almost perfect volcanic cone, which makes for a photogenic backdrop. kauris- these endemic trees.

And surely you know the famous Lord of the Rings movie, I invite you to enter the magical and enchanting Hobbiton, the film set. Let’s see how this beautiful piece of farmland has been transformed into the Shire of Middle Earth where we will live a great adventure, here in Hobbit Holes and The Mill, let’s take several photos, what fun!!! I literally feel inside the film.

Let’s take advantage of knowing the culture of the Maori, as we already know, who are the indigenous people of New Zealand and it is believed that they settled on the island between the IX and XIV centuries from successive migrations from Eastern Polynesia. Maori mythology, their ancestors were originally from Hawaiki, a mythical Polynesian island, the legendary land from which more than a thousand years ago they left in 7 boats to Aotearoa, giving rise to each of one of the 7 original Maori tribes. Each tribe had the name of one of the fleet’s canoes. These tribes were divided into sub-tribes which in turn were divided into families, hapu. It is believed that the Maori were the first inhabitants of New Zealand, and in fact today there is no consistent evidence of human settlement prior to them. However, there are legends that say that before them there lived other tribes also of Polynesian origin that were later expelled. It is very interesting to know how this tribe has such a special connection with nature and spirituality as a result of the fact that they lived isolated for years from the rest of the world. world and created an original culture that believes that everything that exists has a spirit called Mana, even the objects that were manufactured. It was also believed that the presence of certain animals brought messages from the gods.

They are also considered brave and wild warriors who always lived on the prowl. The wars between tribes were quite common and before the Europeans arrived and introduced muskets or firearms, the fighting strategies they used were based mainly on ambushes, signs of attack and false retreats. All these tactics were planned and loaded with great originality and ingenuity. If a tribe was attacked, it had to strike back to restore balance or mana. This belief caused that there were continuous fights between them and that the periods of peace between the tribes lasted rather little.

The “haka” was the ancient dance that Maori warriors danced before going into combat. With this intimidating tribal dance composed of songs and shouts, they showed their power, their courage and their strength. Let’s see a sample, will you? —– https://youtu.be/G_OMxvhc358


This dance has been preserved to this day, we can easily see it before rugby matches and international sporting events. With the haka, the Maori warrior power is shown as well as the respect towards the rival.

The Musket Wars were a series of battles that took place at the beginning of the 19th century between various groups of Maori and came to an end in 1840, with the Treaty of Waitangi, which determined that New Zealand became a British colony.

A super significant trait of the Maori tribes are facial tattoos.

The Maori tattoo or the ‘tā moko’, went far beyond a mere aesthetic issue. They were loaded with meaning and history. Each sign represented a great feat in their personal history and thanks to them it was possible to distinguish which tribe they belonged to. Women also tattooed their chin to indicate their union with a warrior and the act of tattooing was a main part of the rituals they had. place when passing from adolescence to maturity. Tattoos were done by the tohunga ta moko (expert in tattoos) with a chisel made of albatross bone and a mallet. The pigments were obtained from a fungus of moth larvae and burnt brands. These mixtures were kept in vessels and passed down from generation to generation.

How interesting to meet new and different cultures, don’t you think? Always new worlds that provide knowledge and with it tolerance to other ways of being and behaving.

Today almost all the descendants of the Maori live in urban centers, especially in the North Island and represent 14% of the country’s population. They are fully integrated and have laws that protect their uniqueness and encourage the preservation of their culture.

And this is how we leave this fascinating region of the world, sure that we will return very soon. If you like to cook stay here and join me in the kitchen, click on the button or if you prefer keep traveling.

Thank you for traveling with me and I look forward to seeing you every week in one more episode, how do you know Alternative Reality is a project that seeks to build community by contributing to different causes if you are interested in learning more about the work that Fundación Once does with visually impaired people in Latin America, go to www.foal.es and as I always tell you: by helping others, we mainly help ourselves.

Thanks for traveling with me and see you next week!

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