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  • Incredible geological features,

  • beautiful coastline;

  • New Zealand's Māori culture on full display.

  • And friendly faces everywhere.

  • Welcome to the Bay of Plenty.

  • National Geographic sent my colleagues and me to Rotorua and Whakatāne

  • to discover what makes this part of New Zealand's North Island so unique.

  • Photographer Erika Larsen ventured to Te Puia,

  • a centre forori culture and geothermal wonders, to explore.

  • Kiri, please tell me about this amazing,

  • really really magical place.

  • So we have so much to offer here in Rotorua, you know -

  • forests, lakes, walking

  • and also experiencing our beautiful geothermal around this area here, Rotorua.

  • And the people.

  • - And the people.

  • - And the people. -[laughs]

  • And our geyser is ready to go guys!

  • And our geyser is ready to go guys! - Woah!

  • [laughs]

  • Listen to it! It's so beautiful.

  • Listen to it! It's so beautiful. - I know.

  • I found through my work, wherever I go there is always a guide,

  • it might not an official guide but it's always a guide that can translate and introduce,

  • and allow you to feel the landscape so, so your job here is really important.

  • It is.

  • In my family there's four generations who have all guided,

  • we have become kaitiaki or guardians, of all the areas,

  • so it's our responsibility to take care of our whenua, to take care of our land.

  • When I'm walking along this pathway here, I'm walking along the same path as my ancestors

  • and when the guided visitors through the area here it's just something that came naturally.

  • So the knowledge isit's natural knowledge.

  • It's here, you know it by living it.

  • It's here, you know it by living it. - It is.

  • By just experiencing it and living it. It's beautiful.

  • It's so beautiful.

  • It's so beautiful. - Yeah, yeah.

  • For me, there are so many moments in the world that are so loud

  • and you come here and you can feel...

  • Yeah.

  • You can feel a little more human.

  • Yeah, exactly right.

  • You get all sorts of visitors,

  • when they're going on a guided tour and then they go,

  • "Wow this place is bigger...

  • ...than what I thought,

  • it's not just something that I see in a book, I can feel it, I can touch it."

  • They do go away, leaving here at Te Puia as part as my whānau,

  • as part as my family, because that's who I am.

  • Meanwhile, artist and author Christoph Niemann

  • visited the national carving school at Te Puia,

  • where the traditional methods ofori carving are taught.

  • So we're here in the traditionalori carving school.

  • Yes, formed in 1926.

  • Oh so that

  • That's the 1926.

  • What happens? So you start with the

  • So you start with the story.

  • So it means like the beginning of carving is speaking

  • - and telling stories. - you're speaking, yeah.

  • Exactly, and listening to songs, listening to karakia, prayers.

  • It all contains history.

  • In the process carving, it's a lot of repetition,

  • it's kind of like attention but it's also,

  • - it's really like the manual labour and like, - It's all repetition, yes.

  • getting to know and feel for the wood.

  • getting to know and feel for the wood. - yes.

  • Do you remember a moment where you've felt okay, I started to have a connection here?

  • It's when you realise that sound is everything.

  • Sound?

  • Yes.

  • So it's about the sound of the work, of the chopping?

  • Yes, so it's...

  • [claps hands together to mimic chopping]

  • So through the sounds you get a feel for the wood

  • - for the form? - It relaxes your mind.

  • Okay.

  • so that you can actually carve.

  • So it becomes a rhythm?

  • Yep. So it's about rhythm, pulse and your heart settles into that rhythm.

  • What are we looking at?

  • - It's very very impressive and… - So this is a...

  • It's a memorial post that was meant to celebrate the 100th landing at the gallipoli peninsula.

  • This one is about the technicalities of war.

  • This is about the victims of war.

  • So it like, goes from the very tangible here,

  • - into a more abstract spiritual world. - That's right, yep.

  • - Okay. - Yep.

  • What are the best reactions you get from travellers from far away places, or from closer places?

  • There's this idea that you come here and everyone's dressed on a piupiu,

  • and you know, they've been here forever and a day, but no,

  • most of us have ancestors that have come here trying to find heaven.

  • All sorts of things.

  • So there is a connection from the world coming here and then

  • Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, y'know and that's what kiwis are,

  • Yeah.

  • they're a mixture of a whole lot of people that have come to this country.

  • No but this is beautiful,

  • and it's interesting to look at the art through that angle

  • and I think also coming as a visitor and looking at it through the same way.

  • Thank you.

  • You're welcome.

  • Up the road from Rotorua, is Ōhope Beach.

  • I took a walk along the water and up a coastal track nearby

  • to meet my fellow explorers and some friends for a very special dinner.

  • I take this coastal walk, that's absolutely stunning,

  • you know, every ten stairs or so you have a lookout that is giving you a view of...

  • you know, these mountains in the background, that are so

  • it looks like a watercolour.

  • Wow.

  • Endless, it feels like just water that goes on forever.

  • Hey everybody.

  • Hey, Kia Ora Heather.

  • Good to see you!

  • Kia Ora whānau, really good to have you here up at Kapu-te-rangi,

  • the home of Toi Kairakau our famous ancestor.

  • So Toi would've occupied this place around a thousand years ago.

  • Ourngi is just about ready, our feast.

  • Whakawhetai anatou mo enei kai e iho mai nei, he oranga mo te tinana, ake ake, āmine.

  • Āmine.

  • Help yourself.

  • - Ka Pai. - [laughs]

  • This looks fantastic, can you tell us a little bit about thengi?

  • Yeah, so thengi is obviously

  • our traditionalori way of cooking food or feasting.

  • Ours is unique as far as I know because we actually

  • set thengi in the ground and bury it over so it's actually subterranean.

  • 'hā' is breath or also flavour,

  • and 'ngi ngi' is a very old word for, to burn, to make smoky, to make fire.

  • So that's the origin of the wordngi, so the flavour that is smoky and has been burnt.

  • So today when we came up, the first thing you notice, inevitably,

  • is this beautiful island here, can you tell me a bit about it?

  • Yeah so that island is Moutohorā.

  • The island is now pest free, it's a protective wildlife reserve.

  • Neil here is actually heavily involved.

  • Yeah so there was a whole bunch of work.

  • If you look at old pictures of Moutohorā, actually,

  • it didn't even have very many trees on it.

  • The Department of Conservation and the Iwi, Ngāti Awa, worked really closely together.

  • There was a whole bunch of trapping work that was done to make it pest free.

  • A lot of our native birds and animals in New Zealand evolved without mammalian predators,

  • so Moutohorā, because it's pest free, we have birds on there that are actually extinct on the mainland.

  • Delicious.

  • The food is absolutely wonderful,

  • can you tell us a little bit more about your history of cooking and what we're eating here?

  • My father always instilled on us that a...

  • well feed body is a well feed mind and spirit.

  • And if you really love what you do, as in cooking,

  • it will show, it will always taste lovely in your food.

  • That's wonderful.

  • That's what our father always instilled.

  • That's what our father always instilled. - Works with me!

  • Thank you.

Incredible geological features,

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B1 māori carving pest guided zealand island

Exploring the Bay of Plenty | National Geographic

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/27
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