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Added: May 01, 2010

Tags: NewZealand RTW animals photos
We are not excited about cities, so despite the title of this post I am not going to show any photo of Christchurch. It is quite hard to find free or cheap parking in Christchurch (it was the 1st place in New Zealand where we needed to pay for parking), so we did not explore more than immediate surroundings of our accommodation and restaurant we dinned at.

We stayed there only one night and the main reason of visit was Ko Tane - Maori Village.

Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

We arrived to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve about one hour before Ko Tane performance started. Ko Tane is conveniently located at this place so we could pass time observing local/foreign and ordinary/exotic animals. I have to say I don't like the idea of having Maori Village in wildlife reserve, it seems a bit stretched, but it's probably about where tourists go.

The reserve is quite nice, animals are not in cages, but in nice environment. Domesticated animals are in farmstead like environment. Quite a nice touch.




There will be more Llamas in South America, I hope.

Ko Tane Maori Village

Unfortunately I don't have any photos from this part, because:
a) I was not after posed (and paid) photos with Maoris
b) it was not allowed to take photos of performance
c) it was rather dark outside

Before the performance started we absolved 101 of Maori habits, concentrating on "welcome protocol" named Powhiri. It is (or was?) important for Maoris. Then we selected (in non-democratic elections) our leader who will do Powhiri for our group.

We were lead to village with occasional stops to learn about something. At one of these stops we were attacked by 2 Maori guys. They were trying to look aggressively and fearsome, but they failed, because to me they were funny and cute. Maybe I would feel differently if I did not know it was staged :-)

Then they ran away and we could come to the gate of village, where we were invited by all people from the village. Women sang a song, then the smaller warrior performed the challenge (Powhiri), fortunately our leader played his part correctly and we were let in.

Another song, the chieftan of the village had a speech, but they did not turn subtitles on, so we do not know details. I guess it was some kind of welcome speech, or maybe he thanked us for paying entry fee :-)

Finally we went to performance arena, where we watched and also participated in Maori dances. They tried to teach us the haka (war dance) and I believe they failed. No doubts remain when Zuzka described her impression about my performance. There was, however, also bright side of it. The chieftan told us that performing haka is a proof that men are able to multitask, because it is necessary to do different kinds of crazy movements with hands and legs at the same time.

Kiwi House

After finishing Maori performance we were not done yet. I have criticized association of Maori village with wildlife reserve before, but there is also an advantage. We could visit Kiwi House. It should not surprise you the point was to see kiwi :-)

They are really cute, pear like creatures walking around and busily poking their walking sticks (beaks) into dirt. Only disadvantage was darkness in the house so we could not see them well. But kiwi like it that way and would not be at ease if being in spot light. Better see them feebly than not at all.

For me and Zuzka whole visit was very good and we enjoyed it. Peter was not convinced about this place since we bought tickets and I am not sure whether he changed his mind later.