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Published: April 9th 2018
Bay of Plenty
Tauranga, New Zealand, April 8 ,2018 – Weather forecast: partly sunny in the morning; light drizzle in the early afternoon; back to partly sunny at sunset; temperature 17°C, wind 7kts (3 Beaufort)
Today’s port of call was once the site of fierce Maori wars, but now it is a peaceful city in the heart of kiwi fruit-growing country. Tauranga is situated on the western side of the Bay of Plenty. Captain Cook entered this bay in 1769 and after charting the coastline he named it in honour of the number of thriving settlements of friendly Maori that he found there. Since the port did not have a dedicated cruise dock we were at the pier alongside cargo vessels loading the local produce.
On our excursion today we met Charles, a Maori elder, in his home that overlooked the Bay. He provided a historical perspective on how and why the Maori travelled from Polynesian in the early 1300’s to New Zealand. Following his presentation, we moved on to meet another Maori family in their traditional Marae, the local cultural meeting place of the tribe. The customary Haka, the war challenge, was
Tree on Cliff
performed before we were allowed to enter the Marae. Once inside the family performed several songs and then incorporated us into their family.
The second portion of the excursion took us under the vines of the green and golden kiwi fruit where Graeme Crossman, a local fruit grower, provided an in-depth explanation of how the fruit was grown. After facing a devastating attack on the vines in the early 2000’s the fruit industry in New Zealand rallied, researched the problem and came up with a positive solution. Today the industry has revived and is growing. Graeme explained how the fruit is propagated, raised, picked, sorted, stored and transported. The best product is exported while the “seconds” are consumed in NZ and Australia. At a local community hall, we had a chance to sample the fruit and purchase many of the products created from it.
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