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Published: November 8th 2013
Wow - Napier really is the Art Deco capitol of the world. Totally destroyed by a massisve earthquake in 1931, they rebuilt the city in the Art Deco style and they love it! We were greeted on the pier by a little Austin of the period (license plates "Whatho") and when we got into town, there were 3 or 4 more period cars, complete with owners in matching clothing. Just walking around the city, put you totally into that time period. But it was also the first place in NZ that we saw a Starbucks.
In the afternoon we visited a Maori family marae (tribal center) and were blown away by their sharing of their way of life and pride in family history. They gave us a tradtional greeting or challenge to make sure we came in peace. They showed us their various musical instruments - direct from nature: conch shells, wooden flutes, whisting sticks. Also their various dance styles. Plus the head chief gave a very moving talk - but interlaced with wonderful bits of humor. Great day!
Today in Gisborne we saw the place that Captain James Cook first saw in his search for the Great Island in the South Seas. We went on steam train that was built in 1897 on a little trip out of town and at the end of the trip, we were met by a group of Maori children doing tradtional songs and dances. It was pretty neat seeing these little scrawny boys doing the warrior dances with the threatening gestures and body slaps. Needed a lot more muscle! But their teacher explained that they are practicing for a contest next week, so they were glad to have an audience to show off their program!
Tomorrow is the last full day of the cruise and we're stopping in Tauranga. Our tour there includes an active geothermal site.
Auckland on Sunday and we're off the ship. Wondering how long it will take us to get our land legs. We do look like drunken sailors everytime we hit shore!
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