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Published: November 15th 2007
We spent the day tooling around the area. In the morning we went to the “Agrodome” Sheep Show. They trotted out all the different kinds of sheep, sheared a sheep for us and did a sheep dog demonstration. The shearer was very entertaining, getting all of the nationalities in the audience involved. There weren’t many of us from the USA but we cheered as loud as we could. You should have heard those Australians shouting, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!” and the Taiwanese screaming with their hands in the air. The sight of the sheepdogs running on the backs of the sheep and then laying on top of them was worth the price of admission. We took too many pictures so we missed the dog herding the sheep - it must have been very short. We’ll have to try again in the South Island. Then we went to the city and visited our favorite Starbuck’s again so we could add on some more days. Hope you’re all following along! In the afternoon, we went to the Buried Village - a little town that was covered in a volcanic eruption in the 1800s. Everything was preserved - kind of like Pompeii
on a small scale. It was a nice little walk and then we hiked to a nearby waterfall. After that, we headed back to happy hour at the Lakeside Lodge. Our host, Graham, took us down to show us how to fly fish and we fished a little. We only saw one (HUGE) trout but he was just passing through. Apparently, the time of year for catching them is really December. Then the riverbank is filled with fly fisherman and they’re pulling them in like crazy. It was still fun to learn. For dinner, we went to a “Hangi”, an authentic Maori meal and cultural performance. It was a great night. We chose to go to see the Mitai family. Out of 120 who work on the land, around 110 are family. It made it much more personal and memorable. We saw the traditional warriors arriving, had welcoming ceremonies, learned about customs and weapons, and saw the family dance the haka and other dances. Our group had to act as a tribe and get a volunteer to be our Chief. Our table was trying to make Brian volunteer and he was one step away. We got an Australian, Chief Tim,
and this poor guy had to learn Maori phrases and exact protocol. It’s taken pretty seriously, no laughing or making fun. A lot of pressure for a fun night out! Brian kept giving the table the look that said, “You are SO lucky that’s not me up there.” The dinner was great, all cooked under the ground with hot stones - potatoes, kumura (sweet potatoes), chicken, and the tenderest lamb we’ve ever had. Amy doesn’t even like lamb and she loved it. It still wasn’t over. We got a chance to walk through the adjoining Rainbow Spring Nature Park at night in the misting rain with a Maori tour guide. We saw bubbling springs, glow worms in the river bank, tons of trout, eels, and actual Kiwi running around a few feet away (not behind glass like normal). They are MUCH bigger than we thought. More like a chicken than a little bird. What a day and what a night. Enjoy the pictures. You can tell that Amy wrote this one because it isn’t the Cliff Notes version. Too much detail? More later, Stay tuned….
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