Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

What NOT to do if charged at by a Maori warrior

What's the one thing not to do in this situation?


A couple of days ago we visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a few miles north of here. At the spot marked by the flagpole in 1840 the Treaty was signed by over 300 Maori chiefs and the British government.

The Treaty is widely regarded as the birth of the modern New Zealand nation but remains the source of ongoing controversy - there being some differences in interpretation between the English and Maori translations. We wanted to visit the place to learn more about the whole thing and were hugely impressed by our guide who showed us around and filled in the huge gaps in our knowledge.

Our ticket also included a 30-minute 'Cultural Show' -  we'd normally run a mile from such things but we'd been told that this was a worthwhile event and so it turned out to be. This being the end of the tourist season, there were only a dozen of us watching the team of Maori performers go through their very energetic paces. 

First of all we visitors had to elect a Chief to represent our group so Dianne did a very neat job of pushing Graham one step forward at the critical moment! This meant he had to stand and face the 'warrior' outside the meeting house in a test of whether we came in peace.

Once that bit of the process was satisfactorily completed we moved inside and Graham had to make a short speech before we were welcomed. 

The hongi greeting - touching nose and forehead
Once Graham had completed his chiefly duties to the satisfaction of all concerned, he was allowed to return to his front row seat next to Dianne (Mrs Chief) and Laura (Mischief) to watch the brilliant dance and song performance.

Doing our warrior faces
Back outside, our ears still ringing from the volume of the singing, we had a look at the huge war canoe which can seat up to 140 paddlers; it was built in 1940 and is still launched every year on Waitangi Day.

Bow carving
Overall, a very memorable day! Thanks to Adam Kerner for his photos.

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