Saturday, December 13, 2003

Tamaki Maori Village (2 of 2)

Everyone employed by the Village was of Maori heritage, and everyone seemed to take very seriously both the cultural history that they were preserving and presenting AND the fact that the village was a major tourist attraction.  (Everywhere I went, people asked me, "Did you do Tamaki yet?")

Our bus driver got us all doing a sing-a-long on the way back to town -- English language stuff, not Maori.  He was a real hoot.  At one point, he drove the bus into a roundabout/traffic circle and started singing, "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" and just kept circling the roundabout until he had finished the song.  I couldn't stop laughing.

Final note on Maori culture -- I couldn't help looking at this without playing compare and contrast with the way the Australians relate to the Aboriginals, and the way the U.S. relates to the Native Americans.  (We've all got indigenous peoples.)  I'm sure that relations between the Maori and the New Zealanders of European descent weren't always rosy, but (at least as far as what they've allowed the tourist market to see) they certainly seem to be headed in the right direction.  I think the thing that impressed me the most was something my whitewater rafting guide said (a couple days later) -- he was talking about a recent resurgence of Maori pride and interest in Maori culture by Maori youth, and he said that Kiwis are starting to recognize the importance of "New Zealand culture."  Now this dude himself was a white guy, and I was impressed by the way he considered Maori culture to be New Zealand culture, and sort of claimed it as his own.  Spiffy. 

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