Thursday, March 23, 2023

Postcard from a Rotorua Marae and on to Lake Taupo

We walked an exquisite local marae before leaving Rotorua, marveling at the area's tidy symmetry and detail.

Unique to the Māori cultural experience is the marae, a communal and sacred meeting ground that provides everything from eating and sleeping space to religious and educational facilities.


At the front of the meeting house is the kōruru, carved to represent the face of the ancestor. The two long beams trailing down are the maihi and represent the arms, at the ends of which are the raparapa or fingers of the ancestor. Supporting the beams are the amo, or legs, holding up the entirety of the building. Finally, standing aloft at the top of the marae is the tekoteko, or statue, which represents the ancestor in all their revered likeness.



 There was also a cemetery on site.


Then a stop at the grocery, whose full bins belied the note below. Between the heavy rains and cyclone some weeks ago, it's true though that many growing areas have been devastated.

Next time I'm going to get the green-lipped mussels...

At the heart of New Zealand’s central volcanic plateau sits the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, Lake Taupo. This huge, shining expanse of water, moving between aquamarine blue and jade green, is crystal-clear to a depth of 13 metres. It is home to one of the best wild trout fisheries in the world, more than 30 species of water bird, several types of native fish and native koura (crayfish).
Art found a sweetheart of a spot right on the lake, redolent of summers long past. So much lakefront property has been built up, occupied by hotels or private homes, much like in the US. In the setting sun, Waitahanui Lodge is Kiwiana personified.

Inside, all the bits that needed restoring have been done, while some, like this workable range, have been left alone.
Sauteed gurnard for supper, with creme fraiche and chutney

Lake Taupo beckons to walkers.

And the individual units compel you to take off your shoes and stay awhile.

The Waitahanui Lodge has much more going for it, though. It sits steps from the Waitahanui River, world famous for its trout fishing. Just walking the winding river paths is a thrill. More on that next time.

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