Just in case you have just joined this blog, you are following the Kiwidutch retrospective tour of New Zealand, and the trip we made there in December 2011-January 2012.
It’s difficult to blog every day whilst travelling ”in real time” as we often don’t have regular internet connection, we are busy spending time with family and friends, going places, doing things, (or in my case hoisting my foot onto pillows and taking an afternoon nap) so my solution is to take notes on the laptop, take lots of photographs and to bring the two together as soon as I can after the event.
In this post we are still in Whakawarewa geothermal village , in Rotorua, central North Island and this is the path that runs alongside the cemetery.
I’m intrigued by the presence of small carved wooden posts, all of figures, realistic or stylised, evenly spaced along the route.
Our guide tells us they are there for luck… keeping up on crutches and trying to keep the camera dry in the downpour consumes my attention and I forget to ask if that means luck for the departed ancestor or for the living left behind…
I love the fact that these, whilst clearly centred around a theme, are all very different with their own character and I wonder if some of them may even be actual portraits of people.
I love the fact that the fearsome act of the bulging eyes and sticking out of tongues, so prevalent in the famous Maori Haka warrior dances as a means of instilling fear into their enemies, are also represented here in these figures, and to such an extent that it almost looks like a competition to see who can do it the best.
The Haka is also all about summoning-up up bravery, bravado and courage…
…it’s about rising to the challenge when faced with adversity or a strong adversary … so maybe this is indeed for the departed as I assume they thought you would need all of this when crossing over into the afterlife too?