Day 53: Zero Day 1 Wanganui
So, yesterday I sat in George's car. On the way home he explained that his partner Rob, a Maori, wants to do a pōwhiri, a traditional welcome. This sounded very exciting as I haven't experienced such a welcome yet.
Once at their house, I followed George into the living room and sat down on the couch without saying a single word to Rob, who was already waiting in the room.
I don't want to go into all the details here, but it was a truly unique experience for me. Especially one part touched me. Probably because as a TA hiker I walked through Maori land many times - everything as waewae tapu, "sacred feet". Which in this context isn't a good thing as, being a waewae tapu, I walked through their land without "permission".
The pōwhiri removed the sacredness and I'm now "allowed" to walk on Maori land - maybe not all land but at least the land of Rob's tribe.
The pōwhiri ended with a hariru (shaking hands) and two hongi (pressing noses) - and a not so traditional hug ;)
George then gave me a tour around Te Whare Keruru, their home named after the wood pigeon, their protector. I was totally impressed to see the Swiss flag on the balcony. What a great idea :)
After a delicious dinner and a very interesting conversation it got time for bed. It felt great to have a real bed again after spending the last week in tents and huts.
Today is gonna be my first Zeroday since Auckland - nearly 30 days ago. And the day starts very good: with bacon, egg, tomato and croissants for breakfast. Yummy! I then get an interesting tour through their garden, which, for me seems like a little paradise.
Heaps of native plants, some very familiar to me, fruits, vegetables and herbs, art and an "outdoor room". All seems to be carefully thought out. During the tour, I learn a lot about the native birds and plants, so for example which plant helps should I encounter problems with my digestion on my hike.
George takes me for a tiki-tour around town. Durie Hill, the not-so-busy airport, and the windy beach are part of the interesting tour.
Time flies and before I realize it, it's already time for dinner. George again knocks up a delicious meal.
What an awesome first rest day this was and I'm very glad that George and Rob let me stay another day. A day I'm already really looking forward to.
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Fradul (Wednesday, 16 November 2016 20:42)
Hi Sandro. Wow, this hospilatity is terrific. What nice people, and this Maori pōwhiri is so interessting and moving. With all these great things happning in Wanganui it will be hard to move on. But after this days on the water, I think you will be a little itchy to do some walking soon!
Anyway, enjoy your zero days.