Tongablog

Join our adventure in The Kingdom of Tonga

New Zealand, Part 3

Hello from our postponed Honeymoon/30th birthday celebration/escape from Peace Corps vacation in New Zealand!  We are now in Rotorua, which is home to volcanoes, hot springs, thermal mud baths, and Maori Culture.  The actual town of Rotorua is adorable– and although it is a small, quaint place– it seems to be about the same size as the entire capital of Nuku’alofa!  The weather is quite chilly, so we are still adjusting to the major difference in climate.

Yesterday, we visited the Auckland Museum.  The entire first floor consisted of exhibits of Pacific art, ranging from Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia.  There were amazingly intricate shields and spears from Papua New Guinea, cannibal forks from Fiji, breathtakingly beautiful jewelry from the Solomon Islands, and in a tiny corner we saw a Goddess statue, found in Ha’apai, Tonga.  It was almost surreal to see, because there is absolutely no trace of indigenous religion left in Tonga.  A fervent and fiery brand of Christianity has permanently erased any evidence of spirituality that once embraced the Divine Feminine.  The Museum also displayed elaborate Maori carvings, which are far more stunning in person because of their incredibly intricate and detailed designs. 

We passed through Auckland at the same as the annual comedy festival, and bought tickets to the “Heavenly Burlesque” show.  We had never seen a burlesque show, but were quite curious.  It was an absolute blast!!  They described it as a naughty “Cirque de Soleil”… There were trapeze dancers, fire dancers, and lots of erotic performances celebrating femininity, masculinity, and eroticism.  After spending the last seven months in an incredibly repressive culture (one that considers knees and shoulders to be erotic), it was really refreshing! 

Tonight we are going to the Maori Village of Mitai, to see a traditional cultural performance.  Tomorrow we are going caving at Waitomo Caves, which has thousands of glow worms that illuminate the caverns.  Hopefully we will squeeze in some time for mud baths and thermal springs as well:)

One more thing I wanted to mention online was the extent of US election coverage here in New Zealand.  In the States, we always heard sentiments like “the whole world is watching this election.”  It wasn’t until coming to this region of the world that we realized the accuracy of the statement.  Every single backpacker we’ve met in Tonga (from Finland, South Africa, Holland, France, etc), all know the details of the Primaries.. down to the electoral votes in each state.  Here in New Zealand, one of the major news stories was the recent primaries in NC and Indiana.  It is such a reminder to us of how very important this election is– to everyone!

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1 Comment»

  geoff wrote @

Sounds like a trip well deserved. glad y’all are still updating the blog. I had some comp. issues myself and never got around to reinstalling it. therefore I hadn’t checked in for some time. Mad for a great Monday evening read!

I hope things get better for you guys but I know that it’s all part of the deal. I only wish that the PC suits would start giving a shit ’bout ya!

anyway, I hope the readjustment back to the 3rd world is proceeding well. Miss ya!


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