• Day39

    Waitangi Treaty Grounds

    October 24, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    This morning we headed to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. This is where the treaty was signed between the British and the Maoris to form a relationship between the two. The museum here only opened in February so was really new and they had exhibitions on too so we were looking forward to learning about the history of the country.
    The exhibition was a photo gallery that followed the protests made by the Maoris over the fact that the treaty to this day does not seem to have been followed fairly. It was interesting to see and read about the feelings that exist on this topic and it left us feeling as though it has all been pretty unjust. We then went on to the Museum and read all about how it started, the different ways of the two very different cultures that eventually came To live side by side and finally about the signing of the treaty itself. It was typical British colonialism at its best. The Maoris were made to feel special and honoured by our royalty, gifts were exchanged alongside favours and then we asked them to sign a treaty. We asked a culture with a written language that was less than 100 hundred years old and who thought of the oral word as binding and sacred to sign a treaty that contained just three articles, of which the English and Maori versions were worded so differently that in my opinion they were lied to for their land and sovereignty. We of course have followed the English version despite the overwhelming majority of Maori leaders signing the Maori one. No wonder they felt unfairly treated, in our eyes they were. Despite this you get the feeling that the treaty is celebrated by those who settled here and have since been born here as a symbol of how their nation works together and where this all started. I don't really see it that way, seems a little like pulling the wool over, but ot seems much more effort at least now is being made to right wrongs, their language for a start is now taught in schools and is on signs everywhere. Conservationists too seem to be helping the Maoris to demand their treaty rights as they also go a long way to protecting land and wildlife here. Anyway...

    We then headed round some of the museum which was super interesting and really well presented, until it came time to join our tour. We had a Maori as our guide who was a direct descendant of one of the chiefs who signed the treaty. He was a a little bit over the top at times but we learnt a few new things and it was great to see the huge war canoe and the Maori Hangi. We were then given a cultural performance which was scary and intimidating as much as it was entertaining. I wasn't too upset not to be the guy who volunteered as our groups chief when the Maori leader started to shout and grunt whilst pointing a large stick in his face! Really great to watch though, the dancing, weaponry demo, music and singing were really impressive, especially when they started throwing sticks around without dropping a single one. Hard to explain but they were thrown all over and seemed incredibly hard to follow so hats off to them!
    After this I had a photo with the Maoris (tongue sticking out face obviously!) and then we headed back to finish the museum.

    After this we headed to our next camp for the night, The Old Cowshed....
    Literally an old cowshed, still half cluttered, now turned mini kitchen, toilet and lounge. Very basic but a lovely owner with lovely in particular that seemed to like us...and our chicken! Had a nice meal and enjoyed chilling out in this quiet place. Bedtime came early with nightfall, unfortunately so did the rain... took a while to drown it out but it felt cosy at least ☺️
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