His eyes are about to pop, the tongue is hanging out and a roar shakes the whole body. People stare at him. Him and the ten other men on the stage making similar faces to the audience that sits on bright coloured beanbags taking photos. Meanwhile two carvers continue decorating wooden statues and a man is getting his shoulder covered with traditional tattoos. What could be a better way to start a trip in New Zealand than arriving in the middle of a Maori Heritage Festival?
Tāmaki Herenga Waka is a three day culture festival held in Auckland’s waterfront. It offers a peak into the history of the New Zealand. Maori music, kapa haka performances, story telling, weaving, crafts and more… Young maori explains the story behind the facial tattoo, moko, and the general meaning of tattoos in different parts of the face and the body. His squirly tattoos on the back and shoulders represent his family history. The visitors can get their own temporary moko. Men with full face paint and women with chin decoration and blackened lips wander around Auckland. Furious looking children hold their parents hands and lip-shape bruises appear on the cheeks of the babies.
The festival covers the ancient culture of the island but the modern New Zealand is quite different. Few weeks will not be enough to explore the whole NZ but I’ll try to make the most of it.
(Thanks to the poor internet connection this post is about a week late already)