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Reisverslag Hello Research and Anouk 2.0, Goodbye Jandals
20 februari 2016
Hello Research and Anouk 2.0, Goodbye Jandals
Let's start with the research. Even though my research is going very slow, I did manage to get some information on the history of Rotorua and tourism in Rotorua. About 20 generations ago a tribe leader named Houmaitawhiti lived on the legendary island of Hawaiki. The people of Hawaiki had to deal with a lack of resources and dreadful wars, which lead to Houmaitawhiti’s decision to send his people away to search for a new homeland. His people build a big canoe type vessel (waka) that they named Te Awara, and left under the lead of Houmaitawhiti’s eldest son, Tama-te-kapua. The people in the waka travelled for a long time, and eventually chose the Bay of Plenty to reside. It was Ihenga, Tama-te-kapua’s grandson, who discovered Rotorua. But it was not until five generations later that people actually started to live in the Rotorua area. The tribe that identify themselves as the descendants of the people from the Te Awara remain the biggest tribe here today according to the locals.
Within the city centre, one of the main sources of information on Rotorua and its history is the Rotorua Museum. Not only does the museum provide information about the Maori living here and their way of life, a big part of the museum focusses on tourism and its roots as well. I took a guided tour to find out more about tourism and how it started in Rotorua. It appears that early tourism started here in the middle of the 19th century. People from everywhere in the world visited Rotorua at that time to see and bathe in the Pink and White Terraces (warm water lakes). The White Terrace was larger than the Pink one, and covers about three hectares of space. The tourists travelling to the Terraces provided the locals here with job opportunities, and caused the local culture to change. The wealth gained by tourism caused Maori to buy alcohol, the people grew dependent on the tourism economy and new illnesses were introduced because of foreign contact. In other words, it lead to a kind of crisis for the local Maori people. One of the Maori priests in the area warned the people that continuing this behaviour would cause trouble and disaster, which was allegedly confirmed by the sighting of a ghost canoe in the sacred lake of Rotorua. Not long after this sighting, the volcano of mount Tarawera, which is very close to Rotorua, erupted and destroyed villages surrounding it. During the eruptions lots of lives and sacred Maori treasures were lost. The volcano is being closely watched until this day, since it can still erupt. The volcano itself has become a major touristic attraction in the area as well. The Maori that lost their villages fled to neighbouring tribes and were offered to stay in a village called Whakarewarewa. This village continues to exist and the descendants of the volcano refugees still live there. This village has also become a tourist attraction, where tourists can experience and encounter Maori culture.
Besides all this information on Rotorua and tourism, some exciting tattoo-related stuff has happened too! Believe it or not, I have had my first interview with a tourist who actually had his tattoo done here in Rotorua! Eventhough he could not remember the name of the shop he got it from, he did give me some information as to what the tattoo meant to him and why he got it. It was a Australian 27-year old guy who has travelled to New Zealand many times in his live and finally chose to get a tattoo to remember all his travels by. The tattoo pictures a so called Hei-Matau (a Fish Hook) whih in Maori symbolism means good luck and safe journey. The guy explained to me that his tattoo represents even more happy safe travels to New Zealand; the land where he feels lucky. Besides this guy I managed to get in contact with a local Tattoo shop owner called Hira, who like to help me with my research. I am meeting him next week to see what exactly he can do for me. I have also found another tattoo shop that really got my curiosity going since it is not only a tattoo shop. It focusses ONLY on moko (Maori tattoos) for locals and tourists and is also a art gallery for local Maori art. I will update you on that one in my next blog.
Now, let's get personal. As you all know I have had a extremely hard time here. Homesickness is definetely not a joke and it hits you hard at those moments you don't want it to. At some point however, I managed to pull myself together and actually feel better. Yes people...I am actually enjoying myself over here. Especially since my mom will be arriving in about 10 nights (I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED), everything now seems to be on the right track. For those who know me very well, I have been depressed before I came here. For those who don't know me very well...well now you know. It seems as though the New Zealand air is doing something great for me. I actually feel as though I have finally overcome my depression. I am feeling good about myself and about what I want to do when I get back in the Netherlands. In other words: Hello Anouk 2.0 who is a happy and confident young lady who will get out of this being a stronger woman than she has ever been before. I feel reborn. I know this sounds a bit extreme, but hey, it's how I feel okay? The only thing that is really bugging me at the moment is the fact that long distance relationships are really hard. Anyway, we manage it and everything will be fine in the end because we love each other. Oh and also the mosquitos...they are very annoying and are really bugging me (haha...BUGging :') ). Another thing that I happen to be very sad about is the fact that my jandals (flip-flops) have crashed. They departed, they died, they left me bare foot... I took them to one of the hot pools but got stuck in the mud, which caused the strap to break. Even though I miss them very much, I now have bought new ones haha.
Besides doing my research I have also seen a lot of other place surrounding the beautiful city of Rotorua. I will update my photo album on Facebook shortly so you guys can see some of it.
I hope the blog has been a good read again, and that you are still following me. If not, I don't care. If yes, lovely and thanks for reading! Also, I am sorry if this post is a little bit confusing and if my spelling is weird (I am tired right now haha).
So all that's left to say now would be: Haere rā (Goodbye) and lots of love from New Zealand!
20 februari 2016 09:11 | Door: Carla Vermeer
Je hebt er weer een prachtig verhaal van gemaakt. Ik ben zó nieuwsgierig hoe het er allemaal in het echt uit ziet
20 februari 2016 09:46 | Door: Marianne Schmitt-Vermeer
I have enjoyed your blog immenseley like the other times and seeing all those beautiful pictures on Facebook got me a little jealous. What a great country it must be.
I am more than pleased to learn you are finally feeling great and are dealing with your home sickness. My respect for that girl. Not long now and your mum will be there and I am sure that the both of you are going to have the time of your lifes
And don't you worry about that long distance love. I know all about it as I myself am involved in a long distance love. As you say you love each other and remember the saying: Distance only makes the heart grow fonder.