Saturday: A week today I fly to Bali!

Today is Waitangi day!

Some background:

Way back when, New Zealand was known as ‘the hell of the Pacific’ for a while. There was pure anarchy between the gold miners, the whalers and everyone else that came here to make their fortune. In essence, New Zealand was lawless.

The Maori didn’t know how to deal with this, as the Europeans and others were not sharing (eg land) in the traditional Maori way. They just took what they wanted. In 1840, the treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British and the Maori as a means for the British monarchy to take control of their people and to impose laws. 

There was a war between the British crown and the Maori, whom only lost due to the sheer number of people they were up against. The Maori had many war traditions so in terms of strategy and tactic, they could have won.

While the English were concentrating on the North Island, the French were focusing on the South Island and came close to making it a French colony. The British needed to keep the Maori on side and so created the treaty.

However it has been an issue of contention over the years. For a long time it was not understood that two versions of the treaty existed; the British version and the Maori version. 

Many Maori accepted the treaty, not realising two had been created, believing their Maori chiefs had signed it and so, out of respect for them, they went along with it. The Maori were repressed for a long time under British rule and land was taken from them. 

Over the years, a Waitangi tribunal was created as a means to right the wrongs that historically happened. Land has now been given back to the Maori – not all of it, but some.
So today is a national holiday to celebrate the bicultural nature of New Zealand, although historically, it has been a controversial day, rather than a celebration. 

The town of Paeroa:

In 1912, a carbonated Spring was found by gold miners, when they mixed it with lemon, it was very refreshing! So this became one of the first fizzy drinks created in New Zealand, aka ‘L&P’ (Lemon and Paeroa) although now it is owned by Coca Cola with the slogan: ‘world famous in new Zealand’ which has been adopted by Kiwi’s generally.

Korangahaki gorge:

Land was mined for gold, we walked the ‘windows’ track, which featured small windows or outlets along the former train track, this is where the excess rocks would have been deposited. 


Waitomo Glow Worm Caves!

(Boo! I can’t take any photos 😭)

In 1887 the caves were first discovered, and in 1889 they were opened for the first time. 

Wai means ‘water’
Tomo means ‘hole’
(Water hole)

There are fossilised oyster shells on the roof which proves that this cave used to be part of the sea floor – it’s estimated to be 2000 years old!

When the caves were first opened, it took 7 and a half hours to get around them. The floor was muddy, it was lit by candles and only ropes and ladders were used to get up to higher levels.

Stalactites – drip down from the roof, clinging on tight.

Stalagmites – is the dripping pool at the bottom, and grows steadily from the stalactites above.

It takes approximately 100 years to grow though!

At the highest point in the cave, there is a dome shaped roof which means there is no echo! Big names including Rod Stewart have played down here! All of the proceeds from the concerts go to the local school.

Glow worms!

3 days is enough time to lay eggs, hatch and move on. Their lifecycle is approximately 12 months! The glow worm caves are scared and as such, I can’t take any photos inside, so I’m uploading this photo of a postcard that I bought from the gift shop!


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