We drove up Highway 1 today towards KeriKeri – a 3 and a half hour drive. Although this is the main road north, there is only one lane, so passing is difficult. Thankfully, it is a bank holiday today, so there is very little traffic. It makes you realise how far behind New Zealand is though – compare Highway 1 to the M1?!
We passed through Kawakawa, where the main point of interest was the Hundertwasser toilets, which had a grass roof, god balls, bottle glass windows and a living tree in the centre!
We arrived at Keri Keri just after 3 to a warm welcome from- Auntie Mo and the rest of the family in their beautiful Riverview development.
Next day, we visited the Waitangi Visitor Centre – Treaty House, which is a short distance from Kerikeri – www.waitangi.net.nz. Almost 178 years ago, the Treaty granted Maori people rights to their land and gave them an equal footing with their British colonisers. The anniversary of the Treaty signing is 6th Feb – there are likely to be some Maori protestors at the celebrations.
If the massive wakas (war canoes) had been used for trading instead of tribal warfare, New Zealand’s history may have turned out differently?
Only 40/500 tribes actually signed up to the Treaty giving rise to the expression “Hobson’s choice” for the rest.
Flora & fauna:
The 3 main exports for the Maoris were whale oil, flax and wood. Flas grows everywhere – they made it into strong material for baskets, fishing nets, and clothing.
Beautiful blue agapanthus grow in profusion here – by the roadside.
Kia Ora = Hallo. Now I know why the orange drink was called that – what a great brand name!
Maori cultural performance at the Treaty Grounds.
A lovely meal at Ake Ake Vineyard restaurant – www.akeakevineyard.co.nz.