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It’s a beautifully sunny day here in Rotorua so we’ve started the day slowly, enjoying coffee in the sun whilst watching the comings and goings at the backpackers where we’re staying. Our chalet room is on the basic side of basic, but we’re only here for a couple of nights so it’s no problem. We’re right next to a park full of the hot springs and bubbling mud pools that have made the place famous. You certainly know they’re around due to the sulphur content – which is enough to close off your sinuses!

The springs run throughout the town. Many hotels offer hot spa pools and where ever you walk in town you’re likely to get a sudden nasal assault, as if you’ve just walked passed a blocked drain!

Right now we’re off to visit a Maori village…

17:40.

We’re back from Whakarewarewa, the Maori village, so here’s a quick selection of pictures, I’ll add details later.

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After a day toasting from the sun and breathing hot sulphur springs, it’s time to cool down with one of these…

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The Maori village was really interesting because this wasn’t a Government sponsored tourist site -it was a genuine Maori village run by the people who still live there. They’ve been welcoming guests ever since 1874, when they were approached by the Government who wanted to attract visitors. The local clan chief had the nous to say to them “alright, but this is our gig – we don’t need you”. As our young lady guide said “the difference between other places and us is we live here, we don’t go home from work at the end of the night, this IS our home” 60 Maori still live in the village which is built amidst the most amazing landscape of hot springs and geysers. It was a much more interesting experience than the normal tourist ones because our guide was part of the community she was showing us around and could give you so much more detail about real life in the village – almost gossip if you like, rather than detached, dry history. So, all the dancers you see in the performance can be seen back in the village later, just living their everyday lives.

20:26.

We’re now back in the backpackers, catching up on the internet of things before heading off for an early night as we’re on the move again tomorrow. This time it’s to yet another contrast, a place called Napier. This is a town that was flattened by an earthquake in 1931 so most of it was rebuilt in the architectural style of the time: Art Deco.

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