a very long named boat (museum quest part 24)

Location: Waitangi
Baskets Left: 1

well, as the point of my museum quest was to expose the flax kete o te wananga baskets to areas that the maori considered sacred and full of power and presence (the maori are more effiecent about saying it though and use the single word mana to say all that stuff!). my stop today couldn't have been a better possible spot for it...

i was at the birth place of new zealand the country, waitangi.

initially it reminded me a bit of milford sound. not because of it had mountains coming straight out of the ocean. rather the walk way in was surrounded by beautiful forest, and had a covered sidewalk to keep rain off you.

the waitangi grounds are HUGE, and there was a lot of area to cover.

among the first things i ran into though was sure to be basket disposing pay dirt!

the marae, te whare runanga. a marae is a traditional maori building that comboed city hall, church, community centre, and parliment. this was one of the most iconic and still important such maraes left in new zealand (it rivals the one at te papa for recognition).

if i was going to get rid of the kete anywhere it'd be here. a marae that was actually STILL used!

even i was picking up the mana of this place! the inside was one of the most amazing displays of maori artwork i'd ever seen!!!

artists and carvers from all the iwi (maori word for tribe) had contributed statues and totems to this building so that it represented the maori as a whole. the basket was as good as gotten rid of i thought!

i just had to let the basket catch on to where it was. so wandered around examining the carvings closer.

there were some pretty cool ones indeed!

from what i remember reading at the various museums i'd been at, these statues and totems represented important ancestors.

it was neat to see the level of detail put into each carving.

the different styles of the various iwi was also clear after looking around.

wish i was talented enough to do this stuff...

in the corner i noticed a chair with a sign on it not to go anywhere near it. i didn't find out exactly why. if i had to guess it was reserved for either chiefs or very important and special visitors.

after spending an hour (a very enjoyable use of time i'll note) i started to get angry at the basket... why hadn't it dissappeared yet?!?

i even resorted to taking it out of my pocket (which you'll note people of the web wide world as a precaution through this whole museum quest i hadn't taken any of them out voluntarily) and giving it DIRECT exposure.

when that didn't work i resorted to shaking it around to see if that's what it needed...

nothing. the basket didn't do anything, and my magic sense didn't do a thing.

bummed out by this failure i continued to wander the waitangi grounds. next i came to the flag pole.

this wasn't just any flag pole though. turns out to be somewhat famous. some maori unhappy with europeans coming to new zealand back in the 1890's sabotaged the flag pole in a famous act of protest.

wandering further i came across the edge of the bay islands. waitangi means weeping waters in maori, and i could kinda see why they would call it that.

a bit further along i came across the storage hut for the largest waka (maori war canoe) i'd ever seen... it was 30 metres long!

i found out that like everything else at waitangi this waka was very famous.

the waka was named ngatokimatawhaorua after the legendary canoe of maori ancestor kupe. kupe was not from new zealand nor a true maori rather a polynesian from the maori's ancestoral land of hawaiki (though today we don't know which place was hawaiki). kupe was the first to discover new zealand (though at that time in mythology new zealand was JUST the south island. it would not be till the maori demi-god maui that the north island would be raised from the ocean). he did so while pursuing a giant monsterous octopus wheke muturangi.

anyways i guess that's a story for another time. the boat kupe used to chase the big cephelopod and accidentially discover new zealand was named ngatokimatawhaorua.

in the same way everything is famous here at waitangi, everything is amazingly decorated by maori art. i'm thinking that the these two similarities feed each other...

anyways just the hut that ngatokimatawhaorua was stored in was impressive...

that alone the waka itself! this elegant decoration was just for the back of the boat!

did i mention this waka was big? it is seriously the sauropod of wakas! not just any sauropod, but the amphicoelias of wakas!!!

granted amphicoelias was longer than ngatokimatawhaorua by quite a bit (in theory). amph at 67 metres vs. ngato at 30 metres. still if you consider this is just a canoe, and not a "proper" ship that's huge! it takes something like 76 paddlers to make this boat move through the water correctly and safely.

i wonder how many dwarf tyrannosaurs it would take? our arms aren't so long or useful for using an oar.

wait how many dwarf t-rexs would it take to paddle ngatokimatawhaorua... that would be a good start to a joke won't it hehehe

again it was unbelievably big. especially for a wooden canoe. look at tiny me in comparison (which i guess would just make it bigger...).

remember how nicely done up the front of the waka was. this was the front end. look at how much detail went into that carving!

than i realized that the roof was lined with nothing but oars! which makes sense considering how many paddlers it takes to get this boat moving in the water...

wandering the rest of the grounds i came across the last huge iconic site of waitangi. james busby's house sometimes called the treaty house.

it was here in this building i would learn my difficulty in getting rid of the last basket.

it was here that a bunch of really important documents to do with new zealand being new zealand were written and agreed to.

the most important of these for my purposes was the treaty of waitangi... honestly human politics confuse me. in theropod society its easy. whoever is the biggest and strongest lead. not that i'm saying that's the best way to do stuff, but it sure makes it easy to figure out.

getting inside i was startled by a small girl standing there. turns out she was a kinda spooky statue...

there was also a statue at a table writing something.

what he was supposed to be writing was the treaty of waitangi.
i'm no expert to be sure (especially with my brain the size of peanut), but it was probably this treaty's being made here that mucked up the mana for the basket. you see the treaty made new zealand part of the british empire, and thus brought the maori under the rule of england.
now not everyone has been happy with it, and this is where i don't want to get in trouble. i'm not saying who was and is right or wrong.
what i do know is that this document ended the era of maori culture as it had been. the age of magic and myth ended there, and modernity moved in to take its place. it makes sense that with this place being the extinction point of maori mystism that the embodiment of that mystism won't exactly get excited about being here.
i was going to have to push on in the quest. the thing was, though i was getting very used to this pattern i was running OUT of new zealand to push on too... there were only two more stops on my list... wait no that's not right. i just had a terrible realization people of the innerweb!
i had 3 stops left. two here on the north island coming up, but if they failed i had a stop i skipped on the south island... and i had no way of getting back easily!

next new zealand's most northern city

1 comment:

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

interesting chronicle ... errr... maori language uses really long names! Oh My Dino! I had thought german was complicated and know I get this, however I think those names may be a good exercise for our tongues!

I liked the story about Kupe, I had read there were many myths about him. BTW did they really made totems using Haast Eagle?, I saw that on a BBC documentary.