an actual kiwi!!! (museum part 25)

Location: Whangarei
Baskets Left: 1

after my quick stop while entering whangarei, it was time to get down to business. i had just this one stop before my last. i was hoping that i wouldn't need to hit auckland though, and this would be the end of my quest...

it was here at the whangarei museum and kiwi house i hoped to get rid of the last kete o te wananga basket.

now as far as museums go whangarei's is one of the most interesting i've come across. its not so much one building, but rather feels more like an old town's worth of them.

it even has old railway tracks running through the grounds making it feel like it is kind of a hype happening place.

though it is populated by an odd population. not people, but peacocks. this was one of many i ran into. as i'd been trying to learn bird speak before i left for the quest (and had a chance to practise a bit along the way) i figured it won't hurt to try and strike up a conversation with some of these guys.

sadly it turns out peacock is a LOT different than ostrich or parrot... so i didn't get anything out of this other than something to work on... if i ever got this quest done that is.

anyways again whangarei's museum has a couple of "streets" worth of buildings where they have different displays. displays after a fashion anyways.

turns out most of these old buildings are run by local clubs that collect old stuff, and restore and/or maintain it all.

here is an example (one of the better) of the engine clubs building. you couldn't fully enter any of the buildings but most had a tiny wired off bit you could look into their collection from.

after checking out a few of these i pushed on to the main museum building at the top of the museum "town"s hill.

inside the first exhibit one hits are the fossils of northern new zealand. given the extremely volcanic nature of this section of the country it wasn't much of a surprise that there wasn't a whole lot of fossils to be found. most were very "modernish" too, only a few million years old. all invertebrates too. so apart from the 3 ammonites i didn't take too much notice.

the rest of their natural history gallery was a bit better. including a cool stuffed albatross hanging from the ceiling.

my favourite display was the kiwi exhibit. they were placed in such a life like environment. it would turn out though i was going to get one better than this exhibit shortly though.
like almost every museum in new zealand these guys had a whale skeleton. only theirs was set up funny, and the head and jaws weren't place anywhere near correctly. i wasn't sure why, and there was no sign explaining. so don't go expecting the best whale mount you've ever seen...
this museum really felt like an old home run operation. just look at this under the sea exhibit to see what i mean. don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with museums like this. if anything in my mind they earn points for doing something with nothing.

there's a lot of operations like this in the small towns of alberta, and there's usually something worth seeing in all of them.

whangarei's was still a notch above these, but compared to many of the other amazing institutions of new zealand it just didn't come out as a gem is all.

the specimens like in this sea bird display were all good. just their presentation wasn't as glitzy as the other (probably better funded) museums.

so don't not visit the whangarei museum. just don't expect a te papa or canterbury when you go. also be sure to leave a donation so that they have some capital to make improvements... i did!

anyways their maori artifacts were impressive. they had a whole display on normal non-magical ketes that was neat.

i also liked their selection of maori fishing hooks. i might have to look into buying one next time i go fishing.

i'm now going to say there must be an official law in new zealand that all museums must have a greenstone tiki display! seriously i haven't been to a museum that doesn't have one!

the real attraction of the whangarei museum though is the kiwi house. where you actually get to see a LIVING kiwi!

that ladies and gentlemen of the web wide world is a picture of the only living example of new zealand's national animal i've seen!

kiwis are massively endangered down here. all the introduced land predatory mammals have just demoed the flightless kiwi population. so houses like this are one of the only places you can see them!

now kiwis are nocturnal so that's why my photo didn't turn out so great. also neat fact i didn't know. their massively territorial, and thus there was only one on display. anymore than that and they'd fight!

sadly at the end of my visit i still had the last basket left. meaning i was going to have to push on to the final stop on ms. rhonwyn's list...

next the big city...

the most photographed waterfall

Location: Whangarei
Baskets Left: 1

i'd made it to whangarei, new zealand's northern most city (though there's plenty of towns above it!). though my only reason for being here was to stop in at the local museum driving into town i saw a sign i just HAD to stop at.

whangarei is home to its own waterfall (named after the town... making them the whangarei falls). given how waterfalls are natures own fountains i had to check it out... on account my LOVING fountains!

i had planned to only stop for a couple minutes... but stayed for 15. which considering everything isn't so long. what i was surprised by was that the trail the city has put around the waterfall is so good and easy to follow you can see this waterfall from pretty much EVERY angle imaginable.

they claim it is new zealand's most photographed waterfall. i'm not sure if that's actually true (given there's a couple famous ones elsewhere), but i can certainly see it being in the running. if one were to say most photographed from different vantages than it probably does win. out of all the waterfalls i've EVER seen this is one of the few i could take a photo anywhere in relation to it i wanted!


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


Revamped Old Post

Production Note: Through the creation of new visuals related to the finale of the museum quest coming in the next few days, Prehistoric Insanity has been able to go and replace a borrowed image in one the quest's key posts with one of our own.

This new image of Tane Maori god of the forest is now attached to the retelling of the kete o te wananga legend at this old Traumador post.

This picture (borrowed from here) was the one originally used. You can see how it inspired us.

The reason for the change? The only clue we'll give you is that we built Tane for something else first...

Stay tuned for the conclusion of the (somewhat longer than we'd hoped) Museum Quest. Followed immediately by the launch of
Traumador Year: 1.5 with a slew of surprises we promise!