One of the things I hoped to experience during my time in New Zealand was unique cultural experiences. A few weeks ago as I was walking around Lake Ohau, I was lucky enough to stumble upon just what I was looking for.
As the trail was winding down and I was faced with several kilometers of road walking ahead of me, I came across a group of Waitaha people who were setting up a pou that would be unveiled the next day. A pou, or pouwhenua, is a carved pole used in Maori culture and is usually erected to mark boundaries or significant places. This pou is dedicated to Te Maiharoa, a prophet of the Waitaha people.
I intended to write about this experience sooner, but I’ve become fascinated with the Waitaha people and their history here. I’ve only had a little time to scratch the surface of this group, but I am hoping to get the chance to learn more. At libraries along the trail, I’ve had the opportunity to read parts of the book Song of Waitaha, which is a history of these people.
I think the part of this experience that impressed me more was the warm welcome and inclusion I felt. As a stinky tramper just walking by, these people took the time to share this experience with me, offered coffee and breakfast (I wish I liked coffee) and the artist and his assistant answered any questions I could think up!
As I learn more about these people, I intend to share more with you, my readers. In the meantime, If you’d like to know more, please visit their website.