On our second night here in New Zealand we had the opportunity to stay with the native Maori people in a Marae. I thought it was a great experience and it really opened my eyes to the culture of the Maori people. The ceremony that we were involved in to be invited on the property was fascinating. I thought that it was wonderful to be emerged in a culture other than my own and the people embraced us with open arms. The Maori people were willing to teach us about the traditional dances and chants that are an important part of their life. The trip to the chapel was a great way to learn about the religious history of the Maori people, I felt very privileged to have the opportunity to visit the resting place of Bishop Pompallier. Through this experience I feel that I have learned a lot about the history of both the Maori people and New Zealand as a country.
During our visit at the Marae we were given the chance to explore the mangroves that were growing on a mudflat close to the village. On our walk down to the mangroves we were given a brief history of the culture and how the people that stay at the Marae use the mudflat for recreational purposes. In the mudflats there was evidence of creatures such as crabs and worms. It was really interesting to see these trees and how they act not only as a natural filter but they also serve a recreational purpose such as mud racing. It was a great way to explore the many different habitats of New Zealand's wildlife and the species that thrive within them.