|Maori sculpture by a New Zealand road. Photo: K. Udland|
What impressed me the most on New Zealand was the people. They made me feel like a guest in their contry - not a tourist. When - not if - I studied a map on the street, people would come up to me and friendly offer their help. Or invite us to their house. We even got to sleep in a marae - a house where the maori used to live in large families. Grandparents, aunts, cousins - everybody sleeping in one big room. Until the English moved the maories by force to live in small houses which made my friend so unhappy as a little kid missing his grandma, he ran away to be with her in the night. She met him by the creek...
He also told me how he used to stay in the forest for days and weeks without food and even clothes just living off what nature offered. And how they always and out of respect for the animals and plants, took off their shoes before walking in to the forest - in to their home. With a ceiling and walls made of trees and ferns and a floor of soil and grass, dead leaves and plants. How one little bird used to always come sit on his shoulder telling stories about the forest - but not anymore. How he woke up one morning with a warthog sleeping, nesting close to him to keep warm. How he faught to save a giant kauri tree. Oh, my maori friend told me stories that would fit a book of the happiest and the sadest.
You should try that, by the way - walk barefoot in the woods. I cannot explain how wonderful that feels. In dry and in wet weather. You simply have to try it. Some "Kiwis" even walked barefoot in town. In the New Zealand forests I saw the ferns. Saw them fold out from a spiral of hopeful green to ferns big as palmtrees. I saw the giant kauri trees with names like Tane Mahuta, the “Lord of the Forest” - a 51,5 metres tall handsome giant. I saw black swans, missed kea - the mountainparrot and clown of New Zealand - have to come back for that one...I heard the possums in the woods at night, and I saw the whales and the dolphins, I relaxed in a natural hottub at night with new friends under a starry sky and I felt at home.
And then there was the maori artwork. The carvings in bone and in jade and the sculptures like the one on my photo in the grass by the road with no name. I love her. Thank you.
s o r r y m u m