On Sunday, February 24th NMH headed to look at the Glowworm cave in Waitomo. After a long day of traveling cross country, we had finally arrived at the attraction that many of us thought would be our favorite. We waited outside for our turn and then quietly traveled through the cave. Our guide told us about the amazing acoustics limestone provides and we sang a Maori song to everyone in the cave. Then it was time to head inside. We had to be silent and there was no light or photography permitted. As the suspension built, we crammed into two rowboats and went out in the cave. Looking up we saw a whole new night sky. Thousands of little blue specks covered the ceiling and we all stared in awe. They were these tiny blue dots that so closely resembled stars. Later when we all read our journal entries we reflected on how shocked we were that maggots could be so beautiful.
|Because the group wasn't permitted to take pictures of the glow worms, here is a postcard.|
Post written by Emmy Witt '20:
On Monday, February 18th we explored the Kauri (large trees native to New Zealand) forest in Paihia just after viewing the Kauri museum. We were eager to step into these woods after being well informed from the museum. Our Maori guides, Kiane and Billy Boy greeted us with open arms and were proud to show us their culture within the Kauri trees. Before seeing Tanemahuta (one of the Maori “guardians” that represents the god of the forest and strength), Kiane chanted a karakia (prayer) so we could be introduced to their culture the proper way. She sang, and then told us the story of this enormous tree. In short, Mother Earth (papatuankuku) and the Sky Father (ranginui) were inseparable. This was until their children tried to spread them apart because they were squished in the middle. It was only Tanemahuta, the strongest, who could do the task. That is how ranginui is up in the sky, and Papatuanuku lives down here with us. We also were shown the 4 Sisters. These were the four kauri sister trees that grow together without disturbance. We learned that if sibling kauri trees grow near each other, any other species that grows near them will die off. This is because the siblings team up to eliminate any competition around. Overall, I was overjoyed to have an experience at the Kauri forest all involving culture, science, and history.