So apparently you can travel halfway across the world, arrive in the tiny village of Waitomo, only to find someone who lives less than five miles from your front door back at home…
After a morning desperately drying 2 day old washing with hairdryers, radiators and log fires we headed to the general store. The main attraction being free wifi (although we soon learnt that their soup was another). Here we met our next stray driver Hammi (Himmy).
A quick goodbye to Snowdrop the tame deer, the pigs, horses, goats, Max and Freddie and our amazing hosts at Juno Hall Steph and Dave. Then it was time to head to the bus stop. Fifteen minutes of serious karaoke later and our next Stray adventure was about to begin.
Hop on the bus and meet Sam, a 19 year old from Bourton on the Water; less than five minutes from my TINY hometown. Mind. Blown.
We arrived at our Maori stay for the night and were greeted by a traditional Maori welcoming and a hongi. So after rubbing noses with 18 complete strangers it was time for an amazing meal. What better than a friendly game of jenga for bonding and to allocate washing up duties. Then came the Maori performances. The family sang, told stories, did poi performances (swinging of weights on strings, which is a lot more impressive than it sounds) and the infamous haka.
Then it was our turn. Poi is A LOT harder than it looks. Catching that little weight is a task that is near impossible but somehow they make it look effortless. You could see the sympathy in their faces as they watched us girls attempt the simplest of poi dances and fail miserably. While we learnt the poi the boys (all two of them) learnt the haka. This apparently proved too much for Sam’s jeans which tore after an overenthusiastic squat.
We all slept in the meeting house together on mattresses on the floor. Swapping of ‘scary’ stories and traditional Maori tales and then bed. Looking forward to the breakfast promised for the morning.