I am happy that all of Stray’s buspasses include some unique stop where travelers get to learn about the culture of the Maori people and stay in a traditional Maori Marae which is where the Maoris usually have their social gatherings. For us this place was Mourea, a small village on a lake where our bus driver “slim” had grown up.
When walking in we were asked to have the girls walk first, a traditional way of saying that you come in peace. Then the hosts met each one of us by pushing our noses and foreheads together and giving a loud sniff to get to know us and then welcomed us all in their own language.
In the course of the evening we also got to learn some words in their language, learn to play with poys and learn to do the Haka dance that the New Zealand rugby team shows every time before they have a match. We also got to pour out questions from our curious minds to really get a good understanding of the history and modern life of the Maori people.