February 1, 2009

Aotearoa, here we are

We have been in New-Zealand for 2& 1/2 weeks now, it's a very beautiful and interresting country. It's Noah's first time here and my 3rd. 
The purpose of our trip was to visit our friends Piripi and Michelle and be at their wedding. We arrived on the 19th (+23h to Tahiti) and Michelle picked us up at the airport. We drove to Tauranga where Piripi was waiting for us. He is a crew member on the traditional-modern double hull canoe, Te Aurere (teaurere.org.nz).
We ate with the crew at Whareroa marae(ancestrial meeting house), with 50 other people related to Tauranga marae, it was impressive.
We stayed at Sean and Ange's house for the night and walk around Maunganui little town. It's a really cute place, nice to hang out and good surf.

Tuesday Jan 20th :
We drove to Gisborne where the ceremony was going to be hold. The whole week was intense, everything had to be perfect for THE day. 
Gisborne is a very nice town, around 30,000 people live there, mostly maori, most of them live in the town, and beach side properties belong to rich Kiwis. The beaches are really long like in Florida but the sand is hard and it makes a perfect running ground for everybody. That's where Captain Cook arrived for the first time in NZ guided by the Tahitian Tupaia in 1769.

Saturday Jan 24th:
The wedding day, the most important day of a woman's life.... isn't it ! The wedding was perfect, held in a big  and beautiful ocean view garden. It was really hot and I was quite happy about it. I prepared a poisson cru (tahitian raw fish) for the party and everybody liked it, ouf ! Each family and friend's group sang or performed a haka (traditional dance).

Sunday Jan 25th
We have been very well taken care by Michelle and Piripi. We pretty much lived like princes in very beautiful houses they rented for the wedding. 
In the afternoon we had a barbecue party at the beach house where Mich and Piripi were staying. I made some flower crowns (hei) and taught an otea ( tahitian fast dance) to Michelle and her friend. 

Monday Jan 26th:
We moved to Moana's house in town to stay there untill we got our wetsuits, indispensable for our world tour. The water is REALLY cold.
Moana is maori, and with Tahitian Raipoia Cowan Brightwell she reintroduced the woman waka ama (polynesian canoe) in NZ ten years ago. She's teaching at a maori only language school. 
She has a big heart and made me feel like I was home, I was really sad to leave her.

Wednesday Jan 29th :
We got our wetsuit and left Gisborne. We cross the North island going from east to west, and we arrived at Raglan around midnight, 6 hours driving. We cross Raglan town center "in the blink of an eye", as Noah says. Then we drove around looking for a place to sleep in the car. I slept the whole drive from Gisborne, and I woke up when we arrived in Raglan. It was weird to arrive and visit Raglan in the dark, I felt like I was in a movie. I couldn't understand that Noah wasn't tired at all and was looking for the waves at this time of the night, I guess the coffee was really strong. We end up coming back in town for more security for our first night in the car. 
Raglan is a very small town but it is getting bigger very fast. It has gotten a lot bigger in the past 2 years. It's a hippie-surf town where everybody enjoys their quite life, a lot of camper vans and camping cars are going there and most of the people we had around us where sleeping in their car. 

Thursday Jan. 30th
We drove around and found the spot following some surfer cars. There was 3 of them, one after the other one. The waves looked good and a lot of people were in the water at 6am.
We decided to surf Whale bay, Noah went first and I stayed in the car to watch for our stuff. Then I went out. It was really fun. I had to wear a wetsuit for the first time in my life and it felt a bit too tight on my neck and my shoulder. First step in the water : my feet were cold and the rest of my body was still dry, it is kind of weird but I wasn't cold at least. I caught a wave easily. Riding it with a wetsuit seems to be different but it's not too bad. Just tight on my shoulders and exhausting.
We hang out the rest of the day around the surf spot and went in to town. I felt like I was visiting a different town from the one I saw the night before.

Friday Jan 31th. 
We slept at Manu bay in our car. It's really cool and fun to sleep in a car, quite a small place but I like it and enjoy it for now. Our window view changes when ever we want and we can see the stars before we sleep... the only "con" is the cold shower.
We hang out in town and at Manu bay. Noah surfed a little bit. I stayed in the car, the crowded small waves and cold water doesn't really attract me....

Saturday Feb. 1st
We decided to go back to Auckland to hang out with Michelle and Piripi. They live there in a very cosy and cute house. Michelle is working at Maori TV and Piripi works for himself.
Sean and Ange where there for the weekend and we were really happy to see them again. 
We had lunch together and Noah went to sleep early. 

Sunday Fseb 2nd :
We hang out at the house till 11 and went to town  for a visit. The city center didn't change since my last trip couple years ago. Walking around reminded me of when I was studying here for 3 months to improve my english. The harbour changed a lot and got bigger. It is full of asian people and Noah felt like he was in China, just like I did when I came here for the first time.
Driving around Auckland is really hard, all the streets change name at least 3 times and it's really easy to get lost.

Monday Feb 3rd
I went to Maori TV and hung out with the sports reporter the whole day. We went to see the Kiwis (guys) and Kiwis ferns (woman) 2008 Rugby league world champions.
Then I hung out at the TV station for the rest of the day.
Soulan, one of my best friends in NZ, came to pick me up to go for dinner. He is a professional boxer and also work as a personnal trainer. I met him when I was studying here and I was really happy to see him again.

Tuesday Feb 4th
We left the house at 4am to go to Raglan. We arrived there around 7 and the waves were good. It got bigger during the day, 4-6ft and we had two sessions. It was really fun, crowded and the locals were a bit aggressives but that's how it usually goes...
We had our one dollar ice cream and slept in the parking lot in front of the spot.

Wednesday Feb 5th:
The waves got smaller, so we went  into town. I walked around and took some pictures, and met people. 
Karla is a kiwi girl, with 5 other artist they own a shop where they sell their pieces. It's a really interesting place to visit, it's called Jet. 
Then I met Ardré and Antonio. They are maori artists, he is a poet and she is a singer. They are really nice and they invited us at their place. 
We left Raglan because the waves were not so good anymore and we had to get ready for Waitangi day,the most important maori holiday of the year in New Zealand.

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