Day 27 of 164 days Around the World Cruise
Nestled on the Bay of Plenty, the port of Tauranga is watched over by the dramatic Mt. Maunganui, an extinct volcano that helped shape this spectacular region of white-sand beaches and azure waters. The Māori arrived here in the 13th century, followed by the British 600 years later. Today, the city is home to a thriving cultural scene and stunning vistas of mountains rising from the surrounding waters. Tauranga is best known as the gateway to the bubbling mud pools, thermal fields of Rotorua. The local Mãori believe this cauldron-like region to be a gift of fire from the gods. The dramatic phenomenon derives from sulfurous steam rising from within the earth through deep crevces.
Whakarewarewa (reduced version of Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao, meaning The gathering place for the war parties of Wahiao, often abbreviated to Whaka by locals) is a Rotorua semi-rural geothermal area in the Taupo Volcanic Zone of New Zealand. This was the site of the Māori fortress of Te Puia, first occupied around 1325, and known as an impenetrable stronghold never taken in battle. Māori have lived here ever since, taking full advantage of the geothermal activity in the valley for heating and cooking.
Whakarewarewa has some 500 pools, most of which are alkaline chloride hot springs, and at least 65 geyser vents, each with their own name. Seven geysers are currently active. Pohutu Geyser, meaning big splash or explosion, erupts approximately hourly to heights of up to 30 m (98 ft).
Haka are a variety of ceremonial dances in Māori culture.Haka are often performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. Haka have been traditionally performed—by both men and women—for a variety of social functions within Māori culture. They are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions, or funerals.
Haka, traditional dances of the Māori people, have been used in sports in New Zealand and overseas. Haka are performed to challenge opponents before matches. The dance form has been adopted by the New Zealand national rugby union team, the "All Blacks", and a number of other New Zealand national teams perform before their international matches; some non-New Zealand sports teams have also adopted haka.