We were given a warm welcome to the village, with a group lunch and after viewing the hot springs we were entertained with the dancing and with a short description of the stories and traditions behind each one, we grew to understand the culture and history of these proud New Zealand people.
The group leader relaying the history of her people, told us the story of the lovers who were on separate islands. The woman swam to the the island where her man was and they are the original leaders of the Whakarewarewa people.
In another story, she told us how the early occupants of the area, originally lived on the coast, the land was very fertile, but neighbouring tribes were always raiding, rampaging, raping and killing. So the tribal king sent a group of explorers up the river and they found beautiful lakes and fertile land, Lake Rotoraua and Lake Rotoiti. The whole tribe then packed up and moved, in their huge canoes up the river as far as they could go and then they carried their canoes and goods up mountains until they reached “the promised land”.
These stories were relayed in their dancing and singing.