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New Zealand’s Maori Culture: Touring the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

Posted Aug 13 2012 7:10am
In front of the Treaty House at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

In front of the Treaty House at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

I’ve always been something of a history nerd, so when presented with the opportunity to tour the Waitangi Treaty Grounds about half an hour away from Kauri Cliffs, I lept. (This was after totally geeking out this morning over the Spice Girls live feed from the Olympics Closing Ceremony. I still have Spice Up Your Life in my head. Anyhoo.) The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is considered the birthplace of modern New Zealand: it’s where, in 1840, the Maori chiefs and the British government signed a treaty founding New Zealand (known as Aotearoa in Maori) as a British colony and giving the Maori the rights of British subjects.

Yesterday, I took 836 photos of scenery, but none of myself. Today, I overcompensated by taking a billion photos of myself standing in FRONT of scenery.

(Or, as I so articulately said in the video down below, the area where “the Maori signed the treaty with…the British?…um…the Europeans?” Doing Americans everywhere proud, I am.)

This video is SO boring that I actually included a disclaimer at the beginning. Consider yourselves forewarned.

Very Lord of the Rings, no? In front of a wishing well in Kerikeri. I wished for world peace. Just kidding! I wished for a cute, smart, successful hubby who likes traveling and neurotic blondes.

After the Treaty Grounds, my tour guide Tom and I stopped by Living Nature, a 25-year-old New Zealand range of 100% natural skincare, haircare and body care products that’s in 18 countries and has won scads of awards from magazines all over the world. Living Nature uses local New Zealand ingredients, such as Harakeke flax (which is hydrating, soothing and antiseptic) in their Hydrating Toning Gel, Manuka oil from the Manuka tree, and Hallosite Clay (one of the purest, finest clays on the planet) in their Deep Cleansing Mask to filter impurities from the skin. I left with some goodies, so I’m excited to try them out.

Awkwardly posing in front of the Stone Store in Kerikeri, where I learned about Shrek, the celebrity sheep

For lunch, we stopped by an adorable Kerikeri restaurant called The Pear Tree–where I had divine fish & chips and some local Pinot Gris–then walked next door to tour two of New Zealand’s oldest buildings: the Stone Store and Kerikeri Mission House. If you’re a history buff, they’re definitely worth a visit. Actually, even if you’re not a history buff, they’re worth a visit, since the Stone Store contains an awesome gift shop with tons of New Zealand goodies. (I forgot to bring money, otherwise I would have picked up this book all about the celebrity sheep Shrek.)


Shrek eluded shearing for 6 years before he was discovered living in a cave. He then became a Kiwi icon, met with the Prime Minister, flew on Air New Zealand, and was shorn on live TV. This was all news to me.

I’m leaving for Wellington tomorrow, and while I’m excited to see more of the country, I’m gutted to leave Kauri Cliffs. This place is so cozy and luxurious. Can’t I just move in?

Nadine Jolie in New Zealand

In the Kauri Cliffs lodge last night before dinner

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