Had a good week. I'm not jealous at all of the weather you're enjoying.
It's still been raining most every day, but it's not really all that cold, and it's doing wonders for our garden, so I'm not fussed. I'm actually pretty stoked about our garden. The corn still hasn't come up, so that's slightly concerning, but the rest is doing really well. Got some potatoes planted this week, and the tomatoes have really taken off, as well as all of the silverbeet and bok choy. Too bad I'll probably be gone before any of it comes to fruition. Lucky buggers whoever comes into this flat next. Aside from the garden we've also got oranges, lemons, fiijoas, and peaches. Needless to say, I came in at the wrong time of the year.
Anyways, enough about that.
Being the small town that it is, we seem to get sucked into a lot of what the community is doing, and this past week was no different. The school hosted an athletics competition that included four other schools from the surrounding area and we were able to help out with it. It's been really cool helping with all of the stuff that goes on around here. It's really helped the community to see that we're not just a couple of stiff weird guys that walk around in formal clothes all of the time. I ended up helping with the high jump while my companion took care of the food for most of the day. The day finished off with an adult relay race that I actually ended up running in; in my full attire as well. A shirt and tie isn't the most comfortable thing to run in, but I did well enough, and apparently everybody was very impressed. Must have looked funny seeing the super white guy in church clothes burning it up the track.
Over the weekend we had Herewini Jones come through and it was really awesome, as usual. He held two different meetings at the chapel; one on Friday night and another one on Saturday morning. Friday he covered Whakapapa; he connected the Maori up through the islands and through the U.S., then over to the middle east. He spends a lot of time going through the islands and the states, so he used traditions, names, and all sorts of stuff to show the path that started with Lehi and ended in New Zealand. Then, since pretty much everyone here has some sort of European roots, he also connected the twelve tribes into Great Britain. He dissected the flags from that region and their meanings, then spent loads of time going through the Queen's crest. Turns out it's FULL of symbols coming from the twelve tribes. Never would have guessed. The stuff that really got me though was what he talked about on Saturday.
He taught us about the sacred stones that were placed in Waikato, Easter Island, and some place in Arkansas. Basically, when the Waka first landed, they placed stones on the land. They put a big stone in the middle, with four more stones placed slightly away from the middle stone and marking the four points of the compass, with the entrance to the circle of stones being exactly on the East side. Once they place the stones, they stood in a circle surrounding the middle stone and gave thanks, but also prayed to leave all that had happened in the past behind, and to make this new land one without bad feelings. In essence, they were required to have only good feelings as they stood in the circle, and to leave all bad feelings behind. Apparently there's a Native American tribe that does the same thing every year, but doesn't really understand what it's all about; they just do it because it's tradition. He also spoke about the Haka that the All Blacks do. He reckons it doesn't mean what everybody thinks it means though. He said a while back he was taken to speak with this old woman that wanted to pass on some of her knowledge. She told him that the Haka had been passed down through her ancestors as the original Karanga. A Karanga is a series of calls made when you go onto the Marae (The person calling you in is always a woman, as well). It's how they call you onto the holy ground and invite you into a meeting. She said that this Haka was the original Karanga called in the courts of heaven; the one that was called to begin the meeting that we all had before coming here. How cool is that? Makes me curious how much spiritual knowledge the Maori had. Think about how much you could learn without all of the distractions that we have to deal with today.
While I'm on the subject, I'll mention another interesting thing about their Maraes. The Marae is always built in a very specific way. There's always the main building (pretty sure it's called the Whare Nui) surrounded by an expanse of lawn, and then the outside fence. When you're called onto the Marae, you stand outside the fence, and walk in once the Karanga begins. I can't remember what it's called, but everything outside the fence is where the evil spirits can reside, but once you're inside the Whare Nui, there is only supposed to be good. So as you're called on, you think about your ancestors, but from what I understand you also let go of everything else.
Well. That should just about do it for today.