Monday, February 4, 2008

Going Nowhere. Just a Tourist. Downtown Rotorua.

My first day off, unless you count the ride from the camp ground to town. I spent the day as a tourist in Rotorua.

After having a morning cafe latte and internet session at the Rotorua Starbucks to check today's mail and upload yesterday's journal and photos ("free" broadband is handy, if rare), I took off for a ride around the waterfront and to the Government park, where the famous Victorian Baths are, now the Rotorua Museum.

I took a look at the Te Papaioru Marae, which is right on the waterfront, asking permission to enter, of course. The two "aunties" sitting on a deck near the entrance seemed surprised that I asked, but were grateful nonetheless. They had a Dogue de Bordeaux on the deck with them, which they said has become rather popular in New Zealand of late. I expect is is because many of the so-called fighting breeds have been banned, but the Dogue de Bordeaux, although it is historically a fighting dog, is not vicious.

It is a small marae, but has a handsome meeting house and a Maori-decorated chruch. It is notas nice as the one in Tikitiki on the East Cape. Unfortunately, taking photos inside was prohibited. It had an interesting modern window which was clear and looked out directly on the lake. It had an engraving of Christ wearing a Maori feather clock, giving the appearance of walking on water into the church

From Rotorua

After the marae and church, I rode along the waterfront to Government Park and the Rotorua Museum. The museum, which also prohibited photographs inside, was originally built as a grand medicinal baths, sponsored by the government, which functioned as such up until the 60's when the Dept of Health finally considered them a non-scientific treatment. One part of the museum was was about the history of the baths. I especially liked the "electric" bath treatment where they put you in a tub of sulphrous mineral water and applied an alternating current--what an idea!

The other half of the museum was used to for exhibits of local history and art. They had a fairly extensive exhibit of the Tarawera Eruption of 1886 and the destruction of the Pink and White Terraces. There was also a very nice exhibit of the Taonga of the Te Arawa .

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