Matamata – The gate to the Shire

In touch with the Maori culture

Whenever Andi begins to talk about hitchhiking in New Zealand, Tina knows exactly what this story is going to be. It is the story which you never dared to hope and which is so lasting that you have to tell them, no matter if Tina hears it for the 10th or the 100th time.
The story begins in Matamata, the small town in New Zealand which is home of the Lord of the Ring film set of Shire. Here was our original goal. We wanted to stroll through the front porches of Frodo and Sam, drink a decent beer in the tavern and see the details of the film „Lord of the Rings“ with our own eyes.

„All we have to decide is what to do
with the time that is given to us.“
– J. R. R. Tolkien –

More about our visit to Hobbiton you can find here:
https://anti-itchyfeet.com/portfolio/hobbiton-zu-gast-im-auenland/

After we had booked our tour for the next day in the iSite, the information center for the area, we were looking for a suitable place to stretch our thumbs. We wanted to go to the nearest campsite to build our tent.

Of course it did not take long and an old Mercedes stopped next to us. In the car the Maori woman Evelin sat and signaled us that we should throw our stuff in the rear. We did it and we were on the way. After a short small talk we learned that we were the first hitchhiker in her 62-year-old life. Normally she would never come up with the idea of picking up two strangers from the street, but at that moment, her spirit got in touch with her and said, „That’s all right, the two look very nice.“

– Thanks spirit! –

So we talked a lot and shortly before arrival at the campsite, Evelin revealed to us that it would actually be much too uncomfortable today in the tent and that her spirit just told her that she should take us home that night and we could sleep in her cozy bungalow.

– Thanks spirit! –

About Evelin you must say that she has a very strong connection to her Maori- culture and she lives on the old family basis together with many other members of her family. This gave us a very deep and personal insight into the history and traditions of her culture. While walking across the fields and meadows, we passed two very important places of each Maori tribe. In the Marae, the meeting house, the entire tribe comes together during ceremonies or the death of a member. Here they eat together, mourn and celebrate.
The family cemetery is very close by. Here all family members find their last rest. In contrast to us, the dearest objects of the dead are laid down on the graves. So we saw a child’s toy and a mechanic’s tool. All items are placed here so that they are available to the dead even after his death. At dinner with her husband we learned more about the history of her tribe and even learned a few words in the language of the Maori.

After we had talked about our plans to go to Taupo, Evelin grabbed the phone and called her sister. After a short conversation she turned to us smiling and told us that her sister would give us a bed for a few days and we should meet her son in law at his Irish pub.

– Thanks Karma! –

We will tell you about our visit in Taupo later.

Salute from here and now,
Tina and Andi from Itchy Feet

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