Hello Mai! Thank you so much for sending me some funds for a nice meal. I decided to take in the Tamaki Maori Experience which featured a hangi meal (a meal cooked under the earth with hot stones). Our shuttle picked us up from the hostel and a host on the bus started by teaching us some of the Maori language (Kia Ora means "To Life" and is used as a greeting, a thanks, and a goodbye) as well as the etiquette for being welcomed into a Maori village and its chief.
Right from the start the experience was amazing. While villagers chanted in the background, Maori warriors dressed in full regalia and carrying traditional weapons came out to perform a traditional welcome. This involves lots of fierce eye-bulging, guttural grunts, and threatening swings and jabs of various weaponry. Then we were walked into a replica village to learn about different aspects of ancient Maori life like wood carving and more weapon wielding (Can you tell that I was pretty fascinated with the warriors?)
Following our village visit was a full out concert with dancing, drumming, and a an exciting haka or Maori war dance. And finally, dinner! I had my fill of potatoes, carrots, kumara, lamb, pasta, salad, mussels, fish, chicken, and a dessert of fruit, kiwi pavlova, and steamed bread pudding. All of it, crazy good. It was a great evening and thanks again for making it easy on my wallet! Kia Ora!