Long Live the Queen!

Timing is everything in life, and Vaca 139’s was perfect.  How many other Global Volunteers got to watch a Rowing Regatta AND witness a Maori coronation?  Not many, I assure you!

As one might expect, the coronation took place at the palace. So what comes to mind when you hear word “palace”?

You ready?

I took this picture from the bus (I DO love those bus rides) the day before the big event. If you look closely, you can see the red plastic chairs that were being set up on the palace lawn for the expected guests.  Not quite Buckingham Palace, but a whole lot friendlier and far more inclusive.

The Palace
The Palace

As mentioned in an earlier post, there was a bit of disagreement over the line of succession, and protesters were anticipated. Not to worry–these guards were ready!

The guards
The guards

Okay, so maybe this protest wasn’t quite what you might have envisioned either. No riot police, no gas masks, no picketers with signs. In fact, if Willy hadn’t made friends with a Maori lady who translated, I would have figured that the shouting we heard was all part of the celebration.

The Maori are very inclusive, so all were welcome to join in the festivities. Old…
Visitors from the good ol US of A.

Willy and his new friends from Utah
Willy with his new friends from — can you guess? The white shirts are your hint. Utah, of course.

Climbing on walls, trees, chairs, the stage — all was allowed, as everyone tried to see over the crowd to catch a glimpse of the queen.
And here she is, dressed in gold, regally listening to the man serenading her.  I’m not revealing how I got that shot, but remember, climbing WAS allowed.

Isn’t it fascinating to see the juxtaposition of tradition and technology?

Tribal costume, complete with headset
Tribal costume, complete with headset
Cell phones, ipads, microphones--all capturing the action
Cell phones, ipads, microphones–all capturing the action

Sharing food is very much a part of the Maori culture, and this event was no exception. An enormous pig was presented to the queen. Sorry, I wasn’t able to get a shot of the pig–all I could see were the tops of the heads of the several men it took to carry the beast over to her. Not a very compelling image. So, instead, I took pictures of the “take out” packages that were being prepared for all guests.

Coconuts, chicken, pork, sweet potatoes, etc all packed into these biodegradable containers.  We could learn a lot from the Maori!
Coconuts, chicken, pork, sweet potatoes, etc all packed into these biodegradable containers. We could learn a lot from the Maori!

This will give you an idea of how massive an undertaking it was to feed the crowd.

Long tables filled with food
Long tables filled with food

Full disclosure, I haven’t gotten the hang of videoing under the best of circumstances, and this event was a challenge to capture. BUT the singing was beautiful–the crowd quite colorful and entertaining, so if you would like to experience the queen’s entry or listen to the flag raising ceremony, just click and make your way over to YouTube. You’ll feel as if you were there, after imbibing a large quantity of wine perhaps. Or maybe you’ll need to drink some first to flow along with my camera!

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I am intensely curious, with a spirit of adventure that is tempered by my very strong aversion to anything with potential to cause pain. I love travel, photography, reading, gardening, yoga, music and propelling myself through space (biking, dancing, walking, dancing while walking). I've never considered a lack of proficiency in any of the previous activities to be a hindrance, counting on abundant enthusiasm to make up for my shortcomings.

11 thoughts on “Long Live the Queen!”

    1. Thanks Janis, I felt like I was one of the luckiest people on the planet! The food throughout our stay was plentiful and very good–both at the school and at the coronation. Thanks so much for stopping by–I’m glad I was able to share the experience with you.


  1. Shelley, I have loved your NZ and Cook Island blogs! I didn’t have a chance to respond to the NZ blogs because I was swamped with work, but I can see you had a great time and the tour was one worth taking. I must do it myself. And imagine – such a tough assignment in the Cook Islands. Good for you! I am sure you are making a difference. 🙂

    I’m off to Ecuador next month and will send updates as I go.

    Enjoy the rest of your time in Vaca!


    1. Hi Nancy,
      Mike and I went to Ecuador right after I retired. I’m looking forward to revisiting via your blog. Will it be a road scholar trip again?

      I assume this means you weren’t able to get on the Antarctica trip this year, but will be going in jan 2014?

      I think we should aim for a common trip in 2015…be thinking about favorite places.


      1. HI Shelley,

        Yes, Ecuador is another Road Scholar trip – Amazon to the Galapagos, the Complete Ecuador Experience. It’s a new program and sounds interesting. Antarctica in January 2015. I’m still very excited about that program.

        Yes, let’s think of a common trip for some time in 2015. I’m open to pretty well everywhere! Enjoy the rest of your time in the Cook Islands!


  2. So…you never did tell me if the Jehovah’s Witnesses showed up to hold the private Bible study with you (that I tried to arrange for you for after I left)…I just wanted to repay the favor for you introducing me to my two new “Utah” friends. (They were actually pretty nice). After seeing your pictures of the food I regret not sticking around for the feast.


    1. Hi Willy,
      I’m not finished–still have to do Aitutaki, Walk with Doc and maybe a fond farewell. Maybe I came in contact with your friends…maybe I didn’t. You’ll just have to wait and see.
      I hope you don’t mind my using some of your great underwater shots in an upcoming blog. I will credit both you and your wonderful wife when I do so.


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