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