I recently had the chance to travel around the central North Island, and one of the places I visited friends was Mangakino, on Lake Maraetai. This lake is one of many in the area generating the nation's power, and there's a dam at each end. It's part of the Waikato River waterway and is fed from Lake Taupo, the country's largest. The day we were there, the school held its end of year prizegiving, which we were invited to. This Area School covers all 13 years of education and the event included hymns in Maori (which everyone knew without any words being provided) as well as Kapa Haka presentations of traditional song and dance. I haven't been able to transfer my own photos to a computer yet, but in the meantime, please enjoy this similar Haka from the same school hall.
Visiting rural and small-town New Zealand is almost like a trip back in time. It is the complete opposite of the fast-paced, noisy city. Every bend in the road opens up new vistas, each of which would deserve at least an hour's contemplation in their own right. But eventually we always come to a place to stop and rest a while.