After attending the opening of the business Kotahi Tourism by Hohepa Ruhe and the beautiful Melinda Loe. Being fascinated by the stories that were told that evening I was hooked enough to be the very first person to book on the tour. This morning was it, and so I dragged my family out to the elements to go and listen to stories of Maori in Sydney from first recorded visit in the 1700's. It was a blustery day, but since the weather forecast had promised it was going to be so we rugged up well.
The tour party was small enough (12 adults, 3 kids and 1 dog) that we could all hear Hohepa and Melinda spin their yarns, whilst meandering around the Rocks at a comfortable pace. The tour started at the Museum of Contemporary Arts and it was clear from the beginning that not only had there been a lot of research behind the scenes beforehand, but the story telling had been honed to an art.
The tour was an easy walk, weaving its way around the Rocks and ending up at Observatory Hill with a traditional waiata sung by our official tour guide Hohepa at the end. The history of Maori in Australia some two hundred years ago as respected traders was revealed. Stories of tikanga, tangihanga and te reo being used commonly in Rocks painted a picture of Maori being integral in the landscape of early Sydney.
Thanks to Melinda who was keeping the tour on track, making sure that we were all safe, timing was just right and that nothing was missed. The tour was a well balanced story of information, intrigue and entertainment. The tour party were fantastic and I'd personally like to thank the dog for entertaining our tamariki. The little ones kicked a bit of a fuss as their legs started to get tired, but the tour party weren't at all put off; followed by Mel and Hohepa's example, soon enough the whole party were helping them up stairs, carrying scooters, and generally jollying them along. The very sweet dog lady pitched in and probably saved the day by letting our tamariki walk and pat the dog.
Passion oozed from Hohepa as he told each story and noted each artifact or area where Maori had been involved at the Rocks. This was but one of the captivating things that would bring me back to take this tour again. There are more stories and I can't wait to hear them all.