Sleeping in a what? A Marae. It was a night sleep like no other.
23 people who somehow all seem to be competing for the loudest snorer. Joy.
A Marae is a sacred place for the Maori people - the indigenous people of New Zealand. They hold weddings, funerals, serve as a general meeting place, and welcomes anyone into its meaningful frames. Each part of the Marae is there for a reason. Some portions being the backbone, or the heart, or the arms and legs.
We took a short ferry ride over to Waiheke Island, and went into this Loyola-planned trip thinking it was going to be a history lesson. Well, we did learn a ton of interesting things about a Marae and what it stands for and what its traditions are, but we had such a great time meeting Bianca and her crew and exploring the land with them.
Our first few hours we spent kayaking in a bay off the island. We played tag and a few of us ended up rocking ourselves off our own kayaks. The water was crystal clear, a bit chilly but refreshing. At first it was freezing but we got all warmed up out on the water as soon as the sun came out from hiding.
What better way to warm up than wine tasting? We visited Cable Bay vineyards and Thomas' Batch. Cable Bay has this cool wine cellar with a private dining area that JT rented out at one point and had a dinner at, and not to mention a beautiful view. Thomas' Batch was a very relaxed vineyard where we had the caretaker giving us all the history on each wine we tasted and referring to each of the different glasses as "her". We had the whole place to ourselves and got more than what we paid for. We even got to see a rainbow while on top of the highest vineyard on the island. Yes, I did walk out of each vineyard with two new bottles of wine.
On our second day, we got to weave together something that looked like a flower out of flax. We sat on the porch of the Marae and played games like Pukana! None of us will ever forget screaming that at each other. What about after flax weaving? Sight seeing and another vineyard! We visited Little Palm beach and collected a ton of beautiful seashells. Our final vineyard was a treat. We opted to go here on our last few hours on the island. I ended up ordering all six wines they had to offer and they decided to call that the wine tray. So, I had a platter of wine in front of me, all to myself. Yes, it felt great.