Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wellington by night

One of the best nights in New Zealand so far! Spent the afternoon wandering through town, desperately searching for tix to Broken Social Scene who were performing last night. Sadly, it had sold out months before and there didn’t seem anyway we would get in. So we went for a yummy dinner and then hit a nearby pub to watch the All Blacks match. It’s the Tri Nations cup at the moment (between South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand) and so last night, the All Blacks were playing host to the Australian Wallabies in Christchurch. It was so fun being in a packed bar watching grown men kick the crud out of each other!

The game started with the players performing the traditional Haka (this is the one they performed last night). The whole bar erupted and cheered when it was over! According to a local Haka expert, it's not so much a challenge as it is “a collective frenzy” and a united front.

The All Blacks Haka legend is a story of pursuit, escape and ultimate survival. It’s about the Ngati Toa Chief who was running away from people who were after him. Another chief and his wife hid him in a nearby pit. The chief’s wife stood over him and protected him. The words essentially break down as follows:

Am I going to die? Am I going to die?
Or will I live? Or will I live?
This person standing above me
Will they help me see the light of day once more?
One step out of the hole
The second
The third
The fourth
I have seen the sunshine again

Ultimately, the Haka is intended to collect a feeling of unity before going into battle with the expectation of not returning alive. Pretty intense stuff. I wouldn’t want to be on the other team (and by the looks on some of the Australian players' faces, neither do they!)

After the game, we decided to take our chances and see if the San Francisco Bathhouse (where Broken Social Scene was playing) had any last minute door sales available. And wouldn’t you know they had two! Turns out some guy had parked his car in the wrong spot and had to give up his tickets to deal with it. His loss was our gain! The show was AMAZING! The venue only fit about 200 people and there were lots of Canadians there (surprise surprise) but it turns out they’re hugely popular over here. Plus we ran into friends which was great. The music was amazing, the company even better! It was nice to get a taste of home. ☺

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