Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rotorua Rapids: Whitewater Rafting on Canada Day!

Raging rapids and what felt like a minute of near-drowning experience--what a way to celebrate Canada Day! Although I do have to say, New Zealand's similarities to Canada amaze me---from the gorgeous scenery, to the fun people, to the integrated spiritual culture of the native people (called Maoris) in the area. Despite popular belief, Kiwis say "eh" a lot more than we Canadians do!

Like any adventure activity, the Kiwis at the Raft-It!/Sledge-It! company in Rotorua, New Zealand, went through the safety procedures---ie: what to do if you fall in the water, how to hold on properly, etc. Like everywhere, you sign the disclaimer, knowing that it's completely safe. They even chanted the Maori "Kia Tor! Strong Boat, Strong Women, Strong Men" before we took off. Their prayer to the river and Mother Nature before we went down the falls sent a shiver down my spine.

E Hono Re Kororua Ku Te Atua - Glory to The Highest
He Maunga A Rongo Ki Te Whenua -
Peace on Earth
He WhakaRopaid Kia Tangata Katoa - Goodwill to All Mankind

7 metre falls Prayer:

E Te Awa E Tere Nei "Kaituna" - Greetings to the River Beside Us "Kaituna"
Tena Koe Papatuanuku Nga Mihi Aroha Kia Kot - Love to Mother Earth
Nga Taonga I Waiho Ae O Tatou Tupuna Tena Koutou - Thanks to Ancestors for Leaving Treasures
E Te Manuhiri Tuarangi Naumai Haere Mai - Distinguished Geugests, Welcome

E Te Atua - Verse asking for a Safe, Spirtual And Happy Journey Throughout Our Travels
Kaha Rawa
Tiro Mai Kia Matou E Hui Nei
Homai To Kaha
Te Wairua Tapu To Maramatanga
Mo Tenei Mahi

Of course, you never actually expect the raft to flip on a 7 metre waterfall, trapping you underneath the raft. Fighting under white water takes your breath away; that 30 second search for an air pocket was excruciating. Finally finding the rope and holding on for life, screaming "Help" at the top of my lungs, I emerged from the rapids, hearing the voices of our Kiwi rescuers. It was fun though!

This slideshow is my only proof that I fell down a waterfall, 7 metres into the Kaituna River. Check out the photos!

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