Thursday, December 11, 2008

The good side of Diving, Tourism and Tame Iti

Hello Friends;

I have had another dive,this time in Whakatane, a town on New Zealand's East Coast of the North Island. I was there with Paul Morris , Research Editor of  Dive Planet . We were there to check out a dive charter operator and meet with other businesses.

We headed out of port and made our way to Whale Island, a 2o minute boat ride, with a crew of 5, Paul, myself and 2 young ladies from Norway and Sweden. As you can see from the photo they're an ugly bunch so it was a real sacrifice for us. All joking aside it was a very pleasant day, beautiful scenery, unusual rock formations, one was called Elephant Rock, abundant marine and bird life, we even had seals frolicking a few metres from the boat. Its great to see visitors to our country they're usually truely amazed by what they see, the accessability and the reception they recieve, we need more of you so come on down to New Zealand and I urge residents to check out your own country. It's easy to become complacent and overlook what we have.

That night we checked out a local restaurant called " The Office " which was reasonably good, but the highlight would have to be meeting Tame Iti.

Now many of you may have never heard of him, but those living in New Zealand would have. After recognising his fully tattooed face we introduced ourselfs and had a chat. Tame Iti is a very entertaining man, never one to shy away from baring his buttocks to visiting dignatories or any official representing the crown. An agent provocateur, activist and general pain in the arse for any incumbent government . He is always willing to perform for the camera to highlight the plight of his indigineous people. A case in point was when he blew a hole in our national flag with a shotgun. Yes he has done many disruptive things, but tonight he was sitting quietly eating fish and chips with his sausage-like fingers.

On one occasion, when Paul returned to the table from a cigarette break he was just in time to hear Tame Iti say to me "We can never sleep together, but we can share a meal together". Well , Paul has recounted that line many times since, which i have to say in that context, with food and wine around was rather disturbing. It was of course quite an innocent annalogy, he was speaking on behalf of his people and the government of the day , working through issues and coming to certain arrangements, but not so close as to lose their identity.
I am impressed by his political experiences and his ability to broker deals and negotiation skills, he does indeed have a good side, as the photo below shows. More about food next time, so ciao for now.

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