Rotorua
New Zealand's Leading City for Tourists
Rotorua's geysers and thermal pools first made it New
Zealand's famous spa resort, where Europeans could bathe in
healing waters.  And they would have stayed at this classic
Victorian-era hotel, still glorious to look at.    
Maori settled here, revering the Sacred Waters, and Rotorua
is a Maori stronghold for preserving their traditions, such as  
arts, crafts, dance performances, and tours of Rotorua's most
famous geysers, which are on Maori land.  (See the Video.)
Another Rotorua icon is the Agrodome Sheep Show.  Hard to
believe there are so many different breeds of sheep.
The Rainbow Springs Nature Park is where I took Kiwi
pictures under difficult conditions.  Since New Zealand's
national bird is nocturnal, very low light makes Kiwis think
this is night, during daytime.  About the size of a large
chicken, the Kiwi's classic pose is hunting for food in the
ground with its distinctive, long beak, an all-purpose tool
for smelling, digging, and eating.  Kiwi don't fly, and their
chicks are easy prey for many species introduced by
Europeans.     
Here is a better look at the Kiwi beak.  The Kiwi has strong
legs to support its tilted food gathering posture.  Once large
enough, the Kiwi can defend itself by kicking and using its
beak.  The Rainbow Springs Kiwi conservation program
hatches eggs, raising chicks until they reach a target weight
for return to the wild with a good chance to survive.
If you have a broadband connection, watch the Intrepid
Berkeley Explorer's free video of this trip, "North and South
Kiwi", by clicking on:
http://www.adventurepics.com/IBE/video1.aspx?VF=Kiwi.wmv