Day 4

Jason trying his hand at milking a cow at the Agrodome
On today’s adventure, our group started out at the Agrodome in Rotorua. The Agrodome is an educational farm that teaches spectators about the different sheep breeds in New Zealand and around the world. Here, they offer an interactive show that displays the 19 different sheep breeds throughout the world. Spectators also get to witness sheep shearing, and feel freshly sheered wool. The host of the show brought volunteers from the audience up on stage where they were able to milk a Jersey cow and feed lambs. Students from SDSU were able to participate in volunteer opportunities. Jason was able to try his hand at milking a cow. Hattie, Megan, Brandon, and Kacey were all able to assist in feeding the lambs on stage. He ended the show by bringing out a different variety of herding dogs. When the show ended, SDSU students were able to interact with the animals from the show and even watch a herding exhibit outside.

SDSU student volunteers helping feed baby lambs at the Agrodome
The next stop on today’s adventure was Te Puia- the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.  Here, we were able to see some of Rotorua’s natural wonders of geysers and mud pools.  We also got to attempt looking at the New Zealand kiwi bird. A few group members were able to find the bird. Throughout the tour, the tour guide also informed us about the Maori culture and its importance to New Zealand history. We also got to tour two of the four schools. We got to tour the wood carving school and watch students hand craft Maori art. The second school was the weaving school. At the weaving school the group looked at arts and crafts that were made by former students. Our tour guide also showed us how to collect fiber from plants used in making rope and weaving.
Geysers at Te Puia- the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute

Students speaking with dairy farmer on today’s farm tour
The third stop was at Tumunui Maori Trust. This specific dairy has a 50/50 share milking system. The breed of cattle currently milked on this farm is a Kiwi cross. This breed is a cross between a Jersey and Friesian cow, creating the Kiwi crossbred used throughout New Zealand. Tumunui Maori Trust uses all New Zealand genetics on its cows. The farm milks 1,800 head, using a 60 cow rotary system. This specific system milks 250-300 cows per hour and is operated by a single employee. Currently, this farm is on the off milking season and will start milking again in July. This farm produces annually 250,000 liters of milk solids. This specific farmer was a board member of Fonterra. Fonterra is a New Zealand dairy co-op, a similar version of this co-op would be Land-o’-Lakes. Work week for the staff at Tumunui Maori Trust is six days of work with a two day break period. 

SDSU students learning how to preform the Haka
The last stop of our day was the Maori Hangi. This is the traditional Maori village, in which we learned Maori culture and ate an authentic Maori feast. Part of our cultural experience was going around to different parts of the village where tribal members demonstrated different Maori traditions. Here we learned Maori language, dances, games, and history. SDSU students participated throughout these demonstrations. Rob served as our tribal chief throughout this experience and was our fearless leader. When we arrived at the Maori village, we were greeted with the traditional Haka dance. We were not allowed to smile, laugh, or make noise as it was seen as disrespectful during this type of dance. It is tradition for a tribe to perform the Haka before you are welcomed into their village. Later in our tour, we were able to enjoy multiple other traditional Maori dances. We also had the opportunity to witness how our food was prepared in the traditional underground oven. We then later were able to sample the food prepared. After dinner, the Maori people helped us to celebrate Katelyn Johnson’s birthday with singing and a cake.
Chief Rob preforming the Haka

Katelyn Johnson holding her birthday cake

On our ride back to the hotel, our bus driver kept us entertained with karaoke type song and comedy that kept our spirits high. Overall today was an adventurous day filled with lots of rain and learning opportunities.
Scott and Angel