Northland: Sidharth Malhotra's adventures in New Zealand are continuing, but the actor is also making efforts to establish a spiritual connect with the country's Maori culture. For this, he visited over 2,000-year-old tree Tane Mahuta to take its blessings.
Just like India has many sacred places, the Tane Mahuta in the Waipoua forest -- three hours north of Auckland in the Northland region of New Zealand -- holds deep significance for the Maori people here.
The name Tane Mahuta literally translates to 'The Lord of the Forest', and with its towering presence, the tree -- the largest of the Kauri variety -- surely justifies its name.
Sidharth was taken on a guided spiritual and educational journey across the forest by Footprints Waipoua.
For Sidharth, the visit to Tane Mahuta was spiritually invigorating due to the peace and tranquility that the forest has to offer. He was intrigued by the story behind the tree, the forest and its significance for the Maori people here.
"As soon as you set foot in the forest you know that you are in a special place with a lot of history and culture," Sidharth said.
Sidharth was also given a beautiful handcarved pounamu or greenstone. Pounamu is a sacred Maori stone that is very precious and significant within Maori culture.
"The pounamu given to me is absolutely beautiful. I know how much this stone means to the Maori people, I will treasure and cherish forever," he added.
The piece is carved by Lewis Gardiner, who is regarded as one of the most innovative and respected Maori pounamu artists of his generation.
For Sidharth, who is the newly appointed brand ambassador of New Zealand in India, a Toki - Adze style pounamu was made. It symbolises prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power and charisma; and the actor was more than happy to wear it.
Sidharth also experienced his first official Hongi -- a traditional Maori greeting in which two people press their nose and forehead at the same time to another person when they meet.
The actor was so consumed by the peace in the forest -- where the only sounds were those of birds -- that he insisted on staying there longer than expected.
Sidharth is here on an eight-day trip, and he has been having different adventures and experiences everyday. But the visit to the Tane Mahuta was unique for him.