ArticleA Den of Dogs
The Lord of the Rings had, in a way, reimagined New Zealand, but by the time the movie was produced, the country had already been around for quite a while. Yet, natural caves known today as Waitomo have existed for just a little bit longer.
The Great Pyramid of Giza has survived for almost 28 centuries, and it is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Just to compare, Ruakuri cave began to form about 30 million years ago, and its stalactites alone – judging by their sizes – are more than 200 thousand years old! Slow growers, they have nevertheless wasted no time in experimenting with shapes – and step by step, 10,000 years by 10,000 years, they would fill and transform the space around them, giving food to…nobody’s imagination as yet. Ruakuri was well prepared for its first visitors because it so happened that it had not been discovered until an unspecified date in the 16th century when a Maori warrior incidentally fell into it as he was escaping a pack of wild dogs. The very dogs that gave the cave its name because “ruakuri” literally means “a den of dogs” in the Maori language.