Rotorua is an area steeped in Maori history and cultural significance – no visit to Rotorua is complete without an exploration of the rich Maori culture. The Te Arawa tribe have been welcoming and guiding visitors through this geothermal wonderland for over 160 years.
Mitai Maori Village
In a tranquil natural bush setting, their performances take you back in time when the ancient Maori customs & traditions were part of everyday life. You will learn a great deal with songs sung and tales and legends being told to you.
Enjoy a traditionally ground cooked hangi feast & after your meal go for a bush walk and see if you can spot the glow worms.
Te Puia & Te Po
The Te Puia complex also offers a multitude of Maori experience. See the massive Pohutu geyser erupt up to 30 metres into the air, marvel at the Ngamokaiakoko mudpool as it bubbles at around 95 degrees Celsius, walk through a recreated Maori village and view New Zealand’s national bird, the endangered Kiwi. Observe the traditional art of weaving in the Te Rito weaving house, be entranced by a fully-carved meeting house (one of the few in New Zealand open to everyone) and see master carvers at work at the Te Puia carving school. The Te Puia Café has everything from hangi lunch baskets to traditional New Zealand ice creams and there is also an excellent gallery and gift store onsite.
Te Po is Te Puia's evening cultural experience. It is a feast, cultural storytelling, entertainment & Hangi Meal.
Tamaki Maori Village
Visit the popular Tamaki Maori village, a detailed replica of a pre-european Maori village set deep within the forest, where you will receive a traditional welcome, experience real cultural ceremonies, hear legends and stories, enjoy traditional Maori song and dance and feast on a hangi (traditional maori meal, cooked in an earth oven). Tamaki Maori Village picks guests up from our park and will drop you off after your excellent three-and-a-half hour evening experience.
Step back in time at Buried Village – the excavated site of Te Wairoa village, buried by ash, mud and lava by the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. Buried Village is a fascinating look into Maori life as it was hundreds of years ago. Stroll around scenic pathways that link each excavated site, wander amongst lush native bush and view the magnificent Wairere Falls. Tours are available daily, guided by descendants of Tuhourangi, the original inhabitants of Te Wairoa. The Museum of Te Wairoa takes visitors on an emotional journey telling the fascinating story of the village, the voyages to the Pink and White Terraces and the eruption of Mt Tarawera – New Zealand’s largest natural disaster.
There are a number of other companies who can immerse you in many aspects of the Maori culture and we are happy to recommend those experiences that suit your budget, your style and how much time you have.