Don't Miss these 3 Maori Cultural Experiences in Rotorua

December 2, 2013

If you want to immerse yourself in Maori history and culture during your trip to New Zealand, then one of our Maori Culture Experience excursions could be just what you're looking for! We have 3 different packages that offer a peek into Maori culture - from art to food, traditional dance and the ancient arts of carving, weaving, and tattoo. Visitors can choose from a Tamaki Maori Village visit, the Te Puia Daytime Combo, or Te Po - an Indigenous Evening Experience combo. You may even want to take in all 3!

Maori warrior performing a traditional haka


Tamaki Maori Village

This three-hour expedition highlights the core of Maori culture and tradition through a visit to a traditional village. Tamaki village is nuzzled in a lush forest setting on the edge of Rotorua, far from the noise and bustle of the city. You will be collected from your accommodation and taken to the village for this evening tour. As part of the experience, your group will nominate a chief to represent the group and your guide will explain the protocol for the evening, including insights into Maori traditions and customs. After a traditional Maori welcome, visitors are led into the village where they will learn about the specialised art forms and Maori traditions. In the village, you'll discover displays of Maori weaponry, women practicing weaving and creating native crafts, and villagers telling stories of their ancestors and proud history. Guests can also witness the age old art of ta moko and taniko (Maori tattooing) which is still practiced in the traditional way with bone chisels. 

Visitors will then enjoy a hangi, a traditional Maori feast that is cooked for several hours underground with scorching hot rocks. Guests are entertained at the ancestral meeting house with a cultural show which includes the haka, Poi dance, and Maori waiata (song). After the closing ceremony guests are taken back to their accommodation.

Te Puia Daytime Combo

This combo merges a guided tour of Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley, one of New Zealand's most spectacular geothermal displays, and a cultural performance that incorporates a personal encounter with the Maori people, culture, and land. The tour begins at the main entrance, which is flanked by 12 Maori carvings that depict the 12 spiritual guardians. After a narrative of how the Maori arrived in Rotorua, guests are taken on a guided tour of Te Whakarewarewa, a rugged valley filled with steaming vents, erupting geysers, and boiling mud pools.

The valley boasts more than 500 pools and 65 geysers. These active geysers surround the famous Pohutu, a geyser which in English translates to 'big splash' or 'explosion'. Pohutu can shoot up to an impressive 30 metres in the air, as often as 20 times a day. After this, guests will visit the Carving and Weaving Schools where the art of carving is taught by master carvers and the weaving school trains students in flax weaving. The combo also includes a 45 minute cultural performance that showcases Maori song and dance.

Te Pō Combo - Indigenous Evening Experience

You may wish to enjoy this evening experience after the Te Puia Daytime Combo. It is an unforgettable evening of Maori culture, food and art, which includes a guided tour through the carving and weaving schools, where you will see our masters at work. The tour also takes guests through the award winning exhibition gallery and to the Kiwi House, where you will have the chance to see New Zealand's treasured bird up close. Witness a traditional Maori welcome, known as a powhiri (a wero or "warriors challenge"), and a kappa haka concert. These unique and traditional shows are followed by a delicious hangi, the traditional Maori barbeque. Guests can then check out the hundreds of mud pools and geysers strewn about the illuminated valley under the night stars.

All of these tours can be booked through our personalised travel service. Please contact us to learn more or make a booking!

Have you had any Maori cultural experiences in Rotorua? Perhaps you have visited one of the attractions above? If you have, we would love to hear about your experiences below.


Image: Haka by RaviGogna, CC-BY-2.0

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