Seeing a traditional Maori village is one of the best ways to get an insight into their fascinating history. Here are two ideas for Maori cultural hotspots to try on your next Rotorua adventure.
Aotearoa New Zealand is home to a plethora of wonderful cultural activities, thanks to the efforts to pass on traditional knowledge by the local Maori people. It is believed the first Maori people came to this beautiful country around the 13th Century from East Polynesia, and since that time they have shaped New Zealand into the culturally rich landscape it is today.
Rotorua, or 'Roto-Vegas' as it is often affectionately known, is home to loads of spectacular options for a cultural holiday. Within short driving distance to the city are two of the country's leading Maori experiences – the Tamaki Maori Village and Mitai Maori Village.
At the Mitai Maori Village you get the ultimate Maori cultural experience. See warriors paddle their waka (traditional canoe) down the Wai-o-whiro stream then sit in awe of a high-energy concert involving songs, dance and a spectacular haka. There is also an in-depth talk about the traditional hangi, including the option to see it lifted from the earth, as well as numerous talks on traditional Maori tattoo art (Ta Moko) and other aspects of early Maori culture. Before you leave you are led on a breathtaking guided tour of the Rainbow Springs Nature Park, including an unforgettable look at New Zealand glowworms in their natural habitat.
The award-winning Tamaki Maori Village is just a short 15 minute drive from Rotorua set on a canvas of lush forest and luminous greenery. After a formal welcoming ceremony involving intimidating warriors performing the traditional haka war dance, you will be taken on a tour through their authentic-looking Maori village from a time when New Zealand's only inhabitants were Maori. After learning about the traditions of a village from their knowledgeable villagers, you'll see a live cultural performance and then indulge in a mighty hangi – a traditional method of cooking food underground.