Maori culture in Rotorua is alive and thriving. Even before our Great Grandparent’s time, Te Arawa Maori have been the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) of Rotorua. To honour their history, ancestors and Papatūānuku (Mother Earth), Te Arawa genuinely offer manaakitanga (hospitality) to guests to promote curiosity and respect for a culture that is little-known around the world. The best way to culturally enrich your visit to Rotorua is with a traditional Maori experience – a few of our favourite choices are listed below.
Located in the geothermic Te Whakarewarewa Valley, where geysers shoot through the clouds and mud bubbles from deep within the earth’s core, Te Puia is an enlightening experience. You will walk in the footsteps of Te Arawa nearly 700 years before your time and hear stories passed down from direct descendants of original Te Arawa. As the home to the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, a kiwi enclosure plus over 500 natural geothermal wonders, Te Puia offers an unforgettable experience of Maori culture in Rotorua.
‘Get off the beaten track into the heart of Maori NZ.’ With small, intimate tours, Nativ Connectionz offers a personal insight into New Zealand Maori culture. Guests take the scenic route to the coastal town of Whakatane, New Zealand’s longest continually occupied settlement, rich in Maori heritage and home to the Ngāti Awa people. Here you will learn to cook a hangi in a traditional Maori earth oven, get up close and personal with Maori ancestors at sacred sites along the Awa Korero River and soak in a sulphuric mineral pool – a tāonga (ancestral treasure) to locals.
Kaitiaki Adventures Mt Tarawera Guided Hike
Standing sentinel high above Rotorua, Mt Tarawera is revered by local Maori and offers a unique adventure for those who come and explore it on a guided tour with Kaitiaki Adventures. It is best known for the 1886 eruption, which destroyed the ‘8th wonder of the world’ – the Pink and White Terraces – and wreaked havoc and death upon many Maori. Mt. Tarawera is now a sleeping giant, holding spectacular 360 degree vistas, ancient Maori burial grounds and a haunting history best experienced with a Kaitiaki Adventures guided tour from a direct Te Arawa descendant.
Make you don’t miss experiencing a taste of Maori culture when you visit Rotorua.