[Rotorua] Tamaki Maori Village

Rotorua is as good a place as any to learn a bit more about Maori culture in New Zealand. And if you’re really keen you can do one of the immersive cultural experiences that is available, such as Tamaki Maori Village (https://www.tamakimaorivillage.co.nz).

Embarrassingly I don’t know where it is but there’s a good explanation for this. I believe that in most cases you get picked up at your accommodation to get to the venue which is located just out of Rotorua.

And what a beautiful venue it is. Tamaki is a traditionally built village set in native bush. The event itself lasts for about 3.5 hours with a hangi meal at the end. As you arrive you are greeted by this gate.

Beautifully carved Maori entrance gate
Beautifully carved Maori entrance gate

We start with a powhiri. There’s a bit of preamble explaining Maori visiting customs. We (the visitors) are supposedly a visiting tribe, so one or two lucky tourists are selected to represent us as our chiefs. They are then supposed to do a hongi (the Maori greeting where your noses touch and you maintain eye contact at all times) and we are then welcomed into the village.

Maori chief greets us
Maori chief greets us
Our chiefs being welcomed by the village
Our chiefs being welcomed by the village
Food is ready! Chief welcomes us into the hangi feast
Chief is making sure we are having a good time

There are several ‘workshops’ in the village where they show you how to do traditional weaving, play stick games, and even learn the haka! I gave this a go, and being a tiny Asian man I don’t think I look that impressive.

Traditional Maori dance
Traditional Maori dance
Traditional Maori dance
Traditional Maori dance

The hangi meal was very filling and tasty. Sorry no photos because after 3 hours of interactive learning I was starving!

All in all Tamaki Maori Village is a good option to spend an evening if you are looking for a cultural experience in Rotorua.

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