[Rotorua] Ohinemutu Maori Village

I have been to Rotorua countless times and normally we do the usual same things when we come here. Check in at some accommodation, soak up at Polynesian Spa (family pools now that we have kids!), maybe take a walk around Redwoods forest. If we feel like splurging we will go up the gondolas and speed down on the luge a few times.

But not too long ago I stumbled upon a website that talked about a Maori village by the shores of Lake Rotorua called Ohinemutu. There’s a marae and a historic church just sitting pretty by the water. Of course I had to check it out.

So this turned out to be one of those dawn walks that I try to do every now and then. Actually I’ve been doing it more often lately due to chasing full moons and sunrises (more on that on my Instagram feed… check it out @yohophoto).

I took this photo below at some random carpark that happens to look out over the lake. Picturesque right? Look at all that steam… More on that later!

Sunrise over Ohinemutu
Sunrise over Ohinemutu

Heading to the village itself I parked by the lake and walked in. It was fairly quiet since it was very early. Turns out all the steam was just coming out of the pavings on the ground, classic Rotorua style. It all added to the charm of the area, it was very peaceful to just soak in the atmosphere.

Ohinemutu marae
Ohinemutu marae
Maori waharoa (entrance gate) near St Faith's Church
Maori waharoa (entrance gate) near St Faith’s Church

Below is the St Faith’s Church up close. What a lovely blend of Victorian style and local Maori influences.

St Faith's Church, Ohinemutu
St Faith’s Church, Ohinemutu

I reckon Ohinemutu is a hidden gem in Rotorua. Not sure if the locals want to keep it that way since it’s not really a touristy area; it’s simply an old neighbourhood where people still live by the beautiful Lake Rotorua.

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