Experience the best of the Maori world with cultural performances, ta moko tattoo experts, and healthy and delicious traditional foods.
The spirit of Manaakitanga (hospitality) is alive and well in the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua - famous for its natural hot springs, shooting geysers, bubbling mud pools, and the local indigenous people who live amongst the geothermal activity and use the boiling water to cook, bathe and warm their homes.
Places like Te Puia, Mitai Village and Tamaki Village offer cultural experiences that combine dramatic performances – singing, dancing and haka (war dances) – with delicious Māori food. The owls and glowworms of the surrounding native forest warm this truly spiritual area.
At Whakarewarewa you can see how early Māori used the geothermal waters of this area to cook, bathe and do washing. Toss a gold coin into the river and watch as local children dive into the water to retrieve it, as their ancestors have done for generations. Enjoy the interactive Rotorua Museum, or visit Ohinemutu Village and see beautiful carved meeting houses and a Tudor-style church decorated with Māori art.
The Te Arawa tribe of the region started the tourism industry in New Zealand in the 19th century when visitors first began travelling to the area to experience the healing qualities of the thermal waters and to visit the “Eighth Wonder of the World” - the magnificent Pink and White Terraces which were tragically destroyed in the 1886 eruption of Mt Tarawera.
Today the Māori people continue to play a major part in the local tourism industry,opening up their homes and villages to guests and sharing their food, song and dance; arts including carving, weaving, tattoo, and weaponry; holistic knowledge such as Māori spirituality, massage and the medicinal use of native plants; as well as local history and legends.
Take an historical tour of a living Māori village, paddle Lake Rotorua in a beautifully carved canoe, enjoy a delicious hangi feast cooked in the steaming ground, and be captivated by the powerful song and dance of a passionate people. For a more intimate experience, stay the night in an intricately carved traditional meeting house, or enjoy a home cooked meal with a local family.
Rotorua is home to some of the best contemporary Māori artists in the country. Get a Māori tattoo, or take home a stunning piece of artwork or designer clothing with that distinctive Maori flavour.
Rotorua is a hub of ‘Māoridom’ where you can experience the old and new of this unique culture with a people well known for their warm hospitality and great sense of humour.