Experience Māori culture with traditional ceremonies, cultural performances and an authentic hangi dinner with an evening tour of Tamaki Māori Village on the outskirts of Rotorua.
As you travel by coach deep into the heart of an ancient tawa forest, your driver guide will explain the protocol for entering a Māori village as manuhiri (visitors). Upon arrival, experience a powhiri (formal welcome ceremony) before entering the village. After a fearsome challenge by a group of warriors and the exchange of a peace offering, you will be warmly greeted and brought onto the marae (meeting house area) with songs and dance.
Step inside the village and be transported into another world. Discover the sights and sounds of pre-European Māori life as the villagers demonstrate traditional Māori activities and crafts. See how intricate woven art pieces were created, hear stories of ancient ancestors, see traditional weaponry displays and tattooing in action. See your Māori hangi meal being lifted from the earth, where it has been steamed underground on hot stones. Your hosts will explain the history of the hangi and show you how your dinner was prepared and cooked – they'll even give you tips on how to make a hangi in your own backyard!
Next, enter the ancestral meeting house for a powerful cultural performance. Song and dance are an integral part of Māori culture – experience the famous haka war dance and impressive poi dancing and hear the soul-stirring harmonies of traditional waiata (songs). After the performance, enjoy a three-course buffet feast. Start with Māori rewana bread before enjoying your hangi: succulent New Zealand meats and vegetables with their unique smoky earth-cooked flavour, accompanied by fresh salads and seafood and a range of authentic Kiwi desserts. Vegetarian and other dietary options are catered for upon request.
You'll have time to relax and chat to your hosts or wander around the tribal marketplace before your cultural tour ends with the poroporoaki, an official closing ceremony.
An excellent tour - Tamaki Village was great, the hospitality of the Maori people was superb, the entertainment was captivating (didn't want it to end) and the meal was extremely good. All in all, an activity we are very glad we did and considered it value for money
Reviewed by: Faye B