Nestled in the midst of Rotorua's ancient Tawa forest is the Maori Village, the most award-winning Maori cultural attraction in New Zealand.
Journey back in time, a time before the European settlement, and experience the Maori way of life. Learn about their tribal culture and customs, gain an insight into the story of the Maori migration, witness ceremonial performances and feast on a traditional hangi meal.
Start by enjoying a scenic coach journey from your Rotorua accommodation to the Tawa forest, during which you'll hear interesting stories of the Maori legends from your driver. You and your fellow guests must also carry out the honourable task of assigning a Chief to represent your group upon arrival - an esteemed title in Maoridom.
When you arrive, you are not permitted to enter beyond the Tamaki village's outskirts until a formal welcome ceremony ritual has been performed by members of the Maori tribe. The 'Chiefs' chosen to represent each group are lined up in front of the village warriors who perform the 'haka', a traditional war dance proclaiming strength and prowess. After a peace offering has been made by each chief, you are then welcomed to listen to the 'Karanga', a welcome call, and watch the 'Powhiri', a welcome dance which permits safe passage into the village Tamaki.
As you wander around the village, take the time to visit their traditional houses of learning dedicated to 'Haka', 'Poi', and warrior training. You will be given the opportunity to participate in learning these traditions.
Enjoy displays of weaving, carving and tattooing before being led to the village waterway where you'll hear stories about the great Maori migration in magnificently carved canoes (wakas) across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand.
You will then head to the authentic hangi pit, where your traditional hangi meal, consisting of meats and smoky vegetables has been cooked underground for many hours. Once ready, the baskets laden with food are lifted from the pit before being prepared for a huge hangi feast to follow. From here, you'll head to the sacred meeting house, where you will enjoy a cultural performance complete with harmonious singing and traditional dances.