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Image of a Maori warrior performing a welcome powhiri at Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village – a true cultural experience

Rotorua is full of fantastic attractions – it’s not known as the geothermal capital of New Zealand for no reason! If you are looking to get away from the sulphuric smell for the day but you still want to get out and explore the attractions in and around Rotorua, then Tamaki Maori Village is a must on any Rotorua to-do list.

What’s at Tamaki Maori Village?

Just 15 minutes south of Rotorua you will find Tamaki Maori Village – a recreation of a pre-European Maori Village. Set up in 1989 by two young Maori brothers, Tamaki Village is now a thriving attraction which is popular with visitors to Rotorua both from New Zealand and overseas.

Set in a beautiful natural forest environment, the village runs like a Maori village would have hundreds of years ago. The village comes alive at night time and the evening experience is one of our favourites. You will be collected from Lake Rotorua Hotel or Four Canoes Hotel and taken out to the village where you will be welcomed in the traditional form of a Maori Powhiri.

The experience is very interactive and great for all ages – it’s a real insight into ancient Maori life and traditions. Your tour group will be asked to select a tribe leader for the night and they will join in with the traditional welcome and activities throughout the evening.

Interactive experience

As you are welcomed into the village, you will be able to wander around and observe the traditional crafts and past times of the ancient Maori from facial tattooing to weaving and carving. It’s also a great opportunity to take the time to talk to the people in the village and find out more about life before the European settlers arrived.

Image of a Maori Warrior with the haka in the background at Tamaki Maori village

Photo credit: Tamaki Maori Village

The traditional Maori Haka is perhaps one of the most famous traditions of the Maori people and you will get the opportunity to take part and learn the famous and fearsome haka. You will also get the chance to participate in stick games, warrior training and learn the poi.

Traditional Hangi

Image of people sat round the fire storytelling at Tamaki Maori Village

Photo credit: Tamaki Maori Village

One of the highlights for many is the opportunity to share in another Maori custom – the traditional hangi buffet. A traditional hangi sees your food cooked in the traditional Maori way in baskets stored beneath the ground and cooked on hot stones. The food is truly delicious and a great way to end the evening.

Throughout your time in the village there will also be lots of entertainment including songs, weaponary displays and the performance of the world famous Haka war dance.

Closing ceremony

After you have finished your delicious meal, the evening will draw to a close with the official closing ceremony which includes waiata (songs) and whaikorero (speeches).

After this you will be taken back to your accommodations.

Overnight stay

As well as the evening programme, there is also the opportunity to do an overnight stay at the village. This unique and authentic experience is an amazing chance to sleep out in a traditional Maori wharemoe (communal sleeping house). You will get the opportunity to spend the afternoon in the village, learning about a variety of traditional activities before bedding down for the night with your fellow travellers.

However you choose to experience the Tamaki Maori Village, we highly recommend you add this to your list of things to do whilst staying in Rotorua.

You can find out more about the village, pricing and experience on the official Tamaki Maori Village website.