Want to take a closer look at the Maori culture and life of the native people in New Zealand? The Tamaki Maori Village is the most award-winning cultural attraction in Rotorua and something you simply shouldn’t miss if you’re anywhere near. From the moment you step into the village, you will be transformed back in time and taken into the traditional Maori way of life. You’ll have ample opportunities to learn about its local culture and discover its rich heritage. We’ve laid out this guide to help you to get most of the spot before you really visit it.
History of the Tamaki Māori Village
The village was founded in 1989 by two Maori brothers – Doug and Mike Tamaki. Their entrepreneurial spirit, their love of story-telling and teaching about the old Maori ways made the Tamaki Maori Village an instant success. Now 30 years later, Tamaki has become an iconic brand in tourism – a leading force that pioneers and inspires through authentic and meaningful cultural experiences that the world continues to applaud and celebrate. This amazing Maori village experience also was rated one of the top 10 tours in the world in 2019.
What to expect
The most well-known activity at Tamaki Maori Village is the evening experience. You’ll be picked up from your Rotorua hotel and travel about 15 minutes to Tamaki Maori Village, situated deep within 200-year old native Tawa forest. En route, a humourous guide will prepare you for your authentic Maori hangi dinner and share protocol for visiting the marae (meeting grounds).
Upon arrival, hear frightening cries of welcome and experience the powhiri (welcome ceremony) given by a proud descendent of New Zealand’s ancient warriors, the Maori. As you then enter the village, you’ll pass traditional whare (houses) with crackling open fires and hear classic instruments. Enjoy this rare opportunity to observe a re-enactment of daily activities and traditional arts and crafts typical of a pre-European Maori village.
Once at the wharenui (meeting house), you’ll see a powerful performance featuring the haka song and dance. Then, it is time for your hangi feast – dig into slow-cooked meat and vegetables roasted in underground earthen ovens plus delicious desserts. Afterwards, you will be returned to your hotel in Rotorua.
Please click here to know more about the evening tours!
Free pick-up is available from your Rotorua hotel at 5:00 pm. Please note that the supplier does not pick up from residential areas. Alternatively, you can choose to make your own way to Tamaki Headquarters. Get onto SH5 heading south and you’ll find Tamaki Māori Village on your right about 15-20 minutes south of the city. Night tour starts at 6:15 pm all year round and the transfer bus returns at 9:30 pm.
Tamaki Maori Village is an enriching cultural experience that is fun for all ages. When you take your first steps into the Maori’s home, they will speak of their mountains, rivers and waters, to welcome you into their world. So that wherever your journey leads to, you will always have a sense of belonging here.
The reason why I strongly recommend this tour to you is that it never felt forced, repetitive or dishonest. The experience is great value and certainly a must do if you want to get a taste and give support to the Maori culture and language.