Rotorua is the heartland of Maori Culture, where you get to experience the full range of Maori history and how they lived prior to European settlement.
Discover Te Puia’s history and lineage with a personalised guided tour or visit the Maori Village and sacred Marae. There is a traditional Maori Carving and Weaving school onsite to give you a glimpse into the centuries old crafts. There is also Kiwi Conservation Centre onsite and of course the Pohutu Geyser – the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. You can also experience a traditional Hangi meal in the new Pataka Kai Restaurant!
Tamaki Maori Village offers a look into how a traditional village functioned, with housing, games, cooking and story telling being a feature of this authentic experience. You can even stay overnight.
If a forest adventure stay is not your style, then we suggest the Holiday Inn Rotorua and their Very Important Kids Programme. They love families. We also recommend Rotorua Top 10 for cabin accommodation or Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park, which is walking distance to Te Puia.
The museum in nearby Taupo, has an array of Maori treasures on display and the giant Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo has been hailed as one of the NZ’s most extraordinary Maori artworks. Towering 14m above Lake Taupo, the carving has become one of the North Island’s biggest (literally) tourist attractions.
The carvings are only accessible by boat, and Chris Jolly Outdoors have a daily 90 minute scenic cruise out to the carvings (D.C.A) with live commentary and spectacular viewing platforms, kids activities, free home made muffins and hot drinks – there’s not a better way to see them.
The Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa is NZ’s national museum which celebrates the Maori as the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. Explore the land, the people, the art and the stories of the Maori people.
There is an authentic Marae and you can discover how The Treaty of Waitangi came to be. Wellington has loads of other history museums as well and family places to stay include Mercure Wellington, Wellington Top 10, Rydges The Thorndon and the new Rydges Airport.
For a slightly different angle on Maori culture, Maatatua located in Whakatane is a 1875 meeting house that has a two hour tour including a guided tour, cultural workshops, a digital experience and a hangi. It tells the story of how this meeting house was firstly sent to Sydney, then London, Otago and after 140 years finally returned home. It traces its history, meaning and relevance to the local Ngati Awa people.