I enjoyed a fantastic evening of Maori culture, song & food at Tamaki Maori Village – Rotorua, New Zealand on my first ever tour of New Zealand. I was very keen to learn something about the indigenous people of New Zealand during my stay so I decided to spend an evening at the Tamaki Maori Village.
We started our journey at the gathering place in Rotorua from where we were taken to the ancient forest village at Tawa-ngāhere-pā by coach.
Situated in the magnificent 200 year old ancient Tawa forest our group were invited to participate in and learn the poi, the haka and view displays of Maori art forms.
We were told that Poi is a form of Maori cultural dance. Traditionally weights were attached to strings or tethers and swung around in rhythmical patterns. Nowadays the weights are much lighter so as not to cause any harm but can still be used to produce musical notes when performed correctly. The word poi comes from the Maori people of Aotearoa which is the Maori name for New Zealand.
The demonstrations and explanations about the Maori way of life were delivered with genuine heart and soul and a lot of humour! The Haka is most familiar to many when performed by the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Union teams. The haka is a ceremonial dance or challenge. It was performed by a group of male Maori when we first arrived at the village to ensure we came in peace and the men were invited to take part in a haka after brief instruction, although haka has long been performed by both men and women.
The Haka is performed with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet and rhythmically shouted accompaniment. Several varieties of the haka fulfil social functions within Māori culture. When I was at a Triathlon meeting in Taupo a Haka was performed before the race began. Other occasions may be to welcome guests, acknowledge great achievements, and even at weddings and funerals.
Having viewed the raising of the traditional geothermal hangi meal we were then treated to a superbly cooked dinner and dessert buffet feast, fit for a warrior.
The cultural evening was an excellent introduction to the traditions, beliefs and life of the Maori, a wonderful learning experience!
The Maori were excellent hosts with a great sense of humour as well as teachers.
I fully enjoyed the evening and would recommend visitors to Rotorua to make sure that the Tamaki Maori Village is on their list of things they must do!
I had a great time and would fully recommend you travel on the coach from Rotorua, our driver was very entertaining!
Tamaki Maori Village (The Gathering Place)
1220 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua 3040, New Zealand