Tamaki Village, Rotorua
i paid 82 (or 92) NZ $ for the round trip to this interesting maori village, we saw a show about their tradition, had a maori dinner (not sure if the food was really cooked under the stones tough) and visited the village. It was a very interesting experience.
If you get the chance, you should check out the Tamaki Maori Village. The fun begins the minute the painted bus comes to pick you up from your hotel. Horn honking, singing, and laughter while you travel to the village (you should know/practice your national anthem/country song because you will be expected to sing)! You will be delivered to the grounds where they will explain the rules of entering the sacred village, and someone (a male guest) will be selected to perform in the entrance ceremony. After the chief allows you to enter, you will have plenty of time to wander around the many demonstrations displaying the Maori culture before heading off to the concert, and tradional Maori Hangi. Enjoy dinner, and a stroll around the craft stores before the bus delivers you safe and sound back to your hotel. More honking, singing, etc! Even though you will enjoy many laughs, this is a cultural event and very interesting.
As Rotorua has a Maori population of 38% (whereas it is 14 to 15% country-wide) you can well imagine that you can learn a lot about Maori culture in this, let me say: New Zealand's Maori capital. Of course, it is not the real life which is presented to you in the culture shows, and you do not hear anything about the problems of NZ's first inhabitants with criminality, gangs, drugs, health and child abuse. But at least you get an idea on which values Maori culture is based, their love for and bond with nature, their cooking in the earth-ovens, their songs and dances. And no show without the welcome ceremony, the powhiri, and the haka, the war dance which is performed by NZ sports teams around the world.
There are several providers you can chose from. Once I was at a show at Whakarewarewa, last time at the Tamaki Village.
Well, I could not laugh about the cheap jokes on the bus to the village but the village was great. I was there when it was dark at 7pm, and this gave the experience a nice intimate feeling, with open fires, and spare light.
First you are in the open-air area where the Maori sit in front of their huts in their traditional gear, show their art of flax weaving, or play games with balls and sticks. Then follows the welcome ceremony for which the visitors always have to elect a chief who represents them and gets into interaction with the Maori chief and warriors.
Songs and dance are presented indoors. I like this kind of music very much as it is so cheerful and makes me feel on a dream holiday on a white beach with leaning palm-trees...
Finally there is buffet food, the traditional hangi, which is cooked in earth-oven. I cannot say I am a fan of the smoke-flavour, and the meat seems to get a little dry by this way of preparation.
The closing ceremony is also with songs, and the bus drive back to the city was spectacular, as the driver circled around a roundabout approximately ten times... ;-)
There is one ridiculous thing on the website: the prices are approximate and in US-dollars!!! LOL
This was a fantastic cultural experience for both of us. We were collected by our tour bus driver who informed us about our evening and taught us "Kia Ora" (Maori for Welcome), it sounded very exciting. On arrival at the village we were greeted by a traditional Maori welcome, followed by Maori's in traditional dress singing around different camp sites showing us how life was in a Maori Village 150 years ago. We were then taken into a Welcoming House for our entertainment, which was great, they performed the Harka which is a traditonal war cry for the Maori's,followed by a traditonal Hungi (which is a way of cooking food in the ground with hot stones). The food was great.
The bus trip back was also very entertaining. Worth the money $85 per head. You should wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes to accomadate the outdoor performances.
One of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand was the evening that we spent at the Tamaki Maori Village. The evening starts as if each one of the tourists is a member of an arriving clan, and a welcome ceremony is performed. I had the honor of being a "chief" and my duties were to stand before the chief of Tamaki while he performed his traditional chants and war poses. As a welcoming process, the Tamaki chief was to find out our intentions for visit, whether hostile or passive.
After he finds out we are there to celebrate we are welcomed into his village and treated to some traditional village celebrations and village activities. The villagers then perform these traditions in front of us on stage.
From here, we go on to dinner. The traditional Maori feast looks very similar to American Thanksgiving.
I would highly recommend this activity if you are going to Rotorua.
This is a great evening out. The fun starts on the coach, they make you image you are on a boat and you have to row your way to the Village. They also choose a Cheif from each coach.
Once you arrive you are joined buy other coaches and you wait for the people form the Maori Village to greet you. They do a greeting ceremony with the cheifs - They ask everyone not to laugh as they are jumping around and pulling faces. It is classed as very disrepectful if you laugh.
Then you go into the village where the "Tangata Whenua" or people of the land will be demonstrating different activities such as poi twirling, hand games, weaponry displays and reciting chants. Then you go to the Whatenui ( The big house) for have a fantastic show and dance and music.
Then it time for the Hangi meal which is lovely. Vegetarians are also catered for.
After the meal you can walk around and look around the gift shops.
Some hotels do a similat thing but I hear they are not as good. This is a fab tour and not to be missed
It was a great experience to visit this Maori Village. Organized by the Tamaki (an award winning tour organizer), the tour includes a visit to the Maori village and a great Maori dinner. I paid $75 for it.
A welcoming dance was performed by the Maori people as we arrived in the village. Important rule: NO LAUGHING, or they will make you CRY.
This is a must do tour to do when your in Rotoura, do the dinner and show its worth paying the extra. If your lucky you will be selected to be chief as I was. Your job is to be the chif of your tribe of vistors and you must do certain tasks through out the night and you get to go first where ever you go, even to dinner. The show you will see there is very good, they put some work into what they are doing and are very informative.
The dinner is cooked under ground in what they call a hungie.
All very nicely done
We had a top night doing this - an amusing bus ride being given the meaning of Kia Ora in 40 odd languages, with the coy picking of a tribal chief for our bus (it's not as bad as it sounds... quite a straight forward thing to do and they give you a gift as a momento of the evening, if you are not too shy, do volunteer) preceeded the traditional tribal greeting. This was followed by a demonstration of pre-European Maori village life, then a show of Maori song, dance and instruments. We then had a hangi (traditional Maori BBQ), which was delicious. After a final farewell we were bus-ed back to our hotels. It may seem a little commercial, but I have to say, at times I was quite moved and it definitely gave me a good insight into Mauri culture. I can strongly recommend it.
We took up the Tamaki Living Maori Village experience for dinner entertainment It’s a journey back in time through the Maori village experience with tribal songs, dances and activities. Of course, it includes a dinner buffet. It’s like the luau in Hawaii, you want to experience it once.
Make sure you make a booking with Tamaki Village - a very interesting bus ride to the village, cultural performance by the natives, local dinner - the hangi. After dinner, there will be a short show and then the bus ride back which is quite fun too. Really worth the money spent !
Really like it, 10 mins away from Rotorua on SH5, very kind people, life activities and performance.