Why you must immerse yourself in Māori culture when visiting Rotorua

May 15, 2019
Just NZ Holidays

Want to know how we get down to cooking in New Zealand? We do it underground! It’s called hāngi, a traditional Māori cooking method which you won’t find anywhere else, and it’s just one of the many reasons you need to learn more about Māori culture on your New Zealand trip. So, where’s the best place to start? There’s nowhere better than Rotorua, known around the globe for its geothermal attractions, and as a cornerstone of Māori culture in New Zealand.

Here are some unmissable things to do in Rotorua for all you culture kings and queens!

Hāngi and History at Tamaki Māori village

The Warriors at Tamaki Maori Village

Tucked away in the heart of the ancient Tawa forest, the residents of Tamaki Māori Village invite you to join them on a journey through Māori culture, history and culinary delights. Complimentary transport arrives at your Rotorua accommodation to whisk you off to your destination, where your friendly guide will instruct you on the traditional customs and protocol for entering the Marae (Māori sacred place).

At the village, you’ll see performances of haka (traditional Māori war dance), watch Māori craftsmanship in action, and learn how the area was settled. Then it’s time for the hāngi meal – a feast of slow cooked meat and vegetables, pulled from the pit where they have cooked gently all day. You’ll never forget your first hāngi meal – truly unique. Follow the link to learn more about our Māori Culture Experience.

Geysers, Mud pools, Art and Culture at Te Puia

The Geysers at Rotorua

Towering jets of water erupting from geysers, bubbling pools of hot mud and a world of culture are the hallmarks of Te Puia. This geothermal gem is home to the Pōhutu geyser, the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere which erupts on an hourly basis, shooting water up to 30 metres into the sky! Perfect for taking the kids along for a day trip, there’s 60 acres to explore with beautiful walking tracks, fascinating cultural history to learn about, and stunning Māori architecture to discover. Learn about the diverse structures that make up the Marae, from the traditional Pā to the Heketanga-ā-Rangi, a contemporary sculpture adorning the entrance to Te Puia.

You can also take the rare opportunity to get close to New Zealand’s iconic kiwi, our shy national bird that few people ever get to see in real life!

About Hāngi

Laying down a Hāngi

So, you’re headed to Rotorua to try your first hāngi in style – but what exactly is hāngi? Well, it’s a long-standing method of cooking, but the key is that the food isn’t baked in an oven or cooked on a grill – it’s laid inside special dampened cloth, then laid over hot rocks (they need to be the right kind of rocks to withstand the heat of the fire), then buried under soil to cook for several hours. Sound weird? It might, but the flavour is totally incredible, and the meat is as tender and juicy as any you’ll ever try. Kiwis love to put all kinds of meat such as pork, lamb & chicken in a hāngi, and of course you can’t forget the kumara and veggies.

Ask us about our unmissable cultural experiences!

What’s the most exciting meal you’ve eaten? Let us know in the comments below 👇

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