Enjoy an authentic Maori cultural experience at Whakarewarewa, The Living Maori Village set in the geothermal region of Rotorua. A local guide takes you on a tour of the village’s highlights and shares stories about the way of life, history, craft traditions and land, including the famous Pohutu and Prince of Wales geysers. Watch a cultural show with traditional dance and song then have time afterward to explore on your own. For a real treat, opt to include a ‘hangi’ meal of traditional foods cooked in boiling hot geothermal pools and steam vents.
After making your way to Whakarewarewa, the Living Maori Village for the guided tour and cultural show, enjoy a village welcome from your guide. As you tour the grounds, your guide shares the origins of the village's (long) full name, tourism developments in Whakarewarewa Village and the Te Whakarewarewa , the impact of the War Memorial gateway, and a penny diving tradition that still exists today. See important sites in the village, including homes and artisan shops, the communal outdoor area for cooking and cleaning, communal garden, cemetery and churches, preschool and ancestral meeting house. At each site, your guide shares informative details, such as how the preschool helps preserve the Maori language, how food is produced and shared from the garden and how the arrival of missionaries affected local people. Learn how skilled weavers make the piupiu (dancing skirt) and about other craft traditions such as carving and ta moko (tattooing). At the Earth Science Facility, your guide discusses the geothermal environment and compares Maori legends to the earth science perspective. Check out two viewing platforms where you can clearly see Whakarewarewa's most famous geysers: Pohutu and Prince of Wales. As many as 20 times per day these geysers erupt with jets of hot water that spray up to 99 feet (30m) high. After your 1-hour tour, take a seat for the 30-minute cultural show, which features a mihi (traditional welcome), song, poi dance and haka. Towards the end of the show, the performers invite audience participation and make time for photo ops. Upgrade to include a hangi meal prepared in Whakarewarewa’s traditional fashion, by cooking the food in natural steam vents and hot pools. As one of the only living Maori villages with geothermal vents that can steam and cook food, the people of Whakarewarewa cook in this manner (other villages use heated rocks in a dugout pit). The delicious meal includes chicken, beef, potato, kumara (sweet potato), bread stuffing, carrots, cabbage and sweet corn on the cob with gravy. For dessert, savor the tasty steam pudding, which comes with fruit salad, custard and cream. Drinking water, tea and coffee are also provided.To make the most of your time at Whakarewarewa, The Living Maori Village, please see the suggested schedules under Itinerary below. For all options, you are free to explore the village on your own after the scheduled activities.