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Maori Culture Tours Rotorua, New Zealand


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Carving at Te Puia  Whakarewarewa Valley near Te Puia Kiwi at Te Puia Performance at Te Puia Performance at Te Puia Rotowhio Marae at Te Puia

Te Puia, Maori Culture Tours Rotorua

Te Puia Introduction

Many people, many years and infinite stories are threaded into the history of Te Puia. Here stunning cultural performers excite and entertain in daily concerts during our Maori culture tours in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Step into an ancient valley at our Rotorua tourist attraction where geysers, mud pools and boiling waters still play after 40,000 years.

Discover the fascinating traits of New Zealand's national icon and listen to the songs of other birds in our beautiful valley.

As direct descendants, guides at this Rotorua tourist attraction offer an insight into our lives, our activities and our land that no other tour in New Zealand can match.

Te Puia Rotorua Tourist Attractions

Enjoy a range of Maori culture tours and tourist attractions at Te Puia:

The New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute

For over 40 years, students from tribes across New Zealand have converged on the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) at Te Puia to learn traditions in danger of being lost forever.

Like the pictures of a book, arts and crafts are the pages of the Maori culture. It's how stories were told and passed down through generations; how traditions and genealogy were preserved. History was carved and woven.

Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley

For local Maori, the Whakarewarewa Valley is more than a natural wonder. According to tribal history, this was the place where the Goddesses of fire, Te Pupu and Te Hoata, emerged from the earth's core, inhaling and exhaling, creating the geysers, hot springs and mud pools.

It is within this valley where the fortress of Te Puia once stood, a stronghold never taken in battle. And it is here where the descendants of the ancients still live today, walking and guiding you through a land more than 40,000 years old.

Kiwi House

The Kiwi House opened as a display centre in 1976 and spent fledging years learning and understanding the needs of New Zealand's national icon.

In 1986 Te Puia began receiving injured kiwi, often found in traps or on roadsides. It became a haven and achieved the highest rate of recovery and survival for the injured birds.

Because they are extremely sensitive, this is the only place where photography is not permitted. Yet by coming to Te Puia, visitors contribute to the kiwi's survival.

Maori Cultural Performances

Stories of old soar to life again through song. Poi and stick games reveal how favourite past times were, in fact, training for agility and co-ordination. For everything there was a purpose, yet the learning was fun.

The spirit of Te Puia's daily Maori Cultural Performances, Kapa Haka, is to learn, to enjoy and also to be uplifted. Maori performers will sense the weary and focus their energy intently. It is irresistible!

As the birthplace of tourism in New Zealand, the Rotorua region and its peoples are known as the tribe of hospitality. It is their trademark and the performing arts are their speciality.

Guided Tours

At Te Puia, guiding is as natural as humour. It is in our bones. Many guides are the sons and daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the guides of old. They tell stories that have been told for generations and share their own.

The special connection guides have with the land and its' history ensures tours at Te Puia are unlike any other in New Zealand.

Korero Tuku Iho

For the first time, Te Puia will begin to share knowledge that has been carefully stored and, at times, fiercely guarded for generations.

It is the story of creation, an account so ancient it reaches back into the realms of nothingness—before all life, before all worlds, before humankind.

All tribes have their own histories. In Te Arawa, this is our belief of where we came from, before life as we know it, through the heavens, into the world of mankind to where we are today. It is the answer to Ko Wai Ahau? Who Am I?

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History of Te Puia

Preserving Maori traditions was never just a dream. It was a frightening and forced reality. For the Maori culture was once on the brink of being wiped off the face of the earth.

Te Puia Maori culture Hongi at Te Puia

In 1918, an influenza epidemic decimated Maori communities across New Zealand. Masters of knowledge were lost. The skills of carvers and weavers were buried with them—and fear stirred. For the traditional arts and crafts were the chronicles of the culture, carving and weaving centuries of history, recording families, language and every facet of every tribe.

In 1926 a group of tauira (students) were chosen to revive the art of whakairo (carving) at a time when Maori arts and crafts were at risk of being lost.

In 1963 the Government recognised the real threat to the indigenous race of New Zealand and passed an Act to encourage, foster, train students, exhibit works and restore the Maori culture and Maori arts and crafts.

In 1967, the first carving intake representing tribes throughout the country entered the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua. It was built in the reserve of Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley where tourism had been thriving for more than a century.

Tourism would be the lifeline for the Institute, under the Act it was required to become self-supporting. To this day, it is visitor revenue that allows the continued training of young Maori and more.

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Carving at Te Puia Rotowhio Marae at Te Puia Maori Performance at Te Puia