An award winning cultural attraction, Tamaki Maori Village is a real â€˜eventâ€™ from the moment you board the coach to the time when they drop you back outside your hotel. Everyone you meet from your guide and coach driver to the Maoris all over the village are welcoming and clearly have a passion for their heritage and want to share it with you.
As you drive out to the village the guide begins to explain the customs and culture of the Maoris, explaining the way of life and how best not to offend your hosts.
The whole evening was entertaining and we learnt so much about the Maori culture. When we first arrived we were faced with a show of â€˜powerâ€™ by the Maori men, with several guests brought out to take part in the meeting and eventually the welcoming into the village, which is called the powhiri ceremony.
Guests are then given the opportunity to explore the village, with points scattered around where you can learn more about the way of life and even take part in events yourself. My partner joined in on a game that involved running around big sticks without falling over, which seemed just as much fun to watch as to play, and the atmosphere was one of fun and laughter.
We were then ushered into the villageâ€™s main hall to watch a show of traditional song and dance before being invited to share dinner (te hangi) with our hosts, and the food was amazing. Usually in big group tours the food is average at best but I wanted to book to go again the next night simply because it was so delicious. This meal was actually the best food I had during my entire trip to New Zealand!
The food was cooked in a traditional way: chicken and potatoes buried under the ground with hot coals. We watched the food get dug up, and then brought into the hall. Completed with vegetables and lashings of thick gravy it was delicious! Put it this way, if youâ€™re a foodie youâ€™ll want to visit Tamaki Maori Village for the dinner alone!
After the dinner it was time to get taken back to our hotel, but the fun didnâ€™t end when we left the village. By the time youâ€™re on the way home, youâ€™ve made good friends with the majority of other visitors and are taking part in a coach-wide sing-along â€“ it was a real party atmosphere! The guides were brilliant at creating a real atmosphere of camaraderie and we didnâ€™t want the night to end. Â Both fun and educational, a visit to the Tamaki Maori Village is a must do if youâ€™re visiting beautiful Rotorua.