5 minutes from central Rotorua, Te Puia is a 60 hectare site that celebrates not only the geothermal wonderland that the area is famous for, but also the incredibly rich heritage and culture that has made Rotorua one of the leading cultural centres in New Zealand.
Here, you’ll be able to walk amongst the bubbling geysers and mud pools, chat to the students and teachers at The National School for Wood Carving, Weaving and Stone Carving and visit a Marae to watch a cultural performance. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, Te Puia is also home to Mga Manu Ahurei (The Kiwi house) where, once your eyes adjust to the darkness, you’ll have a great chance of spotting a kiwi foraging about in the undergrowth.
We really recommend taking one of the hourly guided walks around the park, where your guide will share their knowledge of the fascinating natural history of the area. You’ll feel like you’re on a different planet as you watch the world famous Pohutu Geyser erupting well over 20 metres into the air.
An indigenous evening performance is a great way to experience Maori cuisine, combined with entertainment and storytelling. The evening begins with a traditional welcoming ceremony (powhiri), a warrior’s challenge and a full performing arts (kappa haka) concert that a great way to experience the real personality of Maori culture and traditions. This is followed by a meal of traditional ‘hangi’ cooked food and contemporary Maori dishes. To end your visit, you’ll head out to view Pohutu under the stars – truly magical!
What our travellers enjoyed about their visit to Te Puia…
- The Guides – many of the guides and staff are the direct descendants of the original people who settled in the valley, so the stories they pass on are handed down through generations
- The Pikirangi Village – a reconstruction of a traditional Maori village, as it would have been in pre-European times – Fascinating!
- The Intricate Maori carvings in Te Aronui a Rua meeting house, one of the few fully carved Wharenui in the country