A weekend getaway to Rotorua wasn’t the first thing I thought of when organising a romantic trip, but after a few days in the thermal wonderland, I’m sold.[left]
Lake Rotorua is just beautiful and the Maori cultural experience is incomparable to anything else I’ve seen in New Zealand. Te Puia really stood out, and any visitor to Rotorua, or New Zealand, should consider the Maori cultural experience. Though I’ve lived in New Zealand for 17 years, I’d never been to anything similar, or even eaten from a Hangi.
Our tour guide, Carol was particularly welcoming and made us feel right at home. In the two hour Te Ra tour around the geysers, the live kiwi house, and the arts and crafts institute within the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, Carol was greeted as “Aunty” by all and by the end of the tour I too wanted to call her “Aunty”.[/left] [right] [/right]
Te Rā + Te Pō at Te Puia comprises the guided tour plus a banquet of storytelling, entertainment and authentic Māori kai (food) from a Hangi. The geysers left me lost for words (as my evident in my snapchat) and the tour gave me my first introduction to a real live Kiwi bird! Rotorua is also particularly well known as a centre for Māori culture, and many visitors attend ‘Kapa Haka’ (Māori performance). Te Puia’s was a combination of Poi dance, Haka and Titi torea (stick game) followed by an authentic Hangi meal. Hangi food is cooked underground on heated stones, giving it a delicious smokey aroma and taste. The buffet dinner was huge and very well received, especially the dessert buffet, which didn’t even make it into photos as it was too delicious to waste.
While it was my first, we actually attended with my sister who works in the Rotorua tourism industry, and she said it was the best Maori cultural experience she’d seen.