10 FABULOUS FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROTORUA Enter email for instant access
New Zealand Māori Culture
Alive and Thriving
The New Zealand māori culture is alive and thriving despite the temptations of the western world. This is in no small part due to the people who are committed to retaining our cultural heritage which was in danger of disappearing with colonisation.
An overview of Māori history in New Zealand and more specifically Rotorua
tells how the indigenous culture has not only managed to survive but is
also enjoying a resurgence with the culture being embraced by many. Not
the majority yet but hopefully, in time to come.
Members of the Great White Fleet visit Tamatekapua Meeting House in 1908 Collection of Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright, 1928. US Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph
The māori language has been resurrected with the creation in the
1980s of Kohanga Reo (māori language pre-schools.) Nowadays there are
numerous schools and university courses that make the language available
to anyone who wants to learn it.
Getting to grips with the māori language before you visit will make it a lot easier to get around.
You can also try out some of the māori words
you are likely to come across. The pronunciation for quite a few of our
street names in Rotorua will have your tongue tied up in knots I can
Māori humour is very... different. When you get a bunch of māori people together at any type of
gathering nothing is off limits. Probably the best way to demonstrate our humour is with some examples and our comedians so read on.
Māori Haka, Tattoo, Customs & Traditions
We now have inter-tribal competitions featuring the māori haka, traditional games, tikanga (customs and traditions), waka ama (double-hull canoe) races
etc. along with the traditional european games of tennis, rugby,
netball etc. I love the fact that this helps to keep our culture well
and truly alive and how it promotes whanau (family).
It doesn't matter where you are in the world, people love creating
beautiful things. As the indigenous culture in NZ, māori have their own
unique way of doing this. Beauty has been and is still being created
with carving, flax weaving, tattoo and all the modern art media. New Zealand has a number of fabulous artists with ones from Rotorua being right up there.
Closeup of a Māori art with a carving at Te Puia
Māori people love their kai (food) including me. When our
ancestors travelled to New Zealand from Hawaiki they had to quickly
adapt to a far cooler climate. Although they brought a lot of plants
with them, only the kumara (sweet potato) flourished in this climate.
They soon got to grips with the local flora and fauna resulting
in delicacies peculiar to New Zealand. The māori people also soon
adapted to european food brought here by the early settlers. You will
have to try some of the delicacies such as Kaanga Wai (Rotten corn).
Yes, it is rotten and yes, I have tried it - even holding my nose - but
it still tastes awful. Some people love it. Different strokes for
different folks I guess.
"We are a family of four from Sydney Australia and love nature - bush to beach. We love your website and found your tips on things to do in Rotorua very valuable - exactly what we look for in destinations." Anita —Sydney
"Thank you Karen! I think you site is wonderful. We followed your ideas today for blue lake and green lake, and went to the Landing Cafe first, brilliant we would have missed Lake Tarawera otherwise and it is so beautiful and peaceful." Rosie
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"Awesome website all about Rotorua. Well done Karen Shelford." Amiria Tomoana - Global Traveller
"Yes, really worthwile information for those visiting Rotorua. Take it from someone who used it. Thank you, so much easier." Karen Hubbard - Sydney, Australia
your website is the best resource for planning a trip there that I have
encountered! It answers all of the questions you end up having after
reading other sites, and presents information in such a clear and
concise way. ... wish I'd encountered your site before printing off reams of info that will probably be whittled down to one page. ... hope the local government and tourism people realise what a great asset and ambassador they have in you! :P" Vicky Fairchild - Auckland, New Zealand