Tamaki Brothers

Cultural Experiences in Rotorua

Rotorua is the best place in New Zealand to experience the traditional customs, practices and beliefs of our indigenous Māori people. Māori cultural tours and performances provide a special view into the historic lifestyle, traditions, mythology, art and more of Māori past and present.

Ōhinemutu Māori Village

Connect with the culture, people, history and landscape that have made Rotorua the incredible place it is today. Ōhinemutu Village was settled by the Ngāti Whakaue iwi (tribe), a sub-tribe of the Te Arawa waka (canoe) journeyed from the Pacific homeland of Hawaiiki to New Zealand around 1350AD. The explorers chose this location for their home due to its setting along the shores of Lake Rotorua and the abundant geothermal energy which was useful for cooking, bathing and heating.

Ngāti Whakaue gifted the land on which the city of Rotorua was built, and today the historic village, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Rotorua city centre, is still home to a few hundred descendants. Visitors are welcome to walk around this living village at no charge, and enjoy the steaming vents, boiling hot pools, and natural beauty that leads many to comment on the tranquillity and spiritually uplifting environment.

The village is home to a magnificent traditional Māori meeting house named Tamatekapua. The carvings on the house are exquisite and highlighted by hundreds of inlaid shiny paua shells. The house is not open to the public, but you are welcome to enjoy it from the outside.

Towards the lake’s edge is the historic and beautifully decorated St Faith’s Church which was completed in 1914. While its exterior is Tudor-style, the church interior has a strong Māori influence, with intricate carvings and woven panels. A memorable feature is a window etched with the image of Jesus wearing a Māori cloak – he appears to walk across the surface of Lake Rotorua.


The Maori people have long been settled in Rotorua, and for good reason, the regions natural thermal activity made cooking and heating easy. This is one of the best places in New Zealand to see and experience aspects of Maori culture and in a native forest south of Rotorua you can experience their ‘Traditional Culture’ from a carefully reconstructed village. A lot of care has gone into getting the experience as historically correct as possible.

  • Te Pā Tū presents culture and kai (cuisine) events – sharing Māori history, traditions, and future aspirations across four hours of celebration and feasting.

Maori Heritage

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