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Our Maori Cultral Experience is currently unavailable until further notice, Please contact our friendly team for other options available. Phone +64 7 378 0913

Experience the very cornerstone of Maori custom and culture......

As our guests(Manuhiri), you are greeted at the visitor centre and briefed on the evenings activities. Then you move toward the Marae-a-tea (courtyard) to stand quietly and respectfully at the gateway, slightly apprehensive, but excited to be here……

Your elected Rangatira (leader) stands brave at the vanguard of the party, while across the centre grounds your hosts (Tangata Whenua) who are dressed in their traditional costumes, wait patiently to welcome you……

Suddenly the silence is broken with a spine chilling cry.........

Kia Hiwa Ra!! Kia Hiwa Ra!!

Even the bravest feel shivers down the spine, this is the fierce Wero (challenge) that visitors were told to expect. It is unlike anything ever experienced before, primal and disturbing, obviously designed to induce fear and question the intentions of the approaching visitor……

A single warrior breaks ranks and dances forward in clearly orchestrated movements of provocation and challenge, uttering fearsome cries of defiance directed at the leader. With flashing eyes and contorted facial features the warrior draws ever closer, dancing and posturing while always maintaining eye contact until his thrusting and parrying Taiaha (highly carved wooden staff) comes within centimetres of the leader……

Quite suddenly he retreats a short distance bends down and places a token (Taki) on the ground, and gestures for it to be accepted - our Rangatira picks it up - the challenge accepted - the warrior signals an invitation for visitors to enter the Marae……

As people are recovering from the challenge of the Wero, a female voice rings out across the distance between the two peoples……

Haere Mai, Nga Manuhiri Tuarangi e…… welcome to you visitors from afar……

So begins a journey into the unique and mysterious world of the Maori people. The Marae is central to Maori culture, heritage, lifestyle, customs and ritual. In the short time visitors are with the Tangata Whenua, they are welcomed and embraced, have the chance to stand and speak on their Marae during the time of Whaikorero (formal speech), press noses in the sacred and traditional Hongi - the Maori way of greeting which reinforces the uniting of visitor and host in friendship and welcome.

The customary protocols now completed visitors will be guided through the geothermal and Maori cultural walkway and your guides will tell the stories and history of New Zealand and Ngati Tuwharetoa, and explanations will be given on the various art forms featured in the Maori village.

Then you make your way to the Whare Kai (dining room) where a meal that has been cooked in a traditional ground oven (Hangi), awaits you. And when you think you have seen and experienced something special, the evening is brought is to a dramatic climax with a spectacular performance of Song, Dance and Haka, a unique and emotional experience that will not easily be forgotten. This experience is intense, powerful and emotional and will leave you with lasting memories of a culture that is alive and growing.

Our Maori Cultral Experience is currently unavailable until further notice, Please contact our friendly team for other options available. Phone +64 7 378 0913

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Wairakei Terraces.
Taupo; New Zealand.
Phone: +64 7 3780913

Opening Hours

  • Summer: October – March, 8.30am – 9.00pm
  • Winter: April – September, 8.30am – 8.30pm
  • Pool closed every Thursday at 7.00pm

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