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Tamaki Village Maori Concert and Hangi ::
One of the must do things while you in Rotorua is to visit a
Hangi or a Maori Concert. This can be done separately or combined
with such companies as Tamaki Village, who we went with. Although
these events are a tourist attraction they are also an interesting
and informative way to learn more about the Maori culture and
so respect must be given throughout the event.
The tour starts at 4.30pm where you are picked up from your hostel,
although I think there is a later tour as well. However our
hostel was close to the main meeting office so we went down
early and grabbed a drink. This also gave us a chance to read
through the information sheet on the evening (which is supplied
in many languages) and get a feel for what we were going to
The bus trip to the village was more than A to B transport with
our driver introducing himself and getting everyone into the
spirit by pretending we were rowing our canoe (waka) to the village!
One of the passengers was chosen as chief for the night and would
take part in the Maori Challenge (Te Wero) on arrival.
On arrival we were herded into a small arena outside the entrance
to the re-created Maori village. Then the challenge, called Te
Wero, took place with our new chief taking part. This was certainly
a really interesting part and quite daunting to see the challenge
Once the challenge had been made we all
went into the actual village (Marae) and saw various displays
of different elements
of Maori life. It was great to see it recreated in a natural
environment and made you feel what it must have been like in
these villages. One thing we would say here is that the village
was rather overcrowded due to the large size of the group on
the tour – You had to muscle in to get your photos and
see the displays in some areas! Saying that this was the only
time that the large group size was negative as later on during
the concert and Hangi it helped create a great vibe!
Next was the meeting house (Wharenui) and the concert. This
was a great display of singing, dancing, information on different
cultural aspects and altogether a great show! One thing to note
is it did get hot in there so take layers so you can take some
off when get in! There were good serious demonstrations but with
lively undertones keeping the happy atmosphere going all night.
Finally the Hangi in the food house (Wharekai).
Now this really was great food and as much as you can eat!!
There was a great
selection of food and dessert all baked in Hangi ovens. You have
to pay extra for drinks but water is supplied free on all tables.
An optional Hangi demonstration also went on outside so you could
go and see how your tea was made! There were also various craft
and art shops to wander about and work off some of that food!
The staff then gave a final Haka and sing along and we were led
back to our coaches for more fun and games on the way back –be
prepared to sing for your country!!
The Tamaki Village was a great way to see both a Maori Concert
and have a Hangi at once. The addition of it being set in a re
created Maori village made it much more special and certainly
gave you much more feel for the culture and its origins. Remember
that although this is a tourist attraction it is also a serious
cultural experience and so this must be respected throughout
the night. If you are the sort of person who bursts out laughing
at everything then this is not for you! Overall a great night
and well worth the money!