I'm selling my car as I don't need it anymore. Runs well and cheaply.
Tamaki Maori Village Rotorua
From the moment I got picked up in the shuttle bus to go to the Tamaki Experience, I knew I was in for a real cultural treat.
Our driver informed us we had to imagine we weren’t actually riding on a bus, we were travelling in a Waka, the Maori word for canoe, and she set about telling us what was in store for the night ahead.
She asked one of the men to volunteer as chief for the night, which would involve gaining acceptance from the Maori tribe on entry into their village.
We would later realise just how important a role our chief would play throughout the evening.
On arrival at the village, we were greeted by the guardian of warfare Tumatauenga, with a Powhiri (welcome), to determine whether we were friend or foe. This was followed with a welcome from Tangaoroa, in honour of the voyage across Te Moana Nui A Kiwa – The Great Ocean of Kiwa – or the Pacific Ocean. He honoured the manuhiri (guests) with a gift of shells. Then we were amazed by a Wero (challenge) from Ruaumoko, the Guardian of volcanoes, geothermal activity and all earth’s power. He wowed the crowds with a spectacular blazing Taiaha display of Maori weaponry.
The final welcome came from Tane Mahuta – Guardian of the forest. He welcomed the crowd into the huge native Tawa forest which is home to Tamaki Maori Village, and issued the final challenge and gift of a fern – the peace token or Teka. After the gift was accepted by our chief, we were given a Haka Powhiri (welcome Haka) to acknowledge our peaceful visit.The invitation was sealed with the call of the women – the Karanga – which apparently was essential for us to enter the village.It was a moving experience, and gave a real impression of what it would feel like to enter a Maori village.
Once inside, we were able to look around the home of the warrior sect of Ngati Tama. This is where the chosen few learn the art of becoming a warrior. We had the chance to meet the villagers themselves, learn about their lives and hear their tribal stories.
Their stories link the history to the land, to their ancestors, to the people of today.
I was told their costumes are the product of six months work and research, and the Tamaki show includes a strong link to earliest Maori arrival from Polynesia.Each of the outfits has been handcrafted and inspired by the textures, colours and resources available to earliest Maori, with a specific emphasis on feathers, shell and flax.
A piercing sound of a Putatara (shell horn) summoned us into the meeting house for a tribal hui. This involved an amazing display of song, haka, poi and weaponry displays to celebrate and remember their hardships, battles won and sacred traditions.
It was then time for a hangi feast, a delicious meal of meats and veges all cooked traditionally on hot rocks in an earthen oven for several hours to give an amazing flavour and real “melt in the mouth” yumminess. Our night drew to a close with Poroporoaki – the tradition of farewell, and final words from the storyteller to set us on our Waka ride home.
The Tamaki Experience runs daily and includes transfers from accommodation around Rotorua, as well as a Maori guide to instruct on protocol.
There is also a Tamaki Experience in Christchurch, which opened in April 2007, and plans to start another one in Manukau city, just outside Auckland, by 2010.