Thursday, August 11, 2011
The Māori people are the indigenous people of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and first arrived here in waka hourua (voyaging canoes) from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki over 1000 years ago. Today, Māori make up over 14 percent of the population. Their language and culture has a major impact on all facets of New Zealand life.
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“Our evening at Tamaki Maori Village was magical - one which I will remember for a long time to come!"
The Waka - Coach Journey to the Village
Enroute to Tamaki Maori Village, nestled in the thick of an ancient Tawa forest, your guide will instruct you on the rules of entering a Marae and the protocol you must observe. The visiting tribe must appoint a Chief to accept the peace offering and to represent those on your coach. Representation of your group is considered an honourable task in Maoridom. As you make your way to the village, you’ll learn about the great Maori migration - when Maori journeyed across the vast ocean in massive Waka (canoes) to New Zealand. You’ll also enjoy some fascinating Maori legends and stories from our history.
Te Wero - The Challenge!
You arrive at the outskirts of the fortified village, but nobody may enter the tribal grounds until the Powhiri, a formal welcome ceremony, has been performed.
Powerful haka challenges are performed by a series of warriors from the village, every one more intimidating than the last!
Eventually, a peace offering (teka) is laid at the feet of your appointed Chief. Your groups signals their peaceful intent in the village by accepting this token.
The spine-tingling Karanga or welcome call echoes across the forest, as the women sing to announce your arrival to the villagers. The Powhiri (welcome dance) follows, and you are welcomed into the fold.
At that time you cease to be a ‘guest’, but are considered to be Tangata Whenua - one of our people.
Te Marae - Exploring the Village
Step through the fortification and be transported from one world into another...
You will be spirited back in time, to an era before the arrival of the European to capture the essence of a very proud people.
The entire village comes to life, and as you walk around each small dwelling, you’ll see and learn about various art forms, traditions and ways of life for Maori.
Hear fires crackling, songs being sung, and talk openly to the village people.
See warriors training for war with traditional weapons, watch women weaving and making Maori crafts, hear villagers tell stories of their ancestors and history, experience traditional Maori tattoo, ancient horticultural practices and so much more.
Te Hangi – Lifting your Meal from the Earth Oven
After some time exploring the village, your Maori hosts now invite you into the fully-covered hangi pit area – where you will view the lifting of your authentic hangi meal!
Your appointed Chiefs are invited to step forward. They are each given a spade, and together with assistance from your guides they dig away the dirt, pull back the hessian sacks and reveal the sumptuous hangi meal that has been cooking for more than 3 hours already on the hot stones beneath the ground!
The hangi baskets, laden with piping hot chicken and lamb, kumara, potatoes, carrots and delicious stuffing, are pulled from the pit. Your hosts deliver an interactive commentary on how the meal was prepared and cooked, the origin of the hangi and provide a brief history of how Maori hangis were cooked in ancient times. And for those interested in putting a hangi down in their very own backyard when they get home, we also provide a few handy tips!
Wharenui - The Sacred Meeting House
After some time exploring, the sound of a conch (shell-like horn) cuts across the village grounds and you are called into our sacred meeting house.
This building represents an ancestor, and the massive carvings on its wall tell stories of our direct history.
After speeches of welcome, let us take you on a journey into our world and share our culture through song and dance.
The roof of the meeting house feels as though it may lift off through the power of our voices.
Hangi & Wharekai - Dining together on traditional Hangi food
Celebration of life and togetherness, and the enjoyment and sharing of food is an important part of Maori Life – so we now invite you to join us for a relaxed 3 course dinner.
The traditional hangi has been steaming under the earth on hot rocks for a number of hours, ready for your arrival.
This is the age-old traditional cooking method of the Maori, and your hosts will share this method in detail with you.
Enjoy succulent New Zealand meats with a lovely, slightly-smoked flavour and fresh vegetables.
As well as hangi, you will enjoy Maori bread, fresh salads and seafood, mouth-watering desserts and a range of other yummy dishes.
Feast on as much as you like – it is our honour to fill your belly and your heart. Vegetarians are happily catered for upon request – just let us know when you book.
After your meal, as bonfires roar and the stars provide a canopy, relax and share stories and laughter with your hosts, or wander around the tribal marketplace and find something special to take home with you.
Poroporoaki - The Closing Ceremony
The evening ends with the Poroporoaki, the official closing ceremony.
There will be waiata (song) and whaikorero (speeches), before you are safely transferred back to you Rotorua City or your accommodation.