Experience the culture and history of Te Puia, the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Set in a stunning geothermal location with steaming vents, boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers, Te Puia celebrates New Zealand’s Maori traditions. See a native kiwi bird, watch world-famous Pohutu Geyser vent plumes of steam and see the traditional skills of woodcarving and weaving. Upgrade to include the Te Puia cultural performance to watch the warlike haka dance and skilful stick game, and see Maori legends come to life in traditional dance and song.
Your Te Puia experience begins at the main entrance, where twelve monumental carvings reach skywards, representing twelve celestial guardians. Discover stories of our ancestors' arrival and settlement in Rotorua, and learn about our Māori culture.
The cultural tours are led by knowledgeable Maori guides. You'll hear the stories and legends that have been handed down over the generations and your guide will provide fascinating insights into New Zealand’s Maori culture.
See a kiwi bird, New Zealand's emblem, in a specially lit kiwi house staffed by animal experts who can tell you more about this unusual flightless bird.
Explore the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley and witness the Rotorua region’s astounding thermal activity, including the eruption of the 100-foot (30-meter) Pohutu Geyser, which bursts into life up to 20 times a day.
Your guided tour also reveals the history and practice of traditional Maori crafts on a visit to the New Zealand National Carving and Weaving schools. Watch as master carvers share the prestigious art of woodcarving and students are trained in the intricate skills of weaving flax.
To enhance your Maori experience, upgrade to include a 45-minute cultural performance at Te Puia and witness the Maori traditions of hospitality and dance first-hand.
Your cultural performance begins with the ceremonial welcome performed for visitors to the Maori meeting place (marae), including the nose-to-nose greeting known as the hongi. Learn the stories behind this famous ceremony, representing the joining of two life forces to create an atmosphere of unity.
Watch the spectacle of the warlike haka dance, with weaponry displays, action songs and ritual movements including the dancers’ bulging eyes and pointed tongues. See how the more feminine poi dance contrasts with the haka, featuring the twirling of tethered balls and graceful dance movements.
Warrior skills of agility and hand-eye coordination are displayed during the titi torea stick game, as performers pass batons to the rhythm of traditional songs.
More stories and legends are told in dance during the graceful waiata-a-ringa action song, accompanied by the signature Maori hand and body movements. It's easy to see how songs and games such as these were used as a way of training future warriors in agility and coordination.
To complete your visit to Te Puia, browse woodcarvings, New Zealand jade (greenstone), weavings and other signature Maori crafts in the gallery and gift shop for the ultimate New Zealand souvenir.