Tamaki Māori Village Evening Experience is a 3 hour interactive Māori cultural performance and dinner show in Rotorua.
A Tamaki Māori Village coach will pick guests up from their central Rotorua accommodation and transport them to a traditional pre European Māori Village located in a native forest in Ngakuru, 15 minutes from central Rotorua.
On the way to the village the bus driver teaches some key Māori words, explains Māori migration to Aotearoa New Zealand and describes the protocols for the Pōwhiri (a welcoming ceremony). A chief is selected to represent that bus group (tribe).
At the village guests are welcomed with a Pōwhiri . The selected Chiefs (one from each bus) will stand at the front of the group with a guide.
For international visistors the wero seems to be the most memorable and impressive part of the Pōwhiri. Three Māori warriors who emerge from the village in traditional dress to perform a challenge. During this challenge the three warriors make gestures with their ceremonial weapons. The third warrior lays down symbolic offering of peace (usually a branch / leaf). One of the Chiefs will be selected to pick up the offering signally that group has come in peace.
Following the Pōwhiri the group moves into the Māori Village where they are divided into small groups and move around various activity stations where they participate in stick games, warrior training, poi and haka, and learn about weaving and facial tattooing.
After this guests will witness the lifting on the hangi. Hangi is a traditional style of cooking for Māori where the food is cooked in a covered pit in the ground with heated stones.
Cooked in the hangi pit was chicken, lamb, potatoes, kumara (sweet potato), carrots, stuffing and steamed pudding for dessert.
While staff prepare to serve the hangi the group will make their way into meeting house where they will be entertained with Māori cultural show.
The hangi is served buffet style. As well as the meat and vegetables cooked in the hangi pit there was also steamed mussels and fish, traditional Māori bread and garden salad. For dessert as well as the Hangi steamed pudding with custard there was also pavlova and fruit salad. They offer vegetarian and gluten free options that can be arranged when booking.
During the dinner there is more songs and the opportunity to perform the All Blacks haka.
When the evening is done guests are transferred back to their accommodation.