Experience Rotorua’s indigenous history and culture at Whakarewarewa, the Living Maori Village. Built around Te Whakarewarewa Valley’s geysers and hot pools, the Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao tribe have welcomed visitors for more than 200 years. Enjoy hangi, a meal cooked in the valley’s thermal vents, and traditional song and dance (waiata and haka
). The Basics
Whakarewarewa is a portal to the histories and traditions of the indigenous Tuhourangi-Ngati Wahiao people. Tour this faithfully preserved village, learning about the tribe and their stories from guides with deep connections to the land. Begin or end your tour with a cultural performance (kapa haka
), which invites you to get involved and learn the language through songs and chants.
You can discover the valley’s geothermal lakes and native forest through scenic nature trails, and children can learn about geysers at the Te Matapuna o Papatuanuku earth science facility. Or, purchase a hangi meal traditionally cooked in geothermal vents. Things to Know Before You Go
- The Living Maori Village is an essential stop for travelers interested in the Maori people’s history and culture, and New Zealand’s wild natural landscapes.
- To save time at entry, buy advance tickets online.
- Pack comfy shoes and water if exploring the village’s bush walks.
- The resident ta moko artist can create a personalized tattoo design for you—and even tattoo it onto your skin—as a unique souvenir.
- Whakarewarewa is wheelchair accessible and welcomes support animals. Staff can help with accessibility issues.
How to Get There
From Rotorua’s city center, bus 11 runs every 30 minutes from Arawa Street bus terminal to the Fenton Street stop, which is a short walk to the village. Alternatively, take the CitySights Bus, which stops in front of the village on Tryon Street. The bus leaves from the i-SITE Information Centre on Fenton Street every two hours until mid-afternoon. If you’re driving, there’s also plenty of space to park.When to Get There
Whakarewarewa is open daily, except Christmas Day. Cultural performances are held in the early morning and late afternoon; hangi meals are served in the village cafe at lunchtime. Visit in the midafternoon to avoid crowds. Spring and summer are ideal for outdoor attractions. Marae Life
A central part of Maori social and spiritual life, the marae is a temple or gathering place where tribes (iwi)
celebrate, mourn, and discuss the well-being of their communities. If traveling in a large group, experience marae life firsthand with an overnight stay tailored to your group. Hear local legends, discover customs, and learn to weave flax leaves.