Tamaki Maori Village

Trip Start Jun 29, 2006
Trip End Mar 27, 2007

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Today was a big wash out.... it rained all day long, which is a shame as we are booked on to the 4pm Tamaki Maori Village experience.

At about 1pm, we went into Town and had a look around, there is only so much you can see and do when it is raining in Rotorua!

We headed back to the campsite to be picked up at 4pm by coach and be taken to the 'Village'.

Thankfully the rain had stopped, and didn't rain again until 10pm - which was good as we were spending most of that time in forest!

The Tamaki Maori Village is excellent.... this is what happens (copied from the website)

The Waka (Coach Trip)
Enroute to Tamaki Maori Village, your guide will instruct you on the rules and protocol for visiting Marae (meeting grounds). It is customary for the welcoming tribe to send out a challenge. Together you will select a chief to represent those on your coach in the Powhiri (welcome ceremony) to come. 

Sarah: Our 'Chief' is selected from each coach, ours was a Swiss guy called George...

Te Wero (The Challenge)
On arrival at the venue, nobody must enter the fortified village until the Powhiri (formal welcome) has been performed. The host tribe will send out a toa (warrior) who will challenge the guests, via their elected chief to ascertain if they come in peace. A Teka (peace offering) is placed and received by one of the visiting chiefs. All visitors must remain behind our chiefs throughout the ceremony.

Sarah: This was excellent to watch, the guy who did the challenge was fantastic to watch.

The Karanga (The Call Of Welcome)
And The Village The Karanga or welcome call will echo across the courtyard, followed by the Powhiri (welcome dance). You will then be able to enter onto the village grounds where the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) will demonstrate different activities such as poi twirling, hand games, weaponry displays, reciting chants and displaying activities of an era gone by.

Sarah: The village is very interesting, but to be honest, you don't get enough time here... it is a bit rushed to see all the activites!

Wharenui (The Meeting House)
From the village you will enter our meetinghouse. This building represents an ancestor of our past. Customs in our houses are: The men make all the welcome speeches. A speech of welcome is offered (whaikorero). A waiata (song) is offered in support of the speech.
Te Whanau AaTamaki Cultural group will share a variety of Waiata, Haka, and Song and Dance in celebration of new friendships forged.

Sarah: The concert is amazing, the singing is brillant, very professional... the dancing is cool too!

Hangi (Earth Oven)
The traditional hangi meal has been under the earth on hot rocks for three to four hours. This is the age-old traditional cooking method of the Maori. The rocks are heated to a white-hot state with some of our native timber. They are then put into a pit dug in the earth. The baskets of meat are put directly on the hot stones, then the vegetable baskets and then the pudding basket on top of that. A wet cloth is placed over the food followed by wet hessian. Earth is then piled quickly over everything to keep the heat inside the earth oven. The kai (food) cooks slowly over several hours - a combination of smoking and steaming, and the end result is a distinctly flavoured, succulent and mouth watering meal.  Vegetarians are also catered for upon request. 

Wharekai (The Food House)
Inside the dining room, tables have been numbered to ensure that everyone gets seated with family and friends. Ticket numbers should coincide with table numbers. One of the guides will explain restroom facilities. It is customary for Maori to bless the food with a Karakia (prayer). The meal is a buffet style dinner whatever you desire. To ensure a smooth flow in the buffet, your guide will bring you up one table at a time. It works very efficiently and it will not be long before everyone is enjoying the succulent Hangi feast.

Sarah: Our Hangi was the best, we ate Lamb, Chicken and Veggies, you can taste the smoked flavours from the way it is cooked, we even got to try some of there famous Steamed Pudding, which is also cooked in the Hangi... yummy stuff!

The evening comes to a close at about 8pm and you get to go a buy gifts in the shop, I spent far too much money of a 'Tube Flute' that was similar to the one used in the concert... I can't even get a note out of it, but it is very pretty... I have bought a book on how to play it, so I will try my best to get a note or two out of it by the time I get home!
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