Te Puia Cultural Evening

We left Auckland on Sunday morning and travelled through the rolling countryside to the tourist area of Rotorua. This small town is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. Bubbling mud pools, steam rising off the lake, geysers and the ubiquitous smell of sulphur greet every visitor.

We checked into our hotel, set off for a little exploring and then headed to the Te Puia Maori cultural performance and dinner. We were greeted by our Maori guide for the evening and transported back in time. Jackson was chosen as our “chief” and took centre stage accepting a piece of greenery and rubbing noses with a warrior on our behalf. We witnessed a wero or challenge which was followed by a traditional powhiri or welcome.

After the invitation to enter we moved inside a carved meeting house and had an opportunity to practice our ball twirling skills (for the girls) and haka skills (for the boys). The hangi (or banquet) came next.

To conclude our evening we boarded a little caravan and headed out for a moonlight viewing of the Pohutu geyser. It is the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere and typically erupts once or twice every hour. We were lucky and were treated to a major eruption after only a fairly short wait.

This was such a wonderful beginning for our Rotorua experience. Classes continue this week and students are working hard on final units and ISPs. We will find time to mix in some fun and various excursions. There is lots to see and do here and we intend to make the most of our time here.