Over 40% of residents in Rotorua are Māori, amounting to almost 30,000 people! From an abundance of indigenous food, carving, weaving and traditional massage to the tangible spirit of manaakitanga (hospitality) shared between locals and tourists, vibrant Māori traditions live on in Rotorua in a multitude of ways. The most significant of these traditions will be discussed below, and we’ll also address the strong connection between rafting and the Māori culture in Rotorua! Are you ready to begin your Rotorua adventures? If so, read on for more.
Your Rotorua adventures aren’t complete without a snack, preferably from Māori cuisine! Māori traditions in Rotorua often centre around a hangi. Hangi literally refers to a pit where food is cooked over heated stones, but it also refers to a steam-cooked feast – a social event where Māori people can gather together and share a meal. Lamb, pork and chicken are often enjoyed, as is kaimoana (seafood). If you’re lucky enough to attend a hangi, you might also get to try kūmara (sweet potato), pumpkin, squash and taro.
Traditional Arts and Crafts
Te Puia, a geothermal park located in Rotorua, is home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. Here, wood carvers and flax weavers keep one of New Zealand’s greatest cultural taonga (treasures) alive and well! In Māori culture, there are also skilled carvers who can fashion jade into delicate jewellery. Assuredly, there are thousands of traditional arts and crafts still flourishing across Rotorua.
Whakarewarewa, The Living Māori Village
Whakarewarewa is known as the living Māori village because the residents there still adhere to the historical traditions of the Tūhourangi and Ngāti Wāhiao people. This includes bathing, cooking and washing with the local geothermal waters, much like their ancestors did for thousands of years! If you want to partake in a range of adventure activities in Rotorua, we highly recommend cycling through Whakarewarewa’s geothermal valley.
White Water Rafting
White water rafting in Rotorua is a popular activity for tourists looking for things to do in the Bay of Plenty, but, are you aware of how deep the link between rafting and Māori culture goes?
Sometimes, visitors to Rotorua can raft using a traditional waka (canoe), or even experience a pōwhiri. Māori ancestors dominated the seas with finely-crafted waka, alongside talented navigators and mariners! Rafting guides tend to be knowledgeable about such watercraft in Māori culture, and can provide you with valuable information about local history; ultimately, rafting in Rotorua is all about sustainable tourism, and respecting long-held Māori cultural values. As a result, always start water rafting in Rotorua with a company you can trust, like Kaituna Cascades.
To start your Rotorua adventures the right way, with a deep understanding of local Māori traditions and how to respect them, contact Kaituna Cascades. The white water rafting that we offer customers isn’t only a fun wilderness adventure, but a journey of care and appreciation for the surrounding environment, and the diverse Māori traditions that have allowed this environment to flourish.