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March 29, 2019

Visit Rotorua: Te Puia

While in Rotorua, we visited Te Puia, where guests from around the world go to witness geothermal wonders and immerse themselves in Maori culture.

Te Puia, which means "gushing waters and steaming vents," is in the Te Whakarewarewa Valley, which spans 60 hectares and is home to more than 500 geothermal phenomenon.

Immediately upon arrival we had time to roam Te Puia on our own, and we were fortunate to witness the Pohutu Geyser eruption. Ranked amongst Lonely Planet's top five geysers in the world, it erupts up to 20 times a day. It was quite an amazing sight!





The eruption lasted for several minutes (Pohotu means "constant splashing"), and it was just incredible to witness this geothermal phenomenon in person.

Pohotu is claimed to be the most reliable geyser on Earth, impressing visitors at least once an hour.

After observing Pohotu, we sat at a nearby rock bench area, which was naturally heated. It was perfect for the chilly morning!

Although the highlight of Te Puia is Pohutu, there are other natural wonders to see.  One of my kids' favorites were the mud pools.  There are several mud pools in various sizes throughout Te Puia, and it was neat to watch the mud burst from the Earth.



A walk through Te Puia will bring you to stunning lakes, steaming vents, hot pools, and other natural wonders.




Te Puia offers optional 60-90 - minute guided tours with hosts who have connections to the area's earliest ancestors. Thus, thoughtful and meaningful stories have been passed on for generations.

Our family opted to split up and do both a self-guided and guided tour, since our time was limited. We wanted to cover as much as possible.

The first tour started at 9am (tours are on the hour), and a hosts begins by briefly giving background information about the area and the Maori culture. We learned about the Maori alphabet, the story behind the Haka, the different gods, and so much more.

We also learned about Maori architecture, including the Heketanga-ā-Rangi, which is at the entrance of Te Puia and pays homage to the spiritual guardians in Maori culture.  


You will learn a lot from the guided tour, but even if you choose to tour Te Puia on your own, it is still fascinating.  

Be sure to visit the Kiwi House, which is home to a North Island Brown Kiwi, Nohi, as well as chicks, Sketch and Marama.

At the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, Te Puia helps to ensure Maori art forms, such as carving and weaving, continue to be passed on from generation to generation, enabling the future to always stay connected to its past.

The intricate carvings of the art throughout Te Puia is something you need to see up close to really appreciate.


Even the numerous buildings have detailed carvings, such as those in the marae (a traditional gathering place), all of which tell a story.

You can't help but admire all of the passion and work that went into each piece of architecture.
It's in the marae where we witnessed a Ceremonial Welcoming Performance leading up to the Haka Concert (concert is an extra fee).
We then went into the Te Aronui-ā-rua (meeting house) for the actual concert, where we were treated to delightful singing and dancing. I loved the poi ball dance (I even was one of many selected to go up on stage to learn the dance!), and the Haka was indeed a highlight.


 

Be sure to visit Te Puia while in Rotorua.  It is an amazing place to witness nature's work first-hand, as well as to experience the Maori culture.


Te Puia
Hemo Rd PO Box 334
Rotorua 3040, New Zealand

Mahalo to the sponsor for hosting our visit.

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