Destinations New Zealand Travel stories

Tamaki Maori Village

Tamaki Maori Village is the best Maori cultural encounter I’ve experienced. The reason I loved it so much is because it felt like we were invited to a family gathering. We went to the village in various buses. We were on the bus called Huia (a native bird now extinct). We learnt how two brothers wanted to create a Maori cultural experience. In order to get the money to get started, one brother sold his beloved Harley Davidson motorcycle. I’d say a wise decision!

When we got to the village we were first led by various huts where people explained different aspects of Maori culture, like the haka, poi dances and ta moko (tattoos). After that was the opening ceremony. I thought it was awesome to witness. We were led inside for an amazing concert. It’s hard to explain perhaps, but I found the songs, the haka and the poi dances amazing to see and hear. Chills during Pokarekare Ana, a happy feeling throughout all the songs and performances. When I replay the videos I made, I’m instantly reliving that wonderful evening!

After the performance it was time to eat. Earlier, we witnessed the hangi being lifted. Mmmm, all that yummy food! Unfortunately there wasn’t much interaction at our table, which left mom and I enjoying eachother’s company…and the food. Because oh man, the food was delicious! Especially the typical kiwi dessert: pavlova! Service was nothing short of outstanding. What a well-oiled ‘machine’.

One of my favourite parts of the evening was the drive back. Not so much because the evening was over, but because the driver broke into song and encouraged people to sing songs from their home countries. It was a party on bus Huia! The driver started singing the ‘coming ’round the mountain’ and ‘aya yippee yippa yae’ song when we got to a roundabout. I’ve lost count how many times we went round the roundabout in that huge bus, but it was so much fun! People in traffic were so confused, haha! The bus was just a buzz of smiling, singing and cheerful people! Sweet as!

All good things must come to an end, and we were dropped off back in town. But what a night and what a great experience! Those brothers sure had great vision back in the day!

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