New Zealand: Mitai Māori Village Experience and Hāngi Dinner

By Cubie - February 06, 2018

There are a few option of where you can try this in Rotorua according to my friend, Google. A quick search will yield return of Tamaki, Te Puai and Mitai. Little P booked us in to Mitai Maori Village because it is the closest to our accommodation, performance include  war boat and glow worm.

We did the Mitai Maori Village Experience which includes introduction to Maori culture, see warriors in traditional dress paddling an ancient warrior canoe (waka), an after dinner walk to see glow worms in their natural habitat and, very important - hāngi dinner.

Upon arriving, we showed them our booking confirmation and prompted ushered to our table. It was a 10 person table from memory, so we shared the table with some other people. We got ourselves a drink from the bar, this is not part of the buffet. I (because I'm not sure if the others shared my view) think, on hindsight, if we have known earlier then getting a drink later probably is a better idea, unless you are rather early (i.e. long waiting time) or a fast drinker. Reason being shortly after we got our drinks, we were being brought outside for our Māori culture introduction.

Some blue specialty cocktail which I forgot the name
It was a rather big group but they were organised, we were split into smaller groups and followed our own respective guides. Our group started off with some Māori words and we were brought to the riverbank to wait for the arrival of the warriors by paddling the waka (war canoe).

After that, we walked back to the main area passing by this blue pond due to presence of minerals. The bottom is constantly bubbling due to water flow. The source of this pond is from the earth via the sacred "Fairy Spring". We were told that despite it's appearance, it is about 3-4 meters depth and this is also their source of drinking water.

After this, we were brought to see a waka up close and given some information of their history and culture.

Then it was time to check our food status in hāngi. Hāngi is a traditional New Zealand method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. Food is put into aluminium foil and wire baskets. These baskets were lowered onto hot stones at the bottom of a pre-dug hole. The food is then covered with wet cloth and a mound of earth that traps the heat from the stones around the food. This is left in the ground for about 3-4 hours, depending on type and quantity of food.

This was only teaser because it wasn't dinner time yet. We were treated to cultural perfomance of songs and dances, showed how weapons were used, explained meaning of the tattoos. 

Village Chief
Haka dance
Then it was time to get back to our abandoned drinks. Buffet service was fast, empty trays were filled again quickly. 

It didn't finish with dinner. There was after dinner activity of seeing glow worms at their natural habitat, which was near the blue pond earlier. On our way there, we were also shown some plants that they use on daily basis, as well as the New Zealand famous silver fern. 

Side note: How long does one need to learn a language to reach conversational level? 

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