Story Ideas

Protection and perpetuation of Māori culture

NZMACI was established in 1963 by an Act of Parliament to maintain and preserve traditional Māori art forms. Under that legislation, Te Puias responsibility is about much more than the visitor experience, and includes the sustainability of the geothermal environment, and the protection and perpetuation of Māori culture, traditions, arts and crafts.


Culture and commerce coming together

More than 50 years after the two legacies of culture and tourism were brought together under the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Act 1963, the unique story and significance of each are being celebrated with two new brand identities, launched by the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI).

The two new brand marks, one for its tourism business Te Puia and the other for its cultural development arm, NZMACI, have culminated from the organisation’s work to articulate its unique culture and commerce model, better express the relationship between tourism and culture within that model, and communicate the organisations responsibilities under its Act


Dormant geysers coming back to life - Papakura and Puapua geysers

Te Puia | NZMACI guides noticed in 2014 the Puapua hot spring had a nearby vent spurting a substantial amount of steam and water into the air.

The regeneration of this geyser like feature is yet another significant geothermal development in the valley, following Papakura Geyser’s revival in 2013.

The regeneration of both features has been attributed to Rotorua’s bore closure programme which was implemented between 1986 and 1992.

Papakura had been a consistently active geyser until March 1979 and its failure marked a turning point in the understanding of the damage that bore use was having on geothermal springs and geysers.

Encouraging for both the staff and the local iwi (tribe) the regeneration of activity has created a new level of interest adding to the unique and unforgettable visitor experience.


New kiwi chicks

Two new kiwi chicks have been welcomed to the Te Puia Whanau with open arms. Born in December 2014, Sketch, a boy, will live alongside his fellow female nocturnal friend, Marama, who hatched in September 2014. Marama, which means moon, was named through the Give a Little Foundation and Starship Hospital, by an eight year old patient bravely battling cancer.

The two little kiwi will be housed separately in Te Puia’s nocturnal house until they are fully grown. Manuhiri (visitors) will be able to catch a glimpse of the chicks either in their indoor enclosures, or via special cameras mounted in their sleeping boxes.

Current Kiwi resident Nohi, who is turning 10 this year, is set for release in the Tongariro Park later this year.


The Legend behind the geothermal valley - Te Pupu and Te Hoata

According to Māori culture and traditions, geysers such as Pohutu are viewed as gifts from the gods.

The local legends tell the Kōrero (story) of the high priest Ngātoroirangi who arrived on New Zealand shores on the Te Arawa waka (canoe). He and several of his people travelled inland, heading past Lake Taupō and onto Tongariro, when they were struck by blistering cold snow storms.

Fearing for his life, Ngātoroirangi called out to his sisters, Te Pupu and Te Hoata, who came from Hawaiki in the form of fire under the earth. Lifting their heads above the earth’s surface in search of their brother, the sisters left behind geysers, hot pools, and volcanoes throughout the Bay of Plenty.


The science behind Pohutu Geyser

Geysers act like a giant pressure cooker on earth, shooting boiling water and steam up to 30 metres into the air.

All geysers have three components; an intensive heat source, a constant supply of water and an underground plumbing system. As rainfall fills the intricate plumbing system below the earth’s surface, molten rock rapidly heats the water. The water is under significant pressure causing the boiling point to be well over 125 degrees Celsius. As pockets of water become turbulent, the pressure is relieved by violently shooting steam and water into the air with tremendous force.

The earth’s crust is thinner here in Te Whakarewarewa valley as we lie between the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. This is why many of our geysers can perform multiple times a day.


Taking Māori culture to the world; Tuku Iho | Living Legacy

Tuko Iho|Living Legacy is an exhibition of time-honoured Māori artworks, including more than 80 pieces of art made from wood, pounamu (greenstone), bone, stone, bronze and flax mediums, created at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts institute (NZMACI).

Tuku Iho also includes a living culture component, with a kapa haka group touring and performing alongside.

The exhibition is currently in Santiago, Chile and moving to Argentina in June and Brazil later in 2015. The South American tour follows successful and well-received exhibitions in China and Malaysia in 2013 and 2014.

Tuku Iho is a tribute to the Māori culture and serves as a way to extend and reconnect Māori indigenous roots to people and cultures around the globe.


The guiding legacy of Te Whakarewarewa Valley and the descendants who tread the same paths today

Maori began guiding in Te Whakarewarewa Valley 140 years ago and quickly became world famous for their exceptional hospitality. This is how the core philosophy of manaakitanga (hosting) was derived and is one of many things that set Te Puia apart from other destinations. Many of the guides today are direct descendants of some of the earliest hosts, retelling korero (stories) that have been told throughout Whakarewarewa Valley for generations.


The unique taste of traditional Māori cuisine

Natural steam vents and boiling springs were used by Māori ancestors to cook kai (food) for their whanau (family) in Te Whakarewarewa Valley. The geothermal waters flavour the food for a distinctively Māori taste.

Take the Te Rā + Kai Ngāwha tour and enjoy a delicious steam box lunch while you watch Pohutu Geyser shoot 30m into the air. Fill your basket with a selection of chicken, corn, kumara, pumpkin, potato, cabbage, watercress and gourmet bread stuffing, and head to Ngā Whā Puapua (natural steam vent) to cook your food the authentic way.


Ground breaking cultural projects such as Waka Tapu

In 2012, a voyage to Rapanui paddled into the horizons under the name of Waka Tapu. Sailing on the same waters as their ancestors, the voyage was an attempt to conquer the last remaining leg of the Pacific Triangle, as had been done in the great migration from Hawaiki. Using traditional, non-instrument-navigation techniques such as the stars, moon, ocean swells and currents - the double hulled canoe travelled from Rapanui via Tubuai and Mangareva and then returned via Moorea and Rarotonga completing a total of 10,000 nautical miles.

The project came into fruition under the direction of NZMACI’s Karl Johnson, who is responsible for leading the strategic direction of NZMACI and ensuring the institute meets its legislative responsibilities. The voyage demonstrated Te Puia | NZMACI’s dedication to protecting and perpetuating Māori culture, traditions, arts and crafts.

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