On The QT

Zip-lining and Maori Culture in Rotorua

Blogger: Marie Barry

Rotorua is one of the must see towns in New Zealand’s North Island.  Situated in the heart of North Island it is an area steeped in Maori Culture and geothermal activity.  You can’t travel far without coming across a geyser, shooting steam and hot water into the air, or indeed the lingering smell of sulphur that surrounds the area.

Our first activity in Rotorua was a canopy tour.  This involved us being harassed up in the zip-lining centre in town and then driven out to the surrounding forest area.  Here, our guide led us on a zip-lining trail, from tree to tree, through the forest. The zip lines were brilliant, they were all really high, and really long, and they encouraged us to be as adventurous as we liked by jumping off the platform backwards, or ziplining upside-down!


Throughout the tour they told us about the aim of their organisation – to repopulate New Zealand’s forests with their native species of birds, many of which have become endangered due to imported animals such as possums, stoats and rats killing the birds. We were lucky to spot a rare Kea Parrot, one of the native parrots that they are trying to reintroduce into the area.

If you want to visit some of the traditional Maori tribes, Rotorua is the place to do that.  The village we went to was belong to the Tamaki tribe.  On arrival we waited until the tribal warriors came down stream on a boat and then performed an intimidating war dance.  Then their chief welcomed us and brought us to their living area where we were greeted by the rest of the Maori clan and shown their traditional ways of life such as warrior training skills, how their clothes are made, the games the children play and the dances they perform.

Later we were treated to a Maori concert of traditional and modern music and dance which was spectacular.  The highlight had to be when they performed the Hakka.  Finally they cooked a feast for us, in the traditional Hangi, which is a pit dug in the ground filled with heated stones.  Everything cooked in the Hangi was delicious, from the chicken and lamb to the vegetables, and sweet potatoes, and we savoured every bite. 

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