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Māori Cultural Performance

Our people are known for their great sense of humour and the concerts at Te Puia are a fun way to experience the personality of our Māori culture and traditions. One of our most entertaining forms of storytelling is kapa haka (Māori performance art) and at Te Puia we welcome you to find out why these performances should be on your list of essential things to do in Rotorua.

An Authentic Māori Welcome

Powhiri (ceremonial welcome)

Powhiri is a ritual performed when two groups are meeting for the first time. Gather at the entrance to Rotowhio Marae and be introduced to this spine-tingling ceremony, which begins with the sound of the pūtatara (conch). We ask that visitors please be silent during this ceremony as a mark of respect.

Wero (challenge)

Following the pūtatara, a toa (warrior) will approach your group to challenge the (honorary) male chief and confirm your peaceful intent with the placing of a baton. In ancient times, lack of respect during this ceremony could result in death.

Traditionally, the wero involved three challengers – the scout, the warrior, and the peacemaker – but today you will see these three elements embodied in the performance of a single warrior.

Watch as the warrior ends his challenge with a sweeping motion to clear the path for visitors, before slapping his thigh to indicate an offer of peace. Finally, he will turn his back and pull an imaginary rope to lead you onto the marae.

Karanga (welcome call)

To show respect to the ancestors and the traditions of the visiting group, a female host will then perform a karanga (welcome call). This chant calls you forward and welcomes you onto the marae and into the Tupuna Whare (ancestral meeting house).

Whaikorero (welcome speeches)

Once inside the meeting house, you will be welcomed again and acknowledged as whānau (family) during our leader’s ceremonial speech. This speech will finish with a traditional waiata (chant) performed by the hosts.

Kapa Haka (cultural performance)

A true highlight of any Te Puia outing, our stunning cultural performances feature traditional storytelling and entertainment, with the opportunity to join in the graceful poi dance or ferocious haka, for a more intimate Maori cultural experience.

Waiata-a-ringa (action songs)

You will be treated to a series of traditional songs telling the stories of our ancestors and those of Maori legend. Hand movements and body actions are used to capture the essence of these stories as we showcase the dance steps of yesteryear.

Poi Dance

The captivating poi dance requires skill and grace, as you will witness during this part of the performance. Female visitors will have the opportunity to take part and try out some of the mesmerising poi moves and experience this beautiful and truly unique dance for themselves.

Haka (challenge)

Used traditionally to mentally and physically prepare warriors for battle, the world-renowned haka is a sight to behold. Following a spine-tingling performance by our own warriors, male visitors will be invited to the stage to learn the actions and sounds before performing a haka of their own.

Titi torea (stick game) 

Watch as our performers pass batons back and forth in rhythm with the music, showcasing their agility and eye-hand coordination. These stick games have been a favourite of our people for centuries and were used in the past to improve the speed and movement of our warriors as they prepare for battle.

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