This morning we are rounding off our time in Rotorua with encapsulating attraction of geothermal activity and Maori culture. We are going to Te Puia.
This morning we are heading straight to Te Puia which is not only a geothermal park but it also hosts Maori cultural experiences and we’re gonna experience both of those today.
But Te Puia is even more fmaous for being home of the Pohutu Geyser which is the largest geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. What a feat.
The Pohutu Geyser is an impressive sight. Stacked upon layers and layers of silica terraces with water rushing down into the stream below and there’s so much steam billowing form the geyser itself. It’s absolutely amazing there’s different vantage points where you can get all sorts of different angles to get the perfect photo.
The Pohutu Geyser usually erupts twice every hour but while we’re here while we’re watching for about 30 minutes it’s doing a steady eruption for the whole time and our guide tells us that the Pohutu Geyser just does its own thing usually it behaves it different ways. For instance, 15 years ago, it erupted for 250 days straight.
There’s a loop track that takes us around the Te Puia Geothermal Park and the Pohutu Geyser is the first thing that you actually see on that loop track and Robin and I are having a really hard time pulling ourselves away from it. it’s just too amazing to stop watching.
It’s really not for no reason that Pohutu means ‘constant splashing’ in Maori Oh my God this thing doesn’t stop showing its strength in fact on some good days, the height of the geyser can actually reach up to 30m.
It’s an absolutely amazing place to be in it feels like unlike anything I’ve seen on planet earth and I feel like I’m saying these kind of things really often when I’m travelling in New Zealand but it’s really true. this place is so unique.
But sadly we have to move on because there is much more things to see in Te Puia and now we are heading down the track.
Moving onto the next geothermal attraction of Te Puia we are going to check out a ton of bubbling mud. It’s a really unique feature that you can find a lot of places around Rotorua it’s always a treat. In front of every single one of the attractions that we are passing by, there is a big sign that tells us more information about it but to be quite honest bubbling mud is bubbling mud it just super mersmerising to look at. I sometimes really wander what the early settlers of New Zealand especially the Maori were thinking when wandering around this land and start discovering all those places. In fact, this one is the Papakura Geyser which is actually now dormant but was as big as the Pohutu Geyser so this place must have been quite a spectacle.
That is some good bubbling mud.
And according to our own bubbling mud expert, this is a good one.
Blob blob blob…
I love it so much.
As we walk around the geothermal park we see more geysers including the Te horu geyser which is otherwise known as the Couldron and it’s recently come back to life after three decades of being dormant so that’s really awesome. Another thing that we’re checking out is the Ngararatuatara which is the cooking pool.
Our guide tells us that the local iwi which is word for tribe for Maori have been using this cooking pool for centuries using flax baskets to lower food into the cooking pool and the pool boils the food for them. it’s a natural oven.
Even from the other side of the geothermal park we can still see the Pohutu Geyser billowing its steam up into the air it’s absolutely huge and you can see it from quite far away.
Another really awesome aspect of this geothermal park is the fact that it’s pretty much surrounded by native bush which means we have lots of opportunity to check out some native birds like this little tui here and tui are known for making some of the craziest noises when they do their bird calls.
We then move onto the next section of this little tour which is the Te Puia Pa Site. A pa site is basically a traditional Maori village and that gives us a great insight in how Maori used to live hundreds of years ago.
We get to see how they used to process their food, how they used to store their food, how they used to cook their food. It’s a really cool place to visit.
But moving on we are heading back toward the geothermal park, because we are gonna be trying got make our way to the local marae with the local Maori ceremony is gonna begin.
But obviously in such a beautiful and unique place we get distracted a lot along the way so it takes us a while to find our way. But luckily we are actually make it just on time for the beginning.
First person that will do the welcoming will be the warrior. He will come out here and this warrior will run out here somewhere, his duty is to present to you a peace offering.
We’re gonna begin our ceremony with a powhiri. A powhiri is basically a way for a tribe to welcome outsiders. it’s also a way for them to gage if we are friend or foe. To begin with electing a chief which happened to be that young English dude right here. Then the warrior challenges him and drops a leaf right in front of him. If he’s picking it up, that means he’s coming in peace, if he doesn’t that means he’s challenging the local tribe.
Obviously because the warrior is really frightening, he decides to pick it up.
And with the ceremony out of the way, we are now welcome to proceed and make our way toward the marae.
The next part of the tour takes part in the amazing Rotowhia marae and a marae is meeting place for the Maori and on the outside it has some beautiful carving on the inside there’s lots of paintings and woven panels. it’s really an awe-inspiring place.
Once we are all sat down in the marae, the Maori cultural performance begins with loads of different styles of traditional Maori song and dance.
The cultural performance goes through different aspects of the Maori culture from war chants from the Maori warriors to some traditional love songs.
We watch different games that the Maori used to play like Poi Rakau which is different stick games where they need to throw to each other it’s super impressive to watch and of course a major highlight of any Maori performance is the Haka, which that war chant that you see the All Blacks doing at the beginning of every game that they play.
The geothermal park and Maori culture at Te Puia has been an awesome way to spend our last day in Rotorua.
You’d like a photo? Oh Ok.
This is a bit of a norm for us guys.
Do a fun face.
Do a what?
Shall we do a Haka face?