Experience Maori Culture
This tour takes you to Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty where 60% of the Maori population of New Zealand reside. You will be welcomed, educated and entertained by experienced local Maori guides. On this tour learn about the spiritual values, traditional and modern art, history and language. Stay on a Marae (traditional communal meeting place), walk on beaches and in bush to meet the Gods of Sea and Forest, see geysers and boiling mud, eat a traditional hangi dinner and meet a master-carver. A truly cultural experience!
- Meet and Greet on arrival in New Zealand
- New Zealand Airport Transfers
- English/Foreign speaking guide depending on arrangements
- Quality hotel accommodation, twin/double rooms, (single rooms available with single supplement) all with private facilities
- Cooked Breakfasts (B) and Dinners (D) where indicated on the itinerary or to be included by arrangement.
- Tour admissions as per itinerary. (eg scenic boat cruises, cultural events). Please see itinerary for specifics.
- Touring in a modern air conditioned vehicle, type depending on arrangements
- Complimentary Travel Kit including travel vouchers, support documentation and a New Zealand Map.
Self Drive Rental Vehicle - Private Car & Driver/Guide (or a combination)
Day 1 - ARRIVE IN AUCKLAND; NEW ZEALAND
Arrive at Auckland International Airport where you will be met by our staff who will provide the final touring documents and vouchers for your New Zealand tour. Transfer to your accommodation by private car and driver. The balance of the day is free to rest.
Day 2 - AN URBAN MAORI EXPERIENCE
Spend today exploring Auckland from a Maori perspective on a small group tour, with a local award winning Maori guide company. First visit Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), originally the site of a Maori fortified village and see the panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland City and Rangitoto Island. You will learn the significance of this place to Maori and about the controversial history of more recent times. Next you will travel out to a boutique village where you can buy your lunch at a funky café, enjoy mixing with the locals and view some authentic Maori/NZ made arts and crafts then continue on to the west coast for a bush walk set beside a fresh water stream. Here you will be able to walk amongst the plants and trees and learn some of the ancestral knowledge of the traditional Maori medicinal and practical uses for them. Learn about the Maori Creation stories and Tane Mahuta - God of the Forest. The day finishes by exploring the realm of Tangaroa, God of the Sea, with a walk along the velvety sands of one of Auckland's famous black sand surf beaches.
Day 3 - AUCKLAND / BAY OF ISLANDS (241 KMS)
This morning travel north across the Auckland Harbour Bridge and pass through the North Shore suburbs to lovely Orewa and Waiwera Beaches. Continue through pretty farmlands crossing the Brynderwyn Hills to Whangarei, which is the largest centre in the Northland Region. From here it is less than an hours drive on to the beautiful Bay of Islands. In the afternoon take a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty House. This is New Zealand's most important historic site as it was here on 6 February 1840 that the Maori and British signed an historic Treaty which gave birth to the nation of New Zealand.
Day 4 - FULL DAY MARAE EXPERIENCE
Today take a private tour to a Marae where visitors participate with the local Maori rural community as though they are Maori themselves. Features a traditional welcome (powhiri) to the oldest carved Marae in Northland, an ancestral house constructed in the traditional way without nails in the main structure; and an opportunity to view original Maori designs painted with brushes made from dog hair.
Day 5 - BAY OF ISLANDS / ROTORUA
This morning fly south to Rotorua. On arrival collect a self drive rental vehicle and drive to your accommodation. In the late afternoon a Maori guide will take you on a tour of Te Puia - the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see the geysers and other interesting thermal activity and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where young Maori are being taught ancient carving and weaving skills. This will be followed by a traditional welcome onto the Marae (village), a Hangi (dinner) cooked the old way over hot stones in the ground, and a cultural performance of Maori song and dance including the famous Haka.
Day 6 - ROTORUA SIGHTSEEING WITH SONNY
Today enjoy a full day private tour of Rotorua and environs with an experienced local Maori guide, Start with a drive past the Buried Village of Te Wairoa and the beautiful Blue and Green Lakes. Travel south to the Waiotapu Thermal Reserve to see the Lady Knox Geyser erupt at 10.15 am and a walk through the thermal reserve and to view New Zealand's largest mud pool. Also includes the views over Rotorua from Mt Ngongotaha followed by a visit to the Marae (Maori Village) at Ohinemutu on the Rotorua lakefront. This is where their stained glass window of Jesus appearing to walk on the waters of Lake Rotorua can be seen behind the alter of St Faith's Anglican Church. Lunch is included.
Day 7 - ROTORUA / WHITE ISLAND / TE KAHA (196 KMS)
This morning drive past Lakes Rotoiti and Rotoma through Hongi's Track and some lovely native rainforest to Whakatane. Here board a boat for an 80 minute ride across the water to New Zealand's only active marine volcano. On arrival transfer from the boat to the island by tender craft for a guided tour of White Island with its crater lake, sulphur vents and old sulphur works. On the return trip the launch will interact with any marine life that is encountered - the pods of dolphins that inhabit these waters are often seen (duration 6 hours). Lunch is included. Afterwards drive south around the Bay of Plenty coast past Ohope and other beautiful golden sand beaches to Opotiki and on around the coast to the small fishing village of Te Kaha. En route you will pass many small Maori communities.
Day 8 - TE KAHA / TE ARAROA (95 KMS)
This morning continue your drive around the coast. The scenery is marvellous and the population is predominantly Maori. About every 15 kms along the highway you will see Marae with traditional carved Maori Meeting Houses which are integral to the everyday life of the local people. Meet your guide from the Ngati Porou tribe at Te Araroa for a 4 wheel drive tour 1,000 metres up Hikurangi Mountain to Maui Whakairo, These 9 large carved Whakairo (sculptures) depicting Maui-Tikitiki-a-Taranga and his Whanau (family) are a tribute to the cultural heritage and artistry of the local Maori. Sit in the quiet shelter of the mountain and absorb the stories these magnificent Whakairo tell. On the return trip stop in at St Mary's Church at Tikitiki before returning to the Marae (Maori Village) at Te Araroa for dinner and the overnight on a Marae.
(Not many "Pakeha" /non Maori actually get to overnight on a Marae). This unique cultural experience will be a tour highlight - and the story telling comes free.
Day 9 - TE ARAROA / RUATORIA / TOLAGA BAY / GISBORNE (173 KMS)
Breakfast with your Maori guide. Then drive south to Ruatoria, which is the largest settlement on the East Coast and meet master-carver Jack Brooking at Te Runanga o Ngati Porou. The carvings he produces are simply amazing and his artistry and skill is stunning. In the afternoon drive south through hilly but picturesque sheep and cattle farming country To Te Puia Springs, Tokomaru Bay and Tolaga Bay. There are some lovely beaches along this coastline - none better than Anaura Bay which English explorer Captain James Cook visited. Gisborne is a lovely coastal city renowned for its warm sunny climate, beaches and strong Maori culture. It was here that Captain James Cook first landed in New Zealand in 1769. There are some excellent wineries in the Gisborne area, with open door cellars you can visit.
Day 10 - DEPART GISBORNE
Free until you fly out of Gisborne Airport.