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Te Puia reveals new Maori cultural experiences

Friday 11th, August 2006

Te Puia reveals new Maori cultural experiences

Te Puia, one of New Zealand's most visited tourist attractions, has launched a range of new cultural experiences at Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley in Rotorua.

One of Te Arawa's most famous ancestors, the legendary Bird woman Kurungaituku, takes flight again, this time hovering over the new main entrance way to Rotorua's largest tourist attraction, Te Puia, formerly the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, in the Whakarewarewa geothermal reserve.

Visitors to Te Puia are greeted by this magnificent carving crafted on site by students from the carving school under the tutelage of Master Carve Clive Fugill. In addition new audio and sounds greet visitors as they cross the entrance way into the Valley.

New nature walks featuring interactive signage are also on offer and take advantage of the spectacular viewing platforms for memorable holiday photos. Newly installed Maori word signs will also help engage those with inquisitive minds.

Whakapapa means reciting our ancestor's name, from those of us who walk and talk today, to those who have passed and reside deep in the realm of the 12th Heaven.

These beliefs form the basis of the unique design for a new entry feature currently under construction. This areas will allow visitors to enjoy a myriad of Maori art works developed using both traditional and contemporary mediums.

Adzes swing and chisels and mallets tap as the carvers take the stories of the Valley and animate them, through 12 Pou (posts) of two meters height, which will sit at the base of 12 pillars, the tallest standing at 16 meters uniting the past with the present, the old and new.

With a value of close to a million dollars, this artwork schedule is currently the largest under production in NZ and is under the expert counsel of Te Puia's Master Carver Clive Fugill and recognised Maori architectural designer Carin Wilson.

Foundation work for a new interactive interpretation gallery has been laid, which will house some of the latest interactive technology not yet experienced in New Zealand.

Opening of the revamped weaving school Te Rito is set for October and will house new hands on interactive technologies. With new car park facilities set to open on 18 October, a much anticipated influx of inquisitive guests is sure to be catered for.

Te Puia's Waka shelter which once housed the ornately carved waka, 'Te Arawai', has long since been filled in and cobble stoned, creating a multi functional area which will serve as an excellent all weather venue for education workshops, special events, functions during the day and night and much more.

Pohutu cafeteria has been refurbished both inside and out, with an array of Maori proverbs adorning the walls and complementing the new mix of traditional favourites and contemporary cuisine on offer at the Mai Ora evening experience.

Modern Maori art work, lighting and audio combine to create a funky relaxed venue for all day indulgence. The deck area has been extended and outside performance areas built to cater for outside concerts and entertainment throughout the summer.

>From our government mandate in 1964 to preserve and foster the continuation of Maori Arts Crafts and Culture, to providing guardianship of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Reserve, and the multi faceted operation that we are today,

Te Puia has come along way and is set for many years of continued improvement and a bright future ahead!


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