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New Zealanders invited to visit national treasure


New Zealanders invited to visit national treasure


Visitors watch on as their food is lifted from a ngāwhā (natural geothermal vent) as part of Te Puia’s Steambox experience


The influence of Māori culture and its values is part of what makes being a New Zealander unique. The culture can be experienced first-hand in many parts of the country, none more so than Rotorua – the birthplace of cultural tourism in New Zealand.

Rotorua is also the home of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) and its tourism arm, Te Puia, where New Zealand residents receive a special rate, designed to encourage Kiwis to visit “their place” anew, or for the first time.

Te Puia chief executive, Tim Cossar, says the visitor attraction provides a window into Māori cultural history, something that every New Zealander should share in.

“This place is important not only to Rotorua but to Aotearoa, New Zealand. Māori culture plays a large role in New Zealand society today and what it means to be a Kiwi. It’s what makes us unique in the world. Understanding and experiencing Māori traditions is integral to our cultural identity.

“We are at the forefront of cultural development and preservation of Māori traditions through NZMACI’s national weaving and wood and bone carving schools, while our guided tours through Te Whakarewarewa Valley follow in the footsteps of the earliest tourists to New Zealand.”

Mr Cossar says many New Zealanders will remember Te Puia|NZMACI from their younger days and the attraction’s New Zealand Residents Rate provides a chance for Kiwis to reacquaint themselves not only with the geothermal landscape, but also its Māori traditions and arts and craft.

“The New Zealand Residents Rate has given access to people who may never normally visit us, or haven’t for a long time. It has been wonderful to see so many of our New Zealand whānau (family) exploring the place with big smiles on their faces.

“We look forward to meeting many more manuhiri (visitors) from around Aotearoa and sharing our traditions as local Māori have done for hundreds of years.”

The past year has seen a number of exciting developments at Te Puia|NZMACI, including the introduction of free WiFi and the free STQRY app for smartphones which enables visitors to receive information snapshots and extra multimedia experiences, as well as the installation of new palisades along the main entrance on Hemo Road.

The resident kiwi birds, Kenny and Nohi, became the stars of their own reality show with the installation of special infrared cameras in their burrow and hidden parts of their enclosure to ensure visitors get the best possible kiwi experience and the construction of a pūhara (sentry tower) and the remodelling of Pikirangi Māori Village is currently underway.

“We have many other planned developments in the pipeline – all working towards our mission to offer a high quality, unique visitor experience, and to be the centre of knowledge for the preservation, presentation, education and growth of traditional Māori arts, crafts and culture,” says Mr Cossar.

Mr Cossar says a visit to Te Puia offers an experience of all of New Zealand’s iconic attractions in one place - geothermal activity, Māori culture and kiwi, which gives New Zealanders the chance to view the national bird.

The New Zealand Residents Rate entitles Kiwis, with New Zealand photo ID, to a 40% discount off the standard rate of entry to Te Puia, as well as the Te Pō Indigenous Evening Experience and 30% off the unique Steambox experience which includes lunch being cooked in a ngāwhā (natural geothermal vent).

Te Puia|NZMACI is open from 8am until 6pm seven days a week. Visit www.tepuia.com for more information.

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